Problem: No wifi. I installed Linux Mint on an unused Dell Inspiron 1150 but on numerous occasions searching the internet and finding no workable solution to getting the wifi working, I put it back on the shelf. Did I say, “numerous occasions?” Until today. Another search, brushing up on my limited, rusty Linux command-line knowledge, a little time playing with the Linux terminal and wifi is now functioning.

Description of the solution at post #10 from Shadow7  found here:

I’ve expanded on Shadow7’s procedure, since it took me awhile to refresh my limited knowledge of Linux.  I went into a lot of detail, so that even a person with less knowledge of Linux than me can get their wifi up and running.


This procedure is done on a Dell Inspiron 1150 on-which I have previously installed  Linux Mint.  It should work on most other “debian-based” Linux distributions.  Ensure Linux is installed before proceeding.

A wired internet connection is also required. Connect an ethernet cable from the Inspiron 1150’s ethernet port directly to a lan port of your router or switch. Verify that you can access the internet via the wired connection before proceeding.

Terminal command prompt introduction / review:

Commands are executed in the Linux terminal. Upon entering the terminal, the prompt will be $, where $ is as a user. In order to execute some commands, we will be switching to the root (implied su to root, or sudo prefix). The root prompt is #.

To switch to root (#) from user ($) type su (enter).  You will then be required to type your password to gain access to the root.

When specified to return to user ($) prompt, type exit (enter).

The painfully-detailed procedure to install the wifi driver on the Inspiron 1150:

Assuming you have started Linux, you’re connected to the internet and you are viewing this procedure in your browser:

Step 1: Start the Linux terminal program. (The user prompt $ will be displayed)

Step 2: Switch to root by typing su (enter).  Type your password when prompted.  (The root prompt # will be displayed)

Hint:  The commands can be copied and pasted in a similar manner to Windows.  In the browser window where you are viewing these instructions, highlight the text to be copied then depress Ctrl-C.  To paste, go to the prompt in the Linux terminal program and depress Shift-Ctrl-V (different than Windows paste).

Step 3: At the # prompt, type (without the root prompt #). Terminate with (enter):

# apt-get install b43-fwcutter firmware-b43-installer

Step 4: Return to user ($) prompt, type exit (enter).

Step 5: At the $ prompt, type (or copy and paste)(without the user prompt $) each of these commands.  Terminate each line with (enter):

$ mkdir temp
$ cd temp
$ wget -c
$ tar -xjvpf broadcom-wl-
$ cd broadcom-wl-
$ b43-fwcutter --unsupported wl_apsta_mimo.o
$ cd b43

Step 6: Switch to root by typing su (enter).  Type your password when prompted.  (The root prompt # will be displayed).

Step 7: Confirm that you are in the subdirectory with all the *.fw files by typing ls (enter) The list of .fw files should be displayed.

Step 8: At the # prompt, type (without the root prompt #). Terminate with (enter):

# rm /lib/firmware/b43/*

Step 9: If you received an error that the directory did not exist following Step 8, type (without the root prompt #). Terminate with (enter). If you did not get an error, skip to step 10:

# mkdir /lib/firmware/b43/*

Step 10: At the # prompt, type (without the root prompt #). Terminate with (enter):

# cp ./* /lib/firmware/b43/

Step 11: Return to user ($) prompt, type exit (enter).

Driver installation is complete. Restart the computer.  Verify that wifi is functioning.

Update: Now that wifi is functioning, I upgraded the memory from 512mb (2 x 256mb) to 2gb (2 x 1gb) and the Linux Mint is performing much quicker.