Ubuntu – “Wi-Fi is disabled by hardware switch” on Toshiba Satellite P855-335


My Toshiba Satellite p855-335 Notebook wouldn't turn the wireless on.

There are several existing threads on Ubuntu Forums which I've tried, for instance:

In particular, none of the following helped:

  • I have reset the BIOS to defaults.
  • I installed a fresh installation of 15.10 and pressed the 'wireless' key (Fn+ F12).
  • I have tried the 'Battery Trick' (of the second link above). If it's any help, the wireless LED at the bottom right corner of the laptop is showing red.

The following were suggested in some threads, but don't help:

$ cat /sys/class/rfkill/rfkill2/hard
$ sudo echo 0 > /sys/class/rfkill/rfkill2/hard
bash: /sys/class/rfkill/rfkill2/hard: Permission denied
$ cat /sys/class/rfkill/rfkill2/state

$ sudo modprobe -r iwlwifi
$ sudo rfkill unblock all
$ sudo modprobe iwlwifi
$ rfkill list all
0: Toshiba Bluetooth: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
1: hci0: Bluetooth
    Soft blocked: no
    Hard blocked: no
3: phy0: Wireless LAN
    Soft blocked: yes
    Hard blocked: yes

Some history:

The whole issue started when my laptop's battery ran out while in
airoplane mode. We ended up shipping it back to the manufacturer, and
they replaced the motherboard. When it came back, it was stuck on
hotspot mode with the wi-fi turned off. I deleted the hotspot mode,
but the Wi-fi is still turned off.

I attach the results of the wireless-info script (
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=370108 ) here.

UPDATE: If I use evtest and press the Fn + F8 keys (Next Track) followed by the Fn + F12 keys (Wi-Fi) followed by the the Fn + F8 keys (Next Track), followed by CTRL + C I get the following (http://pastebin.com/mzBa6W5H).

So it's possible that the WIRELESS button isn't recognised by Ubuntu.

But, if I press the MUTE button, nothing appears either, but Ubuntu does in fact mute the volume control.

If I type sudo rfkill event and press the Wi-Fi key 4 times, I get the following interaction.

  • UPDATE: I've tried backporting to the latest stable version (4.4.2v) as described here, but it doesn't seem to change anything, even though modinfo iwlwifi shows the the driver has been backported.

Best Answer

Your laptop has no WiFi because it is in airplane mode, the same mode it was in when you sent it back to Toshiba. Press the Fn key and F12 simultaneously to turn Wi-Fi back on.

If this does not work check that your F12 key is working.

Install evtest sudo apt-get install evtest

Run it and press the Fn + F12 keys. Sudo evtest then select keyboard.

You tried evtest with the combination Fn + F8 keys (Next Track) followed by the Fn + F12 keys (Wi-Fi) followed by the the Fn + F8 keys (Next Track), followed by CTRL + C. This showed no result for the Wi-Fi key combination, but the others were as expected.

Next killall gnome-settings-daemon then xev | grep keycode then press Fn + F12 to see if a keypress event is detected.

Two key press events are detected for each keystroke.

: state 0x0, key code 246 (keysym 0x1008ff95, XF86WLAN), same_screen YES,

This proves your keyboard hardware and firmware are performing correctly.

Next sudo rfkill event and pressing the Fn + F12 keys 4 times, gives the result

$ sudo rfkill event
1464557444.818056: idx 0 type 2 op 0 soft 0 hard 0
1464557444.818150: idx 2 type 1 op 0 soft 0 hard 1
1464557444.818155: idx 4 type 2 op 0 soft 0 hard 0
1464557446.759506: idx 2 type 1 op 2 soft 1 hard 1
1464557447.304231: idx 2 type 1 op 2 soft 0 hard 1
1464557447.898459: idx 2 type 1 op 2 soft 1 hard 1
1464557448.410745: idx 2 type 1 op 2 soft 0 hard 1

This shows rfkill is intercepting the event and responding properly, but the hard stop is not responding. If you look on the Toshiba Satellite forumyou will find that this problem is pretty common, and seems to occur every time a new operating system is brought out. The response from Toshiba is always to update to the latest driver so its pretty conclusive the issue is a bug in the Intel Linux driver iwlwifi.

Next try upgrading to the latest driver using backports. Unfortunately this did not work which means the bug is not fixed yet. In fact it is bug 1538289

So you need to report the bug. ubuntu-bug iwlwifi Follow the instructions, but instead choose 1538289 rather than opening a new bug.

Once you have done the community minded thing and reported the bug, you want your Wi-Fi back. It is reported that removing the BIOS battery, pressing the power button for 30S and the re-inserting the battery will restore the WiFi. You cannot do this as your battery is soldered in.

You could unsolder one end of the battery and hold the power switch for 30S. You should only do this if: you own the laptop, it is out of warranty, you have the tools and expertise to unsolder and solder the battery. None of these apply to you.

A rather lengthy way of switching out of airplane mode is to install Windows 7, update to the latest drivers, switch the WiFi on, remove Windows and reinstall Ubuntu. There is an easier way...

Now about that bounty