Wifi On Ubuntu – Installing Atheros Drivers

Wifi is one area which Ubuntu can not still address. The result of Atheros or Broadcom not submitting any generic code for their respective hardwares, takes a toll on Linux, as their wifi drivers are not supported out of the box.

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Here is a quick tip to get a fully functional Wifi on Linux for the wifi Atheros Network Adapter.

You need your driver CD/DVD for this.

  1. Copy the ar****.inf file and the ar****.sys file to your home directory.
  2. Open a terminal. Enter :
    sudo ndiswrapper -i ar****.inf

    Where ar****.sys is the file you copied. This installs the required driver. Make sure the ar****.sys file is also present in the same directory. Alternatively you can copy the files to any location and navigate to the location from the terminal before doing the above.

  3. Now enter:
      sudo depmod -a
      sudo modprobe ndiswrapper

    This loads the driver you just installed, and logs any error(if any) to /var/log/messages.

  4. Next, key in :
    sudo ndiswrapper -m

    This sets up the driver to load with the other network drivers at bootup.

That is all. Your wifi should be working like a breeze.

Published by

Chinmoy Kanjilal

Chinmoy Kanjilal is a FOSS enthusiast and evangelist. He is passionate about Android. Security exploits turn him on and he loves to tinker with computer networks. You can connect with him on Twitter @ckandroid.

  • David Young

    What if ndiswrapper isn’t installed on the machine? How would I go about installing it from a usb drive. I would have to download from a separate computer. I’m new to linux.

  • lessons

    Hi. Well I have mi Lap Acer with win7 but I get bored because its so slowly (only 1mb RAM, the processor its AMD C-50). So I just install Ubuntu 10.04 with Kernel Lucid 2.6.32-21-generic, but the ethernet cant connect with the web and the wireless neither.

    I surf in win 7 and I foun the driver: Atheros Communications Inc. (R) AR81 Family Gigabit/Fast Ethernet Driver
    Atheros Communications Inc.
    Ver. 10.0.36

    But I cant copy the driver to /home directory. I’m new in Linux so i dont know how to up the eth0 or wireless.

    In the terminal I type: lspci and I get this:

    Atheros Communications Device 1083 (revc c0)
    Broadcom Corporation Device 4357 (rev 01).

    Ethernet controller [0200]: Atheros Communications Device [1969:1083] (rev c0)
    Network controller [0280]: Broadcom Corporation Device device [14e4:4357] (rev 01)

    Well, you said that the files ar****.inf and ar***.sys shoul be copy and /home directory, but … where I can get this files, in win7 they aren’t.

    Could you please tell me wheere i can get this two files, and where I can get the the program –> ndiswrapper.

    i have a Desktop with ubuntu 10.04 conectted to internt with rj45 and works perfectly, in fact the notebook works perfectly too in win7, but thr problem its with Ubuntu. Thanks.

    twitter –> @lessonsvic

    • Oswaldo

      Hi. In this video shows how to install drivers (if you have the driver of course) with ndiswarrper:


      And in this page says how to install wifi directly with b43-fwcutter:

      https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/Driver/bcm43xx#Identifying Your Card/Driver

      If you dont have Internet access go to other PC with Internet and download this files:

      1.- ndistgtk_0.8.5-1_i386.deb, doble click like the video shows (with the driver in your directory)

      If you dont have the diver then:

      2.- get this two files: a) wl_apsta-
      b) broadcom-wl-

      In this page are the links and the instructions:


      3.- This two files should be at /home/administrator user or you local directory.

      4.- open a terminal and write this lines:

      ~$ tar xfvj broadcom-wl-
      ~$ sudo b43-fwcutter -w /lib/firmware wl_apsta-
      ~$ sudo b43-fwcutter –unsupported -w /lib/firmware broadcom-wl-

      If there’s no problems then …

      5.- The Step 4. from WifiDocsDriver says:

      Under the desktop menu System > Administration > Hardware/Additional Drivers, the b43 drivers can be activated for use.

      If you cant activate the wifi try to install the packages form Live CD, install the drivers from

      and some other files that you need.

      Get the CD with UBUNTU, open the carpets and search all packages you need.