November 27, 2015

Can't get Atheros USB wifi adapter to work on Linux Mint 17.2



I've used windows for almost 20 years, but am considering moving to linux. I wanted to play around with it so I installed Mint 17.2 32 bit w/Xfce desktop on an old Dell Inspiron 1520 laptop. The laptop stopped recognizing its onboard wifi card a couple of years ago (while still a windows machine) but has worked fine with a USB adapter since then. However, now that I've installed Mint I can't get the adapter to work, I can't even get the computer to detect it.

I've read through quite a lot of similar situations online and tried to take the steps that others took, but I can't get it to work. Actually, the very first distro I installed was Mint 17.2 Cinnamon 64 bit (uninstalled because computer wasn't powerful enough), and I did somehow get the adapter to work, but (as ridiculous as this will sound) didn't realize it at the time and I tried quite a lot of things, so I'm not sure what actually worked. The good news is, the port will currently recognize a USB flash drive, the wifi adapter will work in another machine, and as I just said, I was able to get it to work once, so I would think all the hardware is ok.

The adapter is pretty old, it has the Atheros AR5007 chipset, which (from what I read) I think requires the ZD1211 driver. I checked the firmware folder and it's in there, but that doesn't seem to help. When I enter lsusb and lspci the device doesn't show up. I've tried various other things, including ndiswrapper, to no avail. If anyone has any ideas on how I might get this to work I would greatly appreciate it.



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