Wireless Disabled by Hardware Switch issue on the Thinkpad Z570 in Ubuntu | Solution

| | 2 min read

Wireless connectivity is one reason why laptops have become so popular in today’s world. But then there are a wide variety of laptops having a wide combination of parts from different manufacturers. This makes support for wireless vary across laptops with respect to Ubuntu/Linux. Not every laptop’s wireless network connectivity works directly from the installation of Ubuntu/Linux which is apparent from the numerous posts on the issue on the web. One needs to configure and tweak the settings to make it work. One such issue is found in the ThinkpadZ570 as described below.

Issue Faced
Wireless is disabled in Thinkpad Z570 when Ubuntu 11 is installed. The status message in the Network Manager says that the Wireless is disabled by the hardware switch. Wired Ethernet works fine with the Ubuntu 11 on Thinkpad Z570.

Details of the issue

david@david-Ideapad-Z570:~$ uname –a
Linux david-Ideapad-Z570 2.6.38-8-generic #42-Ubuntu SMP Mon Apr 11 03:31:50 UTC 2011 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
david@david-Ideapad-Z570:~$ lspci |grep Atheros
02:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) (rev 01)
david@david-Ideapad-Z570:~$ rfkill list
0: ideapad_wlan: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no
1: ideapad_bluetooth: Bluetooth
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no
2: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: yes
3: acer-wireless: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no
4: hci0: Bluetooth
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no

Solution for the Issue

The following commands will enables wireless till next boot
sudo service network-manager stop
sudo rmmod acer_wmi
sudo modprobe acer_wmi
sudo rfkill unblock all
sudo service network-manager start

After this step the status message in the Network Manager will be “Wireless is disabled”
Now Enable wireless from the Network Manager using the following commands
sudo rmmod -f acer_wmi
Wireless networks will be detected and connected.
To make this change permanent use
sudo su
echo "blacklist acer_wmi" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf

Now if everything goes well you will have Wireless enabled on your Thinkpad. Thanks to David John for sending us the solution