20150511

Fixing Bluetooth and Wireless (WiFi) Issues

Disclaimer: This blog article is for experienced Linux users who installed Fedora XFCE - my recommendation is to add the full Cinnamon desktop package or better yet, install Fedora Mate.

***Update for June 28, 2015: Removed WICD since I do not want to alter the DHCP client settings. Unblocked wifi using /usr/sbin/rfkill as desktop session setting.

***Update for June 14, 2015: a full Cinnamon, MATE or XFCE4 Desktop install is the alternate to figuring out GNOME and GNOME Classic. Openbox does not show a panel by default. Fedora is definitely for the experienced Linux user.

***Update for June 13, 2015: Adding the Mate Desktop improved everything. For anyone bold enough to make the jump to Fedora or even Mint Linux, the Mate Desktop installation is recommended. If you depend on Bluetooth and WiFi, then please choose Mate Desktop.

In the following article, I have documented my experience installing and using the XFCE4 Desktop version of Fedora 21. Since May, I have upgraded to Fedora 22 and added Mate Desktop.

Despite adding a script (start_dnsmasq) to enable local DNS, it still has to be run in a terminal. My guess is, Fedora considers such a script to violate security policy and will not run it. I have clicked on System: Preferences: Personal: Startup Applications to add it to the startup applications but Fedora does not run my script. Thus, I will continue to run the script from the terminal.

Wicd was installed, replacing wifi-radar. WiFi is currently detected by the system. My guess is, wifi-radar might have "forgotten" wifi when I opted to use a wired connection rather than WiFi. Perhaps Gnome might have "assumed" that WiFi wasn't needed anymore, resulting in no WiFi.

In any case, the Mate Desktop is much more to my liking than Gnome was.

***UPDATE: I have resisted as far as I could, but now am running Chrome browser, but it still isn't fast as the Firefox. In a new post on my blog, I will tell you how much fun it is to work with Fedora!!

XFCE4 is light, so light that they decided to program Fedora to turn off Bluetooth and eventually the WiFi network via rfkill.

According to the developer of Cinnamon, the workaround is to install these bluedevil packages:

bluedevil.i686
bluedevil-autostart.i686
libbluedevil.i686

For details, see: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showpost.php?p=1685034&postcount=4
Thank you, leigh123linux, for the suggestion of using bluedevil.
Note: Blueooth does not work with XFCE4, LXDE, LxQT, and Cinnamon.

It only works with Gnome. So upgrade to Gnome.

— SHK 20150517.0320 UDT

After installing Fedora 21 on my EeePC 1000HE last Tuesday (May 5), I could not get Bluetooth to work. By Wednesday, I had lost wireless and only had a LAN connection.

On Sunday (yesterday), I decided to tackle the problem since the only time Fedora would detect WiFi was by plugging in a WiFi USB adapter.

After checking /var/log/messages and /var/log/messages-20150510, I discovered that only the ethernet network adapter worked:

lshw is run showing the Class "network" entry for the Ethernet interface. Even though the Atheros is a Gigabit or Fast Ethernet, my LAN cable is CAT.5E, and thus limits the speed to 100 Mbit/s.

I also discovered that the netbook's WiFi adapter uses the ath9k module for the Qualcomm Atheros AR9280 WiFi chipset:


So I found the solution here: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showpost.php?p=1729572&postcount=5

> I installed rfkill and lshw
...
> prompted rfkill list = Soft blocked = no and Hard blocked = no

In my case I got the following:

$ rfkill list
0: hci0: Bluetooth
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no
1: asus-wlan: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no
2: asus-bluetooth: Bluetooth
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no
3: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: yes
Hard blocked: no


and here: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showpost.php?p=1489711&postcount=2

> rfkill unblock all

Similarly, I unblocked all the soft blocked interfaces (bluetooth and wireless):
$ rfkill unblock all && rfkill list

$ rfkill list
0: hci0: Bluetooth
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no
1: asus-wlan: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no
2: asus-bluetooth: Bluetooth
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no
3: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no

After unblocking the netbook's wireless and Bluetooth interfaces, I then used modprobe to install the ath9k module:

$ sudo modprobe ath9k

This loads all the ath9k-related modules - ath, ath9k, ath9k_common and ath9k_hw with the associated 802.11-related modules, cfg80211 and mac80211:

$ lsmod|grep ath
ath9k 112655 0
ath9k_common 29490 1 ath9k
ath9k_hw 433891 2 ath9k_common,ath9k
ath 23507 3 ath9k_common,ath9k,ath9k_hw
mac80211 597573 1 ath9k
cfg80211 461788 4 ath,ath9k_common,ath9k,mac80211


Once the Atheros modules are installed, it is trivial to set up the WiFi network using the NetworkManager-applet.

After bluetooth is unblocked and enabled, the solution to enable bluetooth for the plain vanilla Fedora 21 XFCE is to install Cinnamon and its related packages:

cinnamon.i686
cinnamon-control-center.i686
cinnamon-screensaver.i686
cinnamon-session.i686
cinnamon-desktop.i686
cinnamon-menus.i686

Here's a screenshot from my netbook showing the configuration menu in Cinnamon:


By clicking on the Bluetooth and/or Networking icons, the configuration menu may be viewed and can be edited.

Specifically the networking area consists of Wired (LAN), Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Nexus 4 entry refers to my smartphone which is a paired device which can be used to provide internet via the phone's data service. The Bluetooth entry shows a connected device (the smartphone) which uses the netbook as an audio device.

After reflection on my original Bluetooth issue with the XFCE version of Fedora 21, I could have saved myself the hassle of this issue by installing Fedora 21 Gnome.

This article would not have happened without the help of Google Search - "Google is your friend!"

Kudos to two members of Fedora Forums:
  1. feihuhotain for providing the tip for installing lshw and rfkill, and using rfkill to list the wireless interface (Bluetooth and WiFi), and
  2. aks for providing the tip for using rfkill to unblock all the software blocks of wireless interfaces.
Fedora Forums: http://forums.fedoraforum.org/

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