Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am new to Debian (previously using Ubuntu, which is also Debian based). When I installed it on my Lenovo G450 laptop, I skipped the wireless configuration (I really didn't know how to do that).

After the installation, I found no wireless network available.

I add

iface wlan0 inet dhcp

to /etc/network/interface, then typed

iwlist wlan0 scan

But the terminal told me that "interface not support for this operation".

Anyway I tried

iwconfig wlan0 essid xxx key xxx

and the terminal said: "invalid argument".

Can anyone help? I had to turn to Fedora/Ubuntu again. They have network-manager to configure the wireless network, but Debian does not. I wanted to install network-manager, but I can't connect to the internet.

share|improve this question
I fixed your formatting – please use the syntax and editor help if you're not sure. There's no need for <br>. — As for your question: Are you sure you added it to /etc/network/interfaces and not interface (notice the missing "s")? Have you done a /etc/init.d/networking restart after editing the interfaces? And "interface not support … " – are you sure this is the exact error message you get? – slhck Oct 1 '11 at 9:05
Read the Debian manual: /etc/network/interfaces needs an iface, not ´interface` line where you put the wlan0. – slhck Oct 2 '11 at 11:17
I think i found the reason, it does not have the wireless firmware of the old broadcom network device. – jilen Oct 8 '11 at 0:24
Ah, I see. Well you could write an answer to your own question if you found out how to get it working! – slhck Oct 8 '11 at 8:38
up vote 0 down vote accepted

That's just because the lack of the old broadcom wireless driver. i download b43 and compile it.

this link will help install b43 firmware

the new 3.x kernel seems have broadcom firmware built in

share|improve this answer
Ah, the ol' download and compile vendor specific driver trick! If we can raise awareness about this technique, it'll be the year of Linux on the desktop in no time! – Oct 8 '11 at 10:06
very sorry! I add a link from the b43 project site. – jilen Oct 8 '11 at 10:32

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.