How to install Realtek RTL8188CE WiFi drivers (ThinkPad Edge 13) on Ubuntu Natty 11.04

After a two-week long battle trying to get Realtek’s RTL8188CE WiFi network card to work on Ubuntu Natty 11.04, countless reinstalls and email exchanges with Realtek’s customer support, I finally managed to get Realtek’s PCI Express Mini WiFi card to establish a stable connection. I figured I’d share my findings with the world and save other users some trouble.

Realtek’s RTL8188CE card uses the RTL8192CE chipset, which can be found in different kinds of Lenovo ThinkPad Edge laptops. Although drivers for the RTL8192CE chipset are included in Natty’s kernel, they don’t work reliably with a number of chipsets. This shouldn’t be a problem, since you can always just compile and install the official Realtek drivers yourself, right? Well, yes, you can. And in fact this worked quite well on Ubuntu Lucid (10.04) and Ubuntu Maverick (10.10). If you’re on Natty, however, you can’t simply install the original Realtek drivers over the ones already present. Also, Realtek offers two different versions of the 8192CE driver. Which is the right one to choose? Let’s take a look… [...]

IrDA (infrared) data transfer on Ubuntu

Many mobile phones in Japan (still?) come equipped with IrDA ports which allow for data transfer with other IrDA enabled devices. It’s a cheap and easy way to send contact details from one phone to another, or to transfer content from your phone to your computer, and it’s a lot easier to set up on Linux than I had expected. In fact, I finished backing up my phone data so quickly that I had some spare time left and decided to write this short tutorial on how to set up IrDA on Ubuntu. This has been tested on Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid) and 10.10 (Maverick) with a SigmaTel IrDA dongle (“SigmaTel STIr4200″, according to dmesg) and a SoftBank Samsung 730SC mobile phone… [...]