Debian WiFi Drivers

Look Ma No Wires

Installing Debian Squeeze on my laptop today, and early in the install process the installer stopped and requested the following WiFi drivers:

iwlwifi-3945-2.ucode & iwlwifi-3945-1.ucode

I found them at Intel's Linux Wireless website:

I needed the iwlwifi-3945-2.ucode. The other driver I found linked at:

here's the link to the driver:

Unzip it and rename it to iwlwifi-3945-1.ucode then copy both to a USB pen drive and plug into your laptop. Debian will search available media for the drivers, find the drivers and continue with the install.

After the install completed, the WiFi connection did not work. I ran iwconfig. Nothing. I ran ifconfig. Nothing. I googled and it seems a few people had similar problems. After trying several suggestions I came across the answer.

It seems the drivers should reside in /lib/firmware, but when I checked they were not there. It seems the call for the drivers at the start of the install had somehow failed to copy to the correct directory.

I ran command:

aptitude show iwlwifi-firmware

aptitude install iwlwifi-firmware

Then started up Network Manager and searched for a wireless lan.

ifconfig & iwconfig

That seemed to fix it, as the wireless lan showed up with the MAC address.

Then in Network Manager, after identifying the wlan connection I had to enter the WAP passphrase key. (A type of long password). You will need for connection to your wireless router.



  1. Thanks for this informational post. This got me on track to solve my wifi problem.

    These were my steps:

    1. Download latest 3945 Microcode from:

    2. Unzip, rename to "iwlwifi-3945-1.ucode", and placed on external media (thumb drive)

    3. On my fresh debian install, place the "iwlwifi-3945-1.ucode" file in the "/lib/firmware/" directory.

    4. Restart and viola!

    *Note: This was for lenny on an Acer TravelMate 4670.

  2. Thank you for this nice how-to. I choose a different way to install these drivers. During installation at the point the installer asks whether I have these or not, I said something like "no" or "skip". The system was installed with no wireless connection. (Though, I had an ethernet connection.) After I booted in my new system, I did what told here: Its mainly adding the non-free repositories and installing the packages from there. Worked for me and now I have wireless connection as well.