PreshBlog

Disabling wifi kill-switch on Inspiron 17R (N7010)

by on Mar.22, 2011, under Linux, System Administration

The wireless kill-switch (Fn+F2) on my Dell Inspiron 17R (N7010) laptop is getting on my tits, as I occasionally hi that key combination by accident when trying to use Ctrl + F2.

I can’t seem to see any way to disable this, and Google doesn’t seem to be able to find anything useful. Anyone have any ideas? There must be some way to ignore that key combination.

Running xev whilst pressing that key combination shows me:

KeyPress event, serial 33, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001,
    root 0xb0, subw 0x0, time 39357273, (121,-345), root:(1426,350),
    state 0x0, keycode 246 (keysym 0x1008ff95, XF86WLAN), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XmbLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

KeyRelease event, serial 33, synthetic NO, window 0x5c00001,
    root 0xb0, subw 0x0, time 39357273, (121,-345), root:(1426,350),
    state 0x0, keycode 246 (keysym 0x1008ff95, XF86WLAN), same_screen YES,
    XLookupString gives 0 bytes: 
    XFilterEvent returns: False

So, if it’s being triggered by software, it’s keycode 246 I need to deactivate/map to something else, I believe.

However, I tried with:

xmodmap -e 'keycode 246 = NoSymbol'

… but no effect, it still kills the wireless. I’m hoping that someone might know how to do it, and/or that someone else Googling for how to do this will find this post, and perhaps share any ideas. If I figure it out, I’ll of course update this post with the solution.

UPDATE – I probably should have mentioned that this machine is running Ubuntu Linux. Also, I found that, in System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts, I can assign a shortcut to the Fn+F2 key combination (the shortcut column shows 0xf6), and pressing Fn+F2 does indeed trigger that shortcut (launching a terminal window, for a test), but also still triggers the wifi killswitch. I suspect that, as well as being seen by the OS and software, it’s being directly intercepted by hardware to toggle the card?

UPDATE – to help people Googling for info on how to disable the wireless/wifi kill switch key combination / shortcut for this laptop, it’s a Dell 17R / N7010 with a Broadcom BCM4313 802.11b/g LP-PHY wireless adaptor.


7 Comments for this entry

  • Bo

    Hi David,

    Am having problems with the same Dell model, and cannot find wifi “switch”

    I am also – though I bought my 1st PC in ’83 – not advanced enough to understand your post above.

    Is there a physical switch or function key/combo that will let me switch wifi on??

    Thanks…

    Bo

  • bigpresh

    @Bo – the keyboard shortcut to enable/disable wifi on this model is Fn+F2 (that’s the blue “Fn” key next to the left-hand Ctrl key, and F2 (which has a “radio tower” icon on it).

    … actually, thinking about it, the brain-dead default setting when I received my machine was for the function keys to perform their alternate action by default and to have to press Fn to get them to behave as actual function keys, I had to go into the BIOS to revert them to same behaviour, so you may only need to press F2, without the Fn key.

    Hope that helps a little?

  • SexyTexy

    OMG you are a life saver!!! I totally overlooked this easy resolve!!! Thank god this was posted you rock my socks!!!!

  • andi

    You saved my sanity it was driving me mad. Thank you

  • Mark T

    THANK YOU! This just stumped me and a colleague for several hours this morning. If only I’d had the foresight to actually Google first, this would have saved us a lot of hassle.

    Some additional keywords to help Google rank this up a bit more…

    Dell, Inspiron, kill switch, f2, wireless, wlan, networking

    Once again… Thank you! :-D

  • Peter

    Thank you for posting this fix. It’s the “brain dead” stuff – why would Dell ever flipflop the Fn key settings? – that completely halted a frustrating over-the-phone folks-in-Florida tech support call. I was moments from sending their new 17R out to get the wireless card swapped. My deepest thanks to you and … and a kick in the pants to somebody at Dell

  • bronson

    Hi dude what is the key code to connect

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