Setup Edimax USB wireless adaptor in Ubuntu

Linux and Ubuntu generally impresses me with the number of devices you can plug in and it just works.  Installing the Edimax EW-7811UN was not one of those times.  To be fair, I also had the same issue with an older model Linksys WUSB54GSC, but the form factor of the new Edimax was just too good to pass up (it bills itself as the worlds smallest wireless adaptor).    No matter how hard I tried to keep the Linksys adaptor out of harms way, my kids have generally tried to find way to try to break it off in the USB slot.  They take this mission very seriously although the Linksys adaptor has survived against all odds.

The nice part about the Edimax network adaptor is it does come with a set of drivers that compiles under linux but you have to download it from their web site.  Actually it is based on the Realtek RTL8192C chipset so do not be surprised when you extract the driver package.  Now on to the fun stuff.

Go into the directory where you extracted the drivers and build the modules:

make clean

That should  go ahead and build your modules.  Next we just need to use insmod to install the module to make sure everything is working:

sudo insmod 8192cu.ko

If all went well, you should soon be able to see your wireless network and connect normally.  If you are a glutton for punishment you can do this every time you start up your system to get net access going.  Personally, I prefer it just to work every time I turn on the system and it just requires a few more steps:

sudo cp 8192cu.ko /lib/modules/`uname -r`/kernel/drivers/net/wireless
sudo insmod 8192cu.ko
sudo depmod -a

This will copy the newly compiled module into the kernel drivers directory and the depmod -a should add it to the module dependencies.   I am thinking this will probably have to be done on every kernel upgrade until the hardware is automatically detected so I am keeping my driver’s source around in case I need to recompile and reinstall the module.

Now to see what the kids try to break next….


14 thoughts on “Setup Edimax USB wireless adaptor in Ubuntu

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for your article. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me, I’m not sure what I am doing wrong. I’m running Linux Mint (debian) 64 bit.

    After inputting your command I receive this message.

    insmod: error inserting ‘8192cu.ko’: -1 File exists

    Is that familiar to you?

    Thank you for any help you can give.


  2. Dang. Well I am not that familiar with the NDIS wrapper, but perhaps you could install the 64-bit Windows driver that way. I will say I have never done this so I do not know if it would work or not.

    I know I have had problems compiling this driver under newer versions of the kernel so right now I am kinda frozen on Ubuntu 10.10 on my wireless machine.

  3. No joy with Cunchbang 10. Did however work perfectly with Ubuntu 10.04

    make ARCH=i386 CROSS_COMPILE= -C /lib/modules/2.6.32-5-686/build M=/home/crunchbang/rtl8192CU_linux_v2.0.939.20100726 modules
    make: *** /lib/modules/2.6.32-5-686/build: No such file or directory. Stop.
    make: *** [modules] Error 2

  4. hi i followed your procedure like a 100 times 2 days……..i am really frustrated now…….pls help…….it shows i am connected to router…..i get response when i ping to my dns……but i cannot open any website…….i get error “unable to resolve server’s dns address”…… device is ok i checked on windows 7…….i tried automatic dhcp, with address even manually……..i dont know whats wrong………pls help…..

    1. Sorry I cannot be of more assistance, but my kids managed to break the adapter (which I find quit impressive considering the size).

      If you are connected to your router but not able to resolve DNS, it sounds like you have a network issue somewhere. If you have manually entered in the IP of your DNS server and it still is not resolving, I am not quite sure where to point you.

  5. Great guide – entertaining and useful at the same time. I’m using the same dongle in an htpc and the last piece of the puzzle was the autostart. Works like a dream now so thank you. My only question is: How exactly did your kids break the edimax??? The thing is tiny and barely sticks out of the usb slot!!

    1. Honestly I have no idea. The previous wireless adapter was fairly large and my daughter ended up hitting it and snapping the usb connector of the circuit board. I (wrongly) would have thought the Edimax would be safe because of its size, but my daughter is thorough. Apparently she takes her job very seriously. In the end I purchased an internal wireless card since I never plan on putting a network drop in her room. This way, she can only break the antenna off. 😉

      Glad we got you squared away, Chima.

  6. Hi Robert. I know this is an old post, but I extracted, navigated, typed “make clean” and cool stuff happened. Typed “make” and only got errors. Any ideas? This is in Gallium OS.

    1. Hey Dave, I’m not sure why I’m just being pinged on this notice now (it indicates you posted in Jan) – but nevertheless I’d be happy to help if you’re still having issues.

      1. Very nice of you, Chima, thanks! I’m on my way to China where I will have limited internet, but I will definitely hit you up for this in the fall. Cheers!

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