1. Overview

If we want to use a Realtek Wi-Fi driver that’s incorporated into our Linux machine, we have to first install it on our system. This installation process can be a bit tricky as it needs some steps to be carried out in a specific order.

In this tutorial, we’ll take a look at the step-by-step process of installing a Realtek Wi-Fi driver on Linux.

Notably, we perform this operation on Ubuntu. However, the same process applies to other Linux distributions as well.

2. Identify Hardware

The first step is to identify the Realtek Wi-Fi card on the device. To do that, we make use of the lspci command:

$ lspci | grep "Network controller”
03:00.0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8723DE 802.11b/
g/n PCIe Adapter

The lspci command prints information about all the existing PCI buses and devices on the machine. Then, the grep command filters the output to only contain those entries that include the term Network Controller. We use this term because all Wi-Fi driver entries are prefixed with it and hence, only those interfaces are printed to the terminal.

As we can see above, the hardware that we’re using is RTL8723DE, which we note for future reference.

3. Add Corresponding PPA

Before we add the corresponding PPA to the system, we should find out which one we need. Notably, two main PPAs provide the Realtek Wi-Fi driver packages for Linux:

We can go to their respective manual pages to find out whether our Wi-Fi driver is a part of the kablosuz-wireless PPA or the drivers PPA.

In this case, we have the RTL8723DE driver, which belongs to the kablosuz-wireless PPA. So, let’s add this PPA to the system:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kelebek333/kablosuz

If the driver belonged to the drivers PPA instead, we’d add that to the machine:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kelebek333/drivers

In the next section, we’ll see how to install the RTL8723DE driver on the device.

4. Install Driver

Before we install the driver, we use the apt command to update the package list on the system:

$ sudo apt update

Now, let’s install the driver:

$ sudo apt install rtl8723de-dkms

If we have another driver instead, e.g., RTL8188EU, we can install it by simply replacing rtl8723de with rtl8188eu in the same command:

$ sudo apt install rtl8188eu-dkms

Since the driver is now installed, let’s load it into the system. This enables us to start using Wi-Fi on the device.

5. Loading the Driver

We can load the RTL8723DE driver using the modprobe command, which can add and remove kernel modules on Linux:

$ sudo modprobe 8723de

If we want to load a different driver instead, e.g., RTL8188EU, we can do it by replacing 8723de with 8188eu in the same command:

$ sudo modprobe 8188eu

Finally, we restart the system to finish loading the driver, which ensures we can start using Wi-Fi on the device.

6. Conclusion

In this article, we went through the process of installing a Realtek Wi-Fi driver on a Linux device.

In fact, we not only went through the installation process but also learned how to load the driver on the machine, which enables us to start using Wi-Fi on the system.

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