I guess I posted the following request for help in the wrong forum (the generic "Help" forum). I have to add to the following that I also tried all the suggestions I found here or on Ubuntuforums, and none worked
A while ago I bought a Lenovo Ideapd with a Broadcom wifi chip. At first, it would not play ball with Ubuntu 10.04, but after downloading the hybrid_wl driver and compiling the wl.ko module, things got on track. Afterwards, Broadcom apparently open sourced some (all?) drivers, so I was optimistic that things would be fine in future upgrades.
I skipped Ubuntu 10.10 for some reason, and last week moved to 11.04. Now the wifi chip works no more Evil or Very Mad
The messages in the (classic Gnome) network manager applet showed "device not ready" or "wireless is disabled by hardware switch". rfkill lists three devices, and it said that the brcmwl-0 one was soft- and hard- unblocked after the appropriate incantation, but that didn't help (the other entries are ideapad_wlan, unblocked, and acer-wireless, soft blocked, and hard unblocked - could never get both to be unblocked)
I tried the updated Broadcom driver, together with its patch for recent kernels, and it compiled all right, but the device is not ready, the led indicator blinks (or shuts off if I press the Fn-key to toggle wifi), and iwconfig lists eth1, as the wireless device, instead of wlan0, which makes me think the driver is not right.
Oh, yes, I had already downloaded the Broadcom drivers from the Ubuntu depositories, but they didn't work either. After installing the new hybrid_wl drivers I suspected there might be a conflict, so I uninstalled the sta, and bwl-cutter, stuff and, on reboot, the wifi indicator was steady, but it still did not work, and was still "wireless is disabled by hardware switch". Blocking/unblocking variously in rfkill, or more fiddling with the Fn switch, and it's back to indicator blinking or off (and still disabled by hardware switch, or device not ready).
I imagine that the solution should be devilishly easy (after all, it all worked with 10.04), but have no idea where to turn now. Any help?