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  4. Killer AX1650 in Debian/Ubuntu 16.04+
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  4. Killer AX1650 in Debian/Ubuntu 16.04+

Killer AX1650 in Debian/Ubuntu 16.04+


If your Killer Wireless AX1650 is not seen or used by your Debian-based system, then you may be missing the correct Iwlwifi Driver or Firmware. This guide contains a few options on how to get a working Iwlwifi Driver installed. We have confirmed that these options will restore Wireless connectivity using the AX1650 in Ubuntu 16.04/18.04/19.04.

If the device you are attempting to install WI-FI drivers on has NO Internet access at all, please refer to the following article

There are three primary ways to solve the problem:

  • Linux Kernel 5.1 or Linux Kernel 5.3
    Use the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX200 160MHz Firmware while running Linux Kernel 5.1 or 5.3. This will require you to install and use the newer Linux Kernel and copy the Firmware files into your ‘/lib/firmware/‘ folder. You might be able to install a newer Release of your chosen Linux also. For example, Ubuntu 19.10 should work immediately as it installs with Linux Kernel 5.3 and the necessary Firmware.

    Newer Linux Kernels like 5.4+ might have bugs and compatibility issues, so if you see issues using them, try downgrading to 5.3

  • Use a Package Manager like APT to install an automatically Backported Iwlwifi Driver
    Run the following commands one by one and reboot your Computer. If your AX1650 is still not detected/used you can scroll down and try the older Backport steps.
    $ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:canonical-hwe-team/backport-iwlwifi
    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install backport-iwlwifi-dkms
    $ reboot
  • Manually Backport the Iwlwifi Driver for older Linux Kernels
    The Iwlwifi Driver that works with the AX1650 is included in Linux Kernels 5.1+.
    If you would like to Backport that Iwlwifi Driver to your older Linux Kernel, you can follow the steps below. 

Backported Drivers are created for your current environment. If you Backport a Driver, and then upgrade your system, it’s possible the Backported Driver won’t run correctly. You will have to uninstall the previously Backported Driver and then create another for your current environment.

Backport the Iwlwifi Driver for older Linux Kernels

Before you begin the Manual Backport process, here is a quick description and example of the three necessary steps for Backporting the Iwlwifi Driver for your AX1650:

Step 1 – Download the Latest Git and Build-Essential packages

    • Build-Essential contains the ‘Make’ package and a few other packages necessary for creating the Driver.

Step 2 – Download the Iwlwifi-Firmware.git repository

    • You will then move the Iwlwifi files to your /lib/firmware/ folder so your newly created Driver can operate correctly after reboot.

Step 3 – Download the Backport-Iwlwifi.git repository

    • Use ‘Make’ and the ‘Backport-Iwlwifi’ repository to build the Iwlwifi Driver.
    • Because ‘Make will be producing an Unsigned Driver, you will probably see SSL errors / warnings.
      This is fine, but this is the reason Secure Boot must be Disabled.
      If Secure Boot is Enabled your Computer will not use an Unsigned Driver!

Here is an Example of these steps being performed

    • Starting Conditions for this Example Output:
      Dell XPS 13 9360
      Legacy Boot Mode; Secure Boot OFF
      Ubuntu 18.04 is then Installed as an EXT4 partition with a Mount point set to ‘/’
      The Computer restarts and boots into Ubuntu 18.04
    • Backport_Iwlwifi-Example
      The AX1650 is using the Iwlwifi Driver as shown within the output of ‘sudo lshw -C network’ and WiFi is accessible.

Please note that Secure Boot MUST be disabled in your BIOS before following these steps. If you are unsure how to disable Secure Boot, please refer to your machine or motherboard’s support materials or website.

Let’s Begin!

Enter the following commands into a Terminal one line at a time.

Step 1 – Download the Latest Git and Build-Essential packages

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt-get install -y git
$ sudo apt-get install -y build-essential

Step 2 – Download the Iwlwifi-Firmware.git repository

$ git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/firmware/linux-firmware.git
$ cd linux-firmware
$ sudo cp iwlwifi-* /lib/firmware/
$ cd ..

Step 3 – Create the Backported Iwlwifi Driver for your current setup

$ git clone https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/iwlwifi/backport-iwlwifi.git
$ cd backport-iwlwifi
$ sudo make defconfig-iwlwifi-public
$ sudo make -j4
$ sudo make install
This command might be necessary to force your machine to use the Driver from boot:
$ update-initramfs -u

Reboot your Computer and verify it’s working!

If you update Ubuntu after using a Backported driver, you may have to repeat Step 3 from the beginning to build a new Driver.

Troubleshooting and Notes

  • Wifi no longer works after Update / Upgrade:
    • If you had Manually Backported the Iwlwifi Driver using the 3 Step process and if you still have the Backport-Iwlwifi folder you used previously:

      • $ cd backport-iwlwifi
        $ make uninstall

        Delete your ‘backport-iwlwifi/‘ folder and Reboot.

        Try the steps in this guide from the beginning.
        I believe it’s possible for an old ‘backport-iwlwifi/‘ directory to output content not compatible with your current environment, so starting from the beginning could help.

      • If you had used the APT install method previously:
        Try using ‘sudo apt purge backport-iwlwifi-dkms‘ to remove the Driver and any custom changes it might have.
        Try installing the ‘Backport-Iwlwifi-Dkms‘ package once more.

    • An alternative solution would be to upgrade the Linux-Kernel to 5.1+. Newer Linux-Kernels have Iwlwifi Drivers that have support for newer hardware like the AX1650.
  • If you have installed the Backport-Iwlwifi-Dkms package and the AX1650 is still not seen after reboot:
    • Check the output of ‘dmesg | grep -i iwlwifi‘ for messages of missing Firmware.
      If you see a “no suitable firmware found!” message then run Step 2 in the steps above to copy the Iwlwifi Firmware files to your ‘/lib/firmware‘ folder and then ‘reboot‘.
  • If the issue hasn’t been resolved and Secure Boot is disabled, try getting in contact with our Support team by performing the following:

    $ sudo apt install mokutil
    $ echo "Journalctl Boot Log" > logs.txt
    $ journalctl -b >> logs.txt
    $ echo "Dmesg" >> logs.txt
    $ dmesg >> logs.txt
    $ rfkill list >> logs.txt
    $ sudo lshw -C network >> logs.txt
    $ lspci -nn | grep -i net >> logs.txt
    $ mokutil --sb-state >> logs.txt

    Submit a Ticket describing your issue and the steps you’ve taken.
    Please attach the ‘logs.txt‘ file also.

  • User Feedback / Reports that could be helpful
    • “Yesterday, my WiFi drivers disappeared, so I attempted to rebuild and reinstall using the still locally saved backport-iwlwifi directory, using the same commands as before. After doing this, the machine would freeze permanently right after the display manager loaded.

      Booting Ubuntu in Recovery mode without Networking successfully booted, but a Kernel Panic appeared in Ubuntu Recovery mode with Networking.

      The first step of fixing this was “make uninstall” in the backport-iwlwifi directory.

      Then the machine could boot normally but had no WiFi driver.

      I then restored WiFi functionality by using the apt installation provided in the current version of this article.”

    • Kali users may have difficulty getting the ‘sudo apt-get install backport-iwlwifi-dkms‘ method working, but the 3 step Manual Backport process has been confirmed to work.

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Updated on March 13, 2020

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