Configuring the iwl4965 driver for the Intel 4965AGN wireless controller

Note: This guide has now been superseded by newer guides in our Guides section.


Bill Giannikos

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The Intel 4965AGN wireless controller is found in the Santa Rosa chipset and is quite common in newer Intel Core 2 systems. Thanks to the work from Intel, there are a good set of drivers available for Linux which they have called the iwlwifi driver. This guide will help you install and configure the Intel 4965ABG for Linux.


For the easiest install you should use kernel 2.6.22 or higher. This kernel includes the necessary drivers for the iwlwifi to function properly. Older versions are much harder to configure.

Installing the iwlwifi module

Fedora 7

With Fedora 7, all you need to do is update your distribution. With the latest 2.6.22 kernel which is installed after running the update you will have the iwl4965 installed.

OpenSuSE 10.3

OpenSuSE 10.3 includes the iwlwifi module as standard so no extra installation is required.

Ubuntu/KUbuntu/XUbuntu Linux 7.04

Ubuntu 7.04 does not include the iwlwifi module so you will need to do this manually. The easiest method to achieve this is to install the latest kernel version from the upcoming (and currently beta) version of Ubuntu (which includes kernel 2.6.22).

First add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file

deb gutsy main restricted universe multiverse

Now execute the following commands (you should check if there is a newer kernel than the one listed below):

sudo apt-get update

then (on one line):

sudo apt-get install linux-image-2.6.22-10-generic linux-headers-2.6.22-10-generic linux-restricted-modules-2.6.22-10-generic  linux-ubuntu-modules-2.6.22-10-generic

Finally remove the line that you just added to the /etc/apt/sources.list file.

And that's it, since the iwlwifi module is included with the above kernel you should be ready to go. A reboot is necessary to launch the new kernel.

Ubuntu/KUbuntu/XUbuntu Linux 7.10

Ubuntu 7.10 includes the iwlwifi module as standard so no extra installation is required.

Generic Method

(To verify and expand.)
Please be aware that wireless can be a hard to configure even on Windows: problems often only go away after a reboot, a dhclient wlan0 (run under root to get an IP renewal) or a router reboot. Even with different routers, the intel driver is glitchy and either quits showing access points in knet_applet, or just fails to get an IP by itself, forcing you to specify one in the configuration menu on a KDE tray.

Also, Mandriva 2008 in 32 and 64 bit modes currently stutters (on the S5097 submodel, at least) when the hardware switch is toggled, and most of the time stays that way until you reboot. This happens more often when audio files are being played, but stays even after different programs are exited. Seems like an issue with IRQ handling, and the dmesg log may mention an unhandled wireless event. Upon shutdown, the log may also show a “microcode sw failure 0x20000000”, at least under the ndiswrapper version.

Download and set up binaries

Using a wired connection from your computer, or spare internet-connected computer for this task, go to the downloads section at and fetch the latest iwlwifi and mac80211 files. Your target will look like iwlwifi-4965-ucode- for the microcode file with iwlwifi. Steps boil down to putting the uncompressed iwlwifi-4965-1.ucode file in /lib/firmware/ and dealing with mac80211 with their instructions –Read the FAQ there. In systems like Mandriva, you don't need to get the mac80211 file. Also note that some microcode versions are named iwlwifi-4965.ucode, and the wrong file copied may puzzle you. Also note that the microcode for the card seems to be ok for 64bit kernels.




There you have it. Your distribution should now be able to see a wireless controller and be able to configure it.


sena, 2014/02/04 11:55

Thank you for making the best article that helped me to work on in a better way with the Linux platform and it made me award of the new programs and features installed. I liked making note of the details that you have provided me.

Lars A G, 2010/04/18 15:10

I had no problems with this using Mandriva 2009 Spring ed. But now I'm testing the 64 bit mandriva 2010 and the card driver is installed, but that's it. It can't see any networks so it is not enabled somewhere or I need to install some more software to make it work. My install from a DVD went well except for one package called something beginning with openssh. I don't know if this is the culprit yet. Working on it..

Bill Baumgardner, 2010/04/16 01:35

In the past 2.5 years has anyone resolved this issue??? I have a Dell Inspiron 1720 and just put Ubuntu 9.10 on it. Everything is behaving well except the Intel 4965AGN wireless card is running so slowwwww. Any assistance is appreciated. PS: I am a new Linux user and not to good with a lot of technical jargon. Thanx.

WTF, 2009/03/02 19:35

The support for this card is HORRIBLE, bugs everywhere from the RF_KILL function, to outright kernel panics when bringing the interface down, removing module, or even starting Xorg.

Ubuntu 8.04, 8.10, 9.04_A5, custom kernel builds 2.6.28, 2.6.29RC6, backported modules.
Also tried the latest (as of March 2009) offerings of Arch, Sabayon, Centos, Debian, similar results on all. Thanks for nothing Intel.

I used to think Intel chipsets were among the best supported in Linux, but this is reminiscent of Via… WTF?! I say avoid this chipset at all cost.

If you can do it, replace your cards with one which uses the RT2800 series chipset, MUCH better support, get the drivers here, setup the Makefile as you need it to be first, then - make clean && make && make install, done.

lepoete, 2008/01/16 21:03

G works on short range only

I've also got Ubuntu 7.10 and iwl4965 works fine as long as I'm at short distance from the router, no more than 10-15 feet and/or no wall in between.

It's like it's not turning on the radio or something. On my laptop (Dell Precision M4300) in Ubuntu it does not turn on the Wi-fi light just below the screen but Windows does turn this on and Windows is able to connect at long range, I suppose that this light is somehow related to a broadcast/radio signal that should be turned on for long range.

If I'm to stay 10 feet from the router, I'm better off using a wired connection :-(

Anybody would have an idea as to how to get the radio signal on with ubuntu?

tums, 2007/11/28 22:42

No N for me either

I'm running ubuntu 7.10 as well and have experienced the same problem: No N support. When my router is configured for N-only devices, I can't connect, but allowing G-devices allows me to connect.

Anyone have any ideas about this?

Tom Erdely, 2007/10/28 14:32

no N?

I have ubuntu 7.10 and the card, indeed, works out of the box, but it only runs at 54g. Anyone know how to make it run at N speeds?

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configuring_the_iwl4965_driver_for_the_intel_4965agn_wireless_controller.txt · Last modified: 2009/02/12 03:48 by billg
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