Fedora Workstation 38 not recognizing Wifi card

I very recently purchased a new Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5 (model number 82XF002DUS) hoping to install Fedora Workstation on it in hopes of eventually using it as a programming machine. This is basically my first time taking the plunge with any distribution of Linux so I’m a newbie. Installation seemed to go fine, but I soon realized that the OS doesn’t recognize the Wifi adapter, and so my laptop currently has no internet connectivity. This is something I admittedly didn’t think to check while I was (briefly) testing F38 from my USB boot media, and I’ve already wiped the hard drive that came pre-installed with Windows 11 and fully installed Fedora. I’ve done some troubleshooting to at least try to figure out what the issue is.

The card shows up in my device list using lspci as
3:00.0 Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. Device b852

Putting this into an online search and seeing the results indicates that the problem is apparently missing drivers, but I was hoping I could make sure I was on the right track and maybe get some guidance or specific instructions before trying anything.

Your post cut off the device name, Realtek chips are widely used, but can have different chip-ID’s under similar model names. Please run inxi -NAxx (this should get the chip-ID) in a terminal and post the output as text using the </> button (or bracket the text with triple backquotes).

Does bluetooth work? Even if you don’t currently have BT accessories, BT is now used with a smart phone for proximity detection (for added security with some network sites).

Note that It is not unusual to have WiFi problems with a new system or after installing a new Fedora release because some vendors do not provide good Linux support. It can be helpful if you have access to a USB WiFi dongle you can use while sorting out the problem. If your system’s WiFi is removable (M.2 card) you may be better off installing a new WiFi card with good vendor support (some Intel cards work well).

Thankfully Bluetooth does work - I was able to pair my phone to the laptop and tether it for internet. Which is great, since I needed to download and install inxi before I could use it.

Running inxi -NAxx yields this info for the Wifi chip:

    Device-1: Realtek vendor: Lenovo driver: N/A pcie: speed: 2.5 GT/s lanes: 1 port: 3000 bus-ID: 03:00.0 chip-ID: 10ec:b852

I do not have a USB Wifi dongle on hand, so I would have to go search for one that would work with Linux kernel version 6.2.9 (and I don’t know how hard that search would be). Just from a quick search, it looks like it it’s generally possible to open up Lenovo computers and replace parts. I can’t say for certain whether it’s possible for this specific model laptop and Wifi card, though.

Linux Hardware Fedora 38 probes for similar models has 2 Fedora reports. There is a note: “needs newer kernel or manually install rtw89”, but some reports here in July say BT stopped working with newer kernels,. Maybe an even newer kernel allows BT and wifi. If you can install the latest kernel it should provide wifi, but you want an alternate wifi device such as a USB dongle in case BT fails. Note that newer kernels may require BIOS/firmware updates from Lenovo.

So it seems I have two options here: see if I can get a newer version of the kernel and see if that solves the Wifi issue (that Fedora probe was running kernel 6.3.7, after all), or figure out how to manually install rtw89 (I’m guessing this is a driver?) on my current 6.2.9 kernel.

Either way, it seems like you’d recommend I get a Wifi dongle to have just in case. Do you happen to know of any that work with modern Linux kernels?

Either option has risks of losing internet access, but a kernel upgrade doesn’t remove the last two kernels, so you should be able to get BT tethered internet back. You may not want to do updates with BT internet for speed and/or cost reasons.

I have an older USB dongle from Pluggable, but last time I checked their current models didn’t support linux. Some cheap USB wifi dongles use assorted chips without changing the model name, so look for one that specifies the chip and check the Linux Hardware database.

I found a list of chipsets to look out for that can make use of already-in-the-kernel drivers here:

Looks like I should be able to pick up a simple 2.4GHz adapter (shown at the very bottom of the list) for roughly $20 just to have as a safety net. It would appear that the RT5370 chip used in a few of these cheap adapters works fine in modern versions of Fedora.

And I can find them on Amazon, so I can have one here in just two days if it has Prime shipping. I think I’ll wait for one to arrive before I try doing anything else.

I’m pleased to announce that it looks like installing a newer version of the kernel has solved the problem. I used the Wifi dongle to install numerous system and app updates that were waiting for me, which evidently included an update to the kernel. Didn’t have to install any BIOS/firmware updates. Kernel is now version 6.5.5. The laptop sees the Wifi card just fine now.

I’ll definitely hang onto the Wifi dongle in case anything breaks in the future.

Plus 1 for community support. Does your definition of “fine” mean bluetooth also works?

Bluetooth seems to still work. My smart phone is still able to connect to the laptop without any issue and I can still tether it.