Debian 8 Jessie: Wifi card not working (Realtek)

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Posted on February 26, 2016

Recently I installed a barebones Debian 8.2 OS.  Everything went well with the exception of the wireless adapter. Performing “Ifconfig -a” showed nothing while “lspci” showed the card.  After further review I found that none of the firmware files were in /lib/firmware/rtlwifi and /lib/firmware/rtl_nic/ . I ran “apt-get install firmware-realtek”  and “wireless-tools"

After enabling the non-free sources.

# Debian 8 "Jessie"
deb jessie main contrib non-free

The installation of firmware-realtek and wireless-tools went well. I also ran "update-initramfs -u " The wireless card was then recognized but was unable to scan for access points. (iwlist wlan0 scan) . To correct the scan issue I had to download the Realtek firmware files and place them in /lib/firmware/rtlwifi .  The firmware files can be downloaded via git at

Additional information can be found at :

Possible Errors after running update-initramfs -u
/lib/firmware/rtl_nic/rtl8402-1fw for model r8169 
If your nic model is not 8169, you can remove the module by running
modprobe -r r8169

Additional commands