How to install the Realtek RTL8821CE driver

Usually, when we install a Linux distribution on a laptop, often Wi-Fi support is present in whole or in part for most models. The drivers are integrated into the Linux kernel and as a result, everything “just works” out of the box. But problems start if there is no driver for your Wi-Fi. You need to find it and install it manually.

For example, the owner of HP CM-0078AU notebooks may encounter such a problem.

If you have a Wi-Fi adapter based on the Realtek RTL8821CE chipset, then Linux does not have a driver for it by default. As a result, the OS does not see the device, and there is no Wi-Fi icon at all in the panel next to the clock.

To fix this problem, just install the required driver.

This driver works on Linux kernels > 4.14 (all modern distributions meet this requirement). This driver has been tested on Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Arch Linux, Gentoo and should work on all derivative distributions.

This driver can be installed using DKMS. This is a system that automatically recompiles and installs kernel modules when a new kernel is installed as a result of an upgrade. To use DKMS, install the dkms package.

To check which integrated Wi-Fi adapter you have, run the command:

lspci | grep Network

If your output contains the line RTL8821CE, then this instruction will help you:

Network controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL8821CE 802.11ac PCIe Wireless Network Adapter

Offline installation of Realtek RTL8821CE

If the computer on which you want to install the driver does not have an Internet connection, then you can download the installation file from the Ubuntu repositories, transfer it to a USB flash drive to a computer without the Internet, and try to install it manually. This method may not work for the reason that the driver installation requires dependencies (for example, kernel headers) that could be installed if the computer had an Internet connection, but if the computer is offline, then you have to hope that all the necessary files are present by default.

Download the driver installation file:

wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/r/rtl8821ce/rtl8821ce-dkms_5.5.2.1-0ubuntu4_all.deb

If the link to the driver stopped working, then go to the page to find the actual link: https://pkgs.org/search/?q=rtl8821ce-dkms

Transfer the downloaded file to the computer where you want to install it, go to the directory with the driver and start the installation with the following command:

sudo apt install ./rtl8821ce-dkms_5.5.2.1-0ubuntu4_all.deb

How to install Realtek RTL8821CE Driver on Ubuntu 20.04 and Later

Starting with Ubuntu 20.04, this driver is available in Additional Drivers (Software & Updates). Open the additional software settings and check the box “Using DKMS source for the Realtek 8821C…” (use DKMS source for the Realtek 8821C) and then reboot. After a reboot, everything will work.

How to install Realtek RTL8821CE driver on Debian, Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Linux Mint and their derivatives

Run the following commands:

sudo apt install bc module-assistant build-essential dkms
git clone https://github.com/tomaspinho/rtl8821ce
cd rtl8821ce
sudo m-a prepare
sudo ./dkms-install.sh

Then restart your computer and everything should work.

How to install Realtek RTL8821CE driver on Arch Linux, BlackArch and their derivatives

Install pikaur as shown in the “Automatic installation and update of AUR packages” article, then simply run the command:

pikaur -S rtl8821ce-dkms-git

Reboot your computer.

How to Install Realtek RTL8821CE Driver in Gentoo

Run the commands as root:

layman -a trolltoo
emerge --ask net-wireless/rtl8821ce-driver

Removing the driver

Open a terminal and use git clone to clone the repository to your local drive:

git clone https://github.com/tomaspinho/rtl8821ce.git
cd rtl8821ce

Then run the uninstall script:

sudo ./dkms-remove.sh

Driver update

Remove the driver:

sudo ./dkms-remove.sh

Make sure you have the latest version of the repository on disk:

git pull

Remove any stale binaries:

make clean

Reinstall:

sudo ./dkms-install.sh

Possible problems

Secure Boot

If your system uses secure boot, disable it in the BIOS settings, otherwise the kernel will not accept custom modules.

PCIe Activate State Power Management

Your distribution may ship with PCIe Activate State Power Management enabled by default. It may conflict with this driver. To disable:

sudo $EDITOR /etc/default/grub

Add pci=noaer to the end of GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT. The line should look something like this:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash pci=noaer"

Then update your GRUB config:

sudo update-grub

Reboot.

Lenovo Yoga Laptops

Some newer Yoga laptops (like the Yoga 530) come with rtl8821ce as a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip. But the ideapad-laptop module that may be included with your distribution may conflict with this driver. To turn it off:

sudo modprobe -r ideapad_laptop

BlueTooth not working

This could be because the kernel is loading the wrong firmware file for this card. Take a look at the wahsot manual at https://github.com/tomaspinho/rtl8821ce/issues/19#issuecomment-452196840 to see if it can fix your issue.

See also:

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