I thought I would post this information in Dell Ubuntu Support for others to see.
First, I have been running Ubuntu on this Laptop going on 4 years now. Some earlier releases of Ubuntu ran with no problems. I want to say it was around the the release of 10.04 that the issues with the wifi card came into play. But there is a work around.
If you are using a Broadcom BCM43xx card (I am using a 4311). Do the following:
After installing 10.xx, 11.xx, or 12.xx making sure you have a network cable plugged in.
1. Make sure you have dkms installed.
sudo apt-get install dkms
2. I uninstalled “bcmwl-kernel-source” package,
sudo apt-get remove bcmwl-kernel-source
3. I installed “firmware-b43-installer” package
sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer
4. I installed “b43-fwcutter” packager
sudo apt-get install b43-fwcutter
5. I typed into the terminal:
cat /etc/modprobe.d/* | egrep '8180|acx|at76|ath|b43|bcm|CX|eth|ipw|irmware|isl| lbtf|orinoco|ndiswrapper|NPE|p54|prism|rtl|rt2|rt3 |rt6|rt7|witch|wl'
This was the output:
# which ath5k cannot recover. To prevent this condition, stop
blacklist ath_pci
blacklist eth1394
# replaced by p54pci
blacklist prism54
# replaced by b43 and ssb.
blacklist bcm43xx
blacklist uart6850
blacklist twl4030_wdt
You might have to restart the laptop at this point. Before restarting click on your network icon in the upper right corner of your desktop if you see wireless connections listed under wireless just select one and you should connect without restarting.
I hope this will help others as it help me.