How to Install rtl8821cu Ubuntu Linux

If you’ve ever connected your Ubuntu Linux computer to a wireless network, you probably needed a driver. The Realtek RTL8821CU wireless chipset driver is one example of a rise in popularity. 

This nifty little piece of technology provides reliable wireless connectivity for various devices. But how could you install it properly?

In this article, we will go through a detailed guide on how to install rtl8821cu Ubuntu Linux and every possible aspect associated with it. So are you guys ready? 

Let’s get into it.

Understanding the importance of proper driver installation

Now, you might wonder why driver installation is such a big deal. Well, let’s make it clear to you! The RTL8821CU chipset requires a driver to communicate with the computer’s operating system. It helps your computer recognize the wireless chipset and connect with it. Without the right driver, your wireless gadget is pretty much worthless.

In order to get the most out of your hardware, you need to install the drivers correctly. It ensures your wireless connection is robust and reliable and makes the most of the RTL8821CU chipset’s capabilities. A properly installed driver can increase data transfer rates, boost signal strength, and enable additional functions like Bluetooth connectivity.

Checking for the availability of the rtl8821cu driver in Ubuntu

Now that we understand the significance of a proper driver, let’s see if Ubuntu has our backs. Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions, has a vast repository of drivers and software available to its users.

The rtl8821cu driver’s availability will be determined by searching the system’s built-in driver repository. Launch your preferred terminal and type in the following command:

sudo apt search rtl8821cu

Inputting this command into Ubuntu’s terminal will look for any associated packages to the rtl8821cu driver. Ubuntu already has the driver in its repository, simplifying the installation process.

Launch the command prompt and see if Ubuntu has the drivers for the RTL8821CU chipset.

Downloading and installing the necessary build tools and dependencies

Before you proceed with the installation process, you must ensure we have the right tools and dependencies. These tools will enable us to compile and install the rtl8821cu driver effectively.

To begin, open up the terminal and execute this command:

sudo apt install build-essential

It will start installing the “build-essential” package, which includes essential tools like the GNU C Compiler (GCC) and other necessary utilities required for building software on Ubuntu.

The next step is to see if the rtl8821cu driver has specialized requirements. Before moving forward, it is completely recommended that you check for and install any necessary dependencies.

Next, you’ll need to look for data related to the rtl8821cu driver and anything else needed to get this working. You can get the dependencies the driver needs by searching the driver’s official documentation or online resources. When you have the list, you can set it up with the package manager.

If the driver needs a library called “libusb-1.0,” for instance, you can install it by using the following command:

sudo apt install libusb-1.0-0-dev

Installing the rtl8821cu driver from the official Realtek website

Don’t panic if you can’t find the rtl8821cu driver in Ubuntu’s software repository. The official driver is still available for download from Realtek’s site.

To begin, run up your preferred web browser and head on over to the Realtek website. Navigate to the driver’s page or search for the RTL8821CU chipset driver.

When you locate the driver you need, download the archive that works with your version of Ubuntu. Picking the right package is crucial to guarantee compatibility and a trouble-free installation.

Once the driver package has finished downloading, you can extract its contents to your chosen directory. Either use the command-line extraction tools or the “Extract Here” option by right-clicking the downloaded file.

The terminal can be used to access the extracted folder. There ought to be a file in there with a name like “,” The driver installation process will be handled by this script.

In the terminal, you must use the following command to make the installation script executable:

chmod +x

Now, run the installation script as the root user by entering the following command:

sudo ./

You can follow the installation script’s on-screen prompts and instructions to complete the setup. To successfully finish the installation, read and follow the directions closely.

When the installation is complete, you’ll be one step closer to using the rtl8821cu driver to its maximum potential on your Ubuntu Linux system.

Compiling and installing the rtl8821cu driver from the source

Compiling and installing the rtl8821cu driver from the source can be an option if you prefer a more hands-on approach or run into problems with the pre-built driver package. You can tailor the driver installation to your system’s specifications.

Make sure the GCC compiler and kernel headers are present on your machine before we get started. These resources are required for building the driver from scratch. The following command will install them:

sudo apt install build-essential linux-headers-$(uname -r)

You can get the rtl8821cu driver’s source code now that you have everything you need. The code is available for download from Realtek’s site or public sources like GitHub.

Use your favorite browser to get to the repository’s source code location, or run the git clone command to download the repository directly to your computer.

git clone <repository-url>


After obtaining the source code, navigate to the extracted or cloned directory using the terminal:

cd rtl8821cu

You will find a file named “Makefile” or similar in the source code directory. This file contains instructions for compiling the driver.

To compile the driver, run the following command:


With this command, the compilation of the rtl8821cu driver’s binary files will begin.

After the compilation is finished successfully, the installation can begin. The driver can be installed by entering the following command:

sudo make install

The installation process will copy the driver files to the appropriate system directories and update the necessary configurations.

After a successful installation, you can load the newly installed driver module into the kernel by running the following command:

sudo modprobe 8821cu

This command will make the driver active and ready for use.

Congratulations! You have now installed the rtl8821cu driver from source. 

Troubleshooting common issues during installation

A few common problems can arise during an installation and prevent it from going smoothly. Let’s talk about a couple of these and offer some solutions:

Missing dependencies: 

First, the installation procedure is often interrupted by discovering missing dependencies.


To fix this, execute “sudo apt-get install build-essential” to ensure you have all the required packages installed before installing the rtl8821cu driver. It will guarantee that all necessary prerequisites are in place.

Compilation errors or warnings

While running the ‘make’ command, you may encounter compilation errors or warnings. These messages often provide valuable information about the issue. 


 If you’re having trouble installing, you can try updating your kernel headers with “sudo apt-get install linux-headers-$(uname -r)” first. This eliminates the possibility of compilation issues by ensuring the driver is compiled against the correct kernel version.

Limited or No Internet Access after Installation:

You can have trouble connecting to the internet after installing the rtl8821cu driver, leaving you with restricted or no internet connectivity. This can be the result of incompatibilities with other network drivers. 


To fix this, you can blacklist the offending drivers and disable them. Blacklist the offending driver by editing the “/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf” file and adding the line “blacklist conflicting_driver_name” (replace “conflicting_driver_name” with the correct driver name). After making any necessary adjustments to the rtl8821cu driver, restart your computer.

Remember, each system configuration is unique, and the troubleshooting steps may vary. It’s essential to thoroughly read error messages and seek assistance from relevant forums or community resources.

Configuring the wireless network connection after successful installation

Now that the rtl8821cu driver is installed and operating, your wireless network connection can be set up so that you can use its many advantages.

Ubuntu’s Network Manager is a graphical app with an easy-to-use interface for adjusting network preferences, including wireless network configuration.

The Network Manager can be accessed by selecting the network icon in the upper right corner of the Ubuntu desktop. Choose “WiFi Settings” or “Edit Connections” from the corresponding submenu. Clicking here will launch Network Manager.

You can see the list of accessible wireless networks in the Network Manager window. Select the network you wish to join by clicking on it and, if prompted, enter the network’s password. Choose a security protocol (WPA2, WEP, etc.) that works with your network setup.

After entering the required data, the “Connect” button will enable a wireless connection. Using the rtl8821cu driver, the Network Manager will attempt to connect with the specified network.

If the connection was successful, a confirmation message would appear, and the network icon in the screen’s upper-right corner would indicate that it was connected.

Wireless network settings can also be adjusted from the command line with programs like “nmcli.” It is a helpful tool if you prefer a terminal-based method or need to automate network configuration.

To list available wireless networks using nmcli, open a terminal and enter the following command:

nmcli device wifi list

It will display a list of nearby wireless networks and their details, such as SSID, signal strength, and security protocols.

To connect to a specific network, use the following command:

nmcli device wifi connect <SSID> password <password>

Replace `<SSID>` with the network name you want to connect to and `<password>` with the corresponding password.

After successful configuration and connection, you can enjoy a seamless wireless experience on your Ubuntu system with the rtl8821cu driver.

Updating and managing the rtl8821cu driver in Ubuntu

Keeping your drivers updated is essential for maintaining optimal performance and compatibility. Fortunately, managing and updating the rtl8821cu driver in Ubuntu is relatively straightforward.

When using Ubuntu, you can rest assured that your drivers will always be up-to-date. You should use the package manager or Software Updater application to check for updates frequently.

To update your system, open a terminal and run the below-mentioned commands:

sudo apt update

sudo apt upgrade

The first command (‘apt update’) updates the package database with the most recent data from the repositories. In contrast, the second command (‘apt upgrade’) updates the currently installed packages, including the drivers.

If a new version of the rtl8821cu driver is available, it will be included in the system updates. After the update process, the new driver version will be automatically installed and ready to use.

Sometimes it’s necessary to look out for the driver’s version number and download it separately. It is helpful if you wish to use the latest features or fix any compatibility problems.

Manual Installation and Updating

You can manually update or install a different version of the rtl8821cu driver by following the same procedures we covered earlier: obtaining the source code from an open-source repository or downloading the latest driver package from the Realtek website. 

It’s important to note that when updating or installing a new driver version, it’s recommended to uninstall the previous version first to avoid conflicts. You can uninstall the driver by running the appropriate command provided by the installation script or by removing the driver package using the package manager.

You can keep your computer up-to-date with the newest fixes and features by regularly controlling and updating the rtl8821cu driver.

In a Nutshell

If you’re using Ubuntu Linux, you can avoid frustrating connectivity issues and enjoy the flawless wireless performance by installing the rtl8821cu Wi-Fi driver. Experience the boundless potential of your Ubuntu computer with dependable internet access. 

If you’re willing to take the plunge, a wealth of interconnected possibilities is ready to open up.

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