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The problem is that there are no standard drivers from Realtek for current Linux kernels. I had the same problem with my HP laptop and had to use it with a cable for months. There is a solution on Github that will fix it and have you running on WiFi within a few minutes.

Check to make sure you have kernel development tools installed first:

sudo install kernel-devel

This post on StackExchange explains how to do the rest: https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/379049/realtek-wifi-driver-problem-in-linux-mint-18-2#400259

Note that each time you upgrade your kernel, you'll need to recompile the driver and redo the modprobe command to make the wifi work again.

Also, if you get bad performance out of the wifi once oyu have it enabled, check the bottom of the page here: https://github.com/lwfinger/rtlwifi_new

I was getting a 60% signal sitting right next to my router and after following the instructions there got it up to 98%.

The problem is that there are no standard drivers from Realtek for current Linux kernels. I had the same problem with my HP laptop and had to use it with a cable for months. There is a solution on Github that will fix it and have you running on WiFi within a few minutes.

Check to make sure you have kernel development tools installed first:

sudo install kernel-devel

This post on StackExchange explains how to do the rest: https://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/379049/realtek-wifi-driver-problem-in-linux-mint-18-2#400259

Note that each time you upgrade your kernel, you'll need to recompile the driver and redo the modprobe command to make the wifi work again.

Also, if you get bad performance out of the wifi once oyu have it enabled, check the bottom of the page here: https://github.com/lwfinger/rtlwifi_new

I was getting a 60% signal sitting right next to my router and after following the instructions there got it up to 98%.