Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wireless connection from the command line

If ever you find yourself stuck with a *Nix box that won't boot into any kind of comfy graphical interface, and you need to connect to a wireless internet connection so that you can look stuff up and maybe solve your problem, here's a helpful tip:

There is a wireless networking utility very much like ifconfig called iwconfig. When you have a chance (and preferably before you really need it) check out the man page for it. Here are some quick and dirty instructions, in case you are desperate right now.

To find out what wireless networks are available to you, type
iwconfig wlan0 scan (see comments)
iwlist wlan0 scan

To attach to an open, non-encrypted network, type
iwconfig wlan0 essid netname
where netname is the essid of the network you want to connect to.

If you only have encrypted networks available, you might be in a bit more trouble. I haven't actually managed to get that working at all yet, though theoretically, it should work something like this:
iwconfig wlan0 key s:password
iwconfig wlan0 essid netname

where password is your password and netname is the essid of the network you want. The s: means that the password is in string format. If you know the hex version of your password, then instead of saying s:password you'd just type in the hex of the password like this:
iwconfig wlan0 key 0123-4567-89

Good luck getting your GUI fixed!


Anonymous said...

The first bit is wrong to scan for available APs use iwlist scan not iconfig

Lisha said...

Weird... I have used all of these in the past, but now I can't find the documentation of it. I've made the correction above.

Gregory said...
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