So basically, I'd like to use
iwconfig to connect to my wifi network when I'm not inside X. But I just don't see a way to do it in the man page. Any idea?
Assuming your interface is wlan0 you can connect to it with...
This link shows it all and worked fine for me: http://linux.icydog.net/wpa.php
I'm copying the contents here, so we have it, in case that site goes offline.
Command line WPA
Sometimes you'll be at a command line with no access to GUI networking tools -- but your access point is secured with WPA. What do you do?
Assuming your wireless card actually works (i.e. iwconfig can see it and interact with it), using wpa_supplicant is actually pretty simple. Installing wpa_supplicant
Most distros nowadays have wpa_supplicant installed by default. If you have the commands wpa_passphrase and wpa_supplicant available, then you're good to go. Otherwise, you will need to install the package by doing something like (for Ubuntu):
Or (for Fedora):
Or whatever the command is for your distro.
Generating the config file
Now that wpa_supplicant is installed, we will create its configuration file. Once you know the SSID and WPA passphrase, all you have to do is run:
Of course, replace "myrouter" with the SSID of your router, "mypassphrase" with your WPA passphrase, and "wpa.conf" with whatever file you want to store the configuration in. This filename does not have to follow a particular format or have a particular extension.
Alternatively, to avoid typing the passphrase on the command line (so it doesn't get saved in the shell's history), you can specify just the SSID on the command line. wpa_passphrase will wait for you to type in the passphrase followed by enter:
You should end up with a file looking like this:
Now we will actually run wpa_supplicant to connect to the wireless network. First, if your router broadcasts its SSID (they all do by default), you probably want to make sure your wireless card can actually see it:
You might have to run that as root to force a refresh.
Next, you will need to know three pieces of information:
Now that you have this data, run (as root):
There are no spaces between the options and parameters. Don't include the brackets as I just added those for clarity. For example, for my laptop it looks like this:
You can also run it in the background by using the -B option so that it doesn't take up your console.
Now you're associated with the network.
To actually get online, you'll have to get an IP somehow. Most people will just want to get a dynamic IP from a DHCP server, probably the one built into the router. (I'm not going to cover setting a static IP and routing table because that's a beast in itself.)
To get a DHCP lease, first release whatever leases you're still holding onto (as root):
Then ask for a new lease (of course replacing eth1 with the name of your network device, the same one as you used in the previous section):
You now have an IP, in theory at least. Happy surfing!
I had trouble using wpa_supplicant directly to get on a wireless network. My network ID and password generated errors when I used the wpa_supplicant.conf file on the wpa_supplicant command line, e.g., sudo wpa_supplicant -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -B. I was able to work around it with wpa_cli. The command sequence I had to use, since I am using a Windows driver with Linux ndiswrapper, is:
sudo modprobe ndiswrapper sudo iwconfig wlan0 essid "" mode managed sudo wpa_cli identity "" password ""
I had the network set up by adding it in the wireless section of networking in the GUI, so that I could click on the wired or wireless network icon and select the wireless provider (which was sometimes necessary to complete the login).
There's actually a way to do it using NetworkManager, if you have the
(Credit: bug 923836, which came up in my searches on the topic.)
First brig your card up if it's not runnig:
Set the parameters acording to your network