Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Since my laptop doesnt have a Wireless Network LED indicator, I want to know if there is a command to verify if it is on or off (I'm installing the wireless drivers, so I can't tell if it is set on or off by seeing the list of wireless conections next to the clock)

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can use nmcli for this purpose. Open a terminal type in terminal,

nmcli nm

You will have output like,

running         connected       disabled        disabled   enabled         disabled 

See the third and fourth column which contains information of your interest.

If you want to be more specific only to wifi, then try in terminal,

nmcli nm wifi

it will show the wifi status only,

share|improve this answer
For me, it is showing enabled no matter if I press the keys to activate the wifi. Maybe the keys aren't working, is there a command to enable/disable like it was the key? – Raphael Fernandes Jan 1 '14 at 18:32
try nmcli nm wifi on to enable and nmcli nm wifi off to disable – souravc Jan 1 '14 at 18:37
yes, this is telling the right result after the installation of the driver. So, the answer is "nmcli nm wifi". Thanks. – Raphael Fernandes Jan 1 '14 at 20:21
This did not work for me. It just says WIFI unknown. I could use sudo rfkill block wifi and sudo rfkill unblock wifi instead, as described here. Note that my computer is quite old, so it might be that the network-manager did not recognize my hardware. Also, the OS is Ubuntu 12.04. – Krøllebølle Apr 17 '15 at 16:26

Just press Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard to open Terminal. When it opens, run the command(s) below:


And you can see connectivity, Access point connected to, properties, IP settings, and much more

share|improve this answer
it only shows the eth0 since the wlan0 isn't 'installed' yet – Raphael Fernandes Jan 1 '14 at 18:33
If wireless not enabled or installed, it won't show that. – Mitch Jan 1 '14 at 18:38
rfkill list

This wil show devices that are either software or hardware blocked. In my case it's not blocked and wifi is on:

0: phy0: Wireless LAN
Soft blocked: no
Hard blocked: no

When the driver is up and running, the wireless interface should show up in the list when using the following command:

share|improve this answer
For me, it shows Soft blocked: no even if my WiFi is turned off (although hardware is enabled). – nisargshah95 Jan 1 '14 at 17:29

iwlist scanning should do the job.

share|improve this answer

As of 15.04 (and later, including 16.04 LTS), the nmcli command has changed. There, you'll use:

⟫ nmcli radio
enabled  enabled  enabled  enabled 

or just

⟫ nmcli radio wifi
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.