I am running Ubuntu Server 12.04. I have a wireless USB card. When I begin the boot process I see:

Waiting for network configuration

It turns out that the network never comes up. But once I get to the command line, if I type: ifup wlan0, then I have network access. My /etc/network/interfaces looks like this:

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-ssid xxxxxxx
wpa-psk xxxxxxxx

Looking in my network-interface-wlan0.log shows:

Failed to connect to wpa_supplicant - wpa_ctrl_open: Read-only file system
Failed to bring up wlan0.
Failed to connect to wpa_supplicant - wpa_ctrl_open: Read-only file system
ifdown: interface wlan0 not configured

I've looked at other askubuntu.com questions similar to this, but they don't seem to apply.

How can I get my system to network wirelessly at boot?

Additional information:

I did some poking around. Basically once I login I need to do a:

ifdown wlan0

because I think that ip thinks that is is up, but in /var/run/network the only thing that is 'up' is ifup.lo. Then I do a

'ifup -a'

and then everything works.

5 Answers 5


Failed to connect to wpa_supplicant - wpa_ctrl_open: Read-only file system

According to your log you 'll need to use wpa_supplicant.

So add something similar to this:

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

Contents of /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf :

        pairwise=CCMP TKIP
        group=CCMP TKIP
  • What do we add it to? May 21, 2020 at 17:38

You can add ifup wlan0 to your /etc/rc.local file. Add the command ifup wlan0 before the exit 0. Also add the command ifdown wlan0 before the ifup wlan0 like so:

ifdown wlan0
ifup wlan0

exit 0

For some reason when Ubuntu starts, it thinks that wlan0 is up. So you have to shut it down and have it back up again.

  • This didn't work. I don't think this is happening because ifup isn't be called. I think there's something else wonky going on with the networking system. May 30, 2012 at 5:52
  • Hi, ifup wlan0 should be above the 'exit 0' line. Thanks @Piyush Kumar for mentioning May 30, 2012 at 6:57

Connecting to WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK (Aka "WPA Personal" and "WPA2 Personal" respectively)

  • Run:

    $ wpa_passphrase myssid my_very_secret_passphrase

Copy the value of "psk=" from the output above.

  • Open /etc/network/interfaces in a text editor :

    $ sudo sensible-editor /etc/network/interfaces
  • Define appropriate stanzas for your wireless interface, along with the SSID and PSK HASH. For example :

    auto wlan0
    face wlan0 inet dhcp
       wpa-ssid <myssid>
       wpa-psk <ccb290fd4fe6b22935cbae3144..>
  • Finally run:

    $ sudo ifup wlan0

Note: Some answers seems to suggest configuring a separate wpa_supplicant.conf. But it is only required for WPA-EAP, EAP-TLS networks.

How can I get my system to network wirelessly at boot?

The auto stanza does bring up the interface at system startup.


I also encounter such a problem.

I noticed that someone said, delete the text about primary network interface, with first 2 lines remaining.

It works, but no network is connected.

Then I write the text of primary network interface back into the interfaces file and reboot.

It's surprising to find not only no hints "waiting for network configuration" occur, but I could connect to the internet.

I don't know whether it is useful for any others.


The reason for this is that the filesystem is read-only at boot. At this point only static settings work because udev raises network hotplug signal before the filesystem is ready.

The solution is to change the /etc/init/network-interface.conf file in this line:

"ifup --allow auto ..." to
"ifup --allow=hotplug ...".

You will have to mark you hotplug PCMCI and USB network adapters as "hotplug" in /etc/network/interfaces for them to continue to work, and you should plug them in after boot, not before.

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