Other posts seems to be addressing more complicated network connection issues from the command line.

The Unity panel Network indicator/button doesn't respond too well sometimes - it keeps trying to connect to a network even when i click on "disconnect", stuff like that.

So I want to go command line for the control. I don't like GUIs anyway.

Is there not some simple command line tool which can do something like the following?

wifi connect MyNetworkNameA
wifi disconnect
wifi connect MyNetworkNameB
up vote 159 down vote accepted

I think you want to keep using managed interface (by NetworkManager). nmcli is a command‐line tool for controlling NetworkManager.

  • To see list of saved connections, use (<SavedWiFiConn>)

    nmcli c
    
  • To see list of available WiFi hotspots (<WiFiSSID>)

    nmcli d wifi list
    

    or:

    sudo iwlist wlan0 scanning
    
  • To see list of interfaces (<WifiInterface>)

    ifconfig -a
    

Just change <WifiInterface>, <WiFiSSID>, <WiFiPassword> in the following commands to reflect your setup. If WiFi info already saved, easier way using <SavedWiFiConn> name of connection as it was saved in NetworkManager.

Ubuntu 16.04

##disconnect
nmcli d disconnect <WifiInterface>

##connect
nmcli d connect <WifiInterface>

Another way:

##disconnect
nmcli c down <SavedWiFiConn>

##connect
nmcli c up <SavedWiFiConn>

Ubuntu 15.10 & previous

##disconnect
nmcli d disconnect iface <WifiInterface>

##connect
nmcli d wifi connect <WiFiSSID> password <WiFiPassword> iface <WifiInterface>

Another way:

##disconnect:
nmcli c down id <SavedWiFiConn>

##connect:
nmcli c up id <SavedWiFiConn>

If your password isn't automatically recognized type this:

nmcli -a c up <SavedWiFiConn>

Reference: man nmcli

  • 1
    Works like a charm! And, as suspected, the command line responds immediately, while the GUI can be sluggish, uncooperative, and unresponsive sometimes. – cmo May 6 '14 at 15:55
  • 1
    Saved my day when I lost my Unity dash and taskbar, and the Network Settings dialog kept on crashing upon any kind of network connection establishment. – Janaka Bandara Nov 27 '14 at 1:21
  • 1
    @kirill_igum , sorry to be late quiet busy, You may use cron for scheduling wifi scan using iwlist wlan0 scanning or nmcli d wifi list then nmcli to connect to the corresponding wifi network depending on your needs. – user.dz Jan 11 '16 at 21:59
  • 1
    The command that I was issuing was giving an error. I was issuing this command: nmcli c up id "Apollo III Connect" It gave an error. When I leave out the word id and typed this it connects without error: nmcli c "Apollo III Connect". I understand how to connect it now. You're saying id as the parameter and saying replace the word id with the name of the connection, which you are naming <WiFiConn>. Thanks! – L. D. James Jun 15 '16 at 22:48
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    To save a connection setup: sudo nmcli dev wifi con "SSID_NAME" password PASSWORD "CONFIG_NAME" To find auto your saved connection setups: nmcli c – Cirelli94 Apr 13 '17 at 13:05

nmtui

Great interactive ncurses network manager option. Comes in the same package as nm-applet (the default top bar icon thing) and nm-cli, and is therefore widely available. Screenshot:

enter image description here

Tested in Ubuntu 17.10.

  • Thanks! For some reason, my Ubuntu refused to connect to Wifi, so I plugged in the Ethernet cable and clicked Activate on Wired Connection and BAM! – asgs Nov 2 '17 at 15:12
  • @Downvoters please explain, I never retaliate ;-) – Ciro Santilli 新疆改造中心 六四事件 法轮功 Nov 13 '17 at 10:24
  • 3
    works on Ubuntu 16.01 as well, cool solution! – Jan Sila Dec 1 '17 at 8:57
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    This is a much more intuitive solution than what is above IMO. Unless you're trying to learn how Linux/Unix connects to WiFi, this seems like the ideal select and press enter solution. Works well on Ubuntu 18 – jamzsabb Jun 18 at 18:56

If your wi-fi access point is saved, it will auto-connect. Turn wireless on or off with a simpler command:

nmcli nm wifi on
nmcli nm wifi off

on newer version:

nmcli radio wifi on
nmcli radio wifi off

For reference, see man nmcli.

  • Yep, this the best (simpler then mine :) ) when working with single WiFi network. – user.dz Apr 13 '15 at 8:27
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    How do you make NM enable wifi automatically during boot? Every time I reboot, Network Manager starts with wifi disabled. – Cerin Jul 25 '15 at 21:46
  • @Cerin, you may try adding this command to startup applications, see askubuntu.com/questions/243139/… – user.dz Jan 11 '16 at 21:47
  • 1
    Note the nm option has been removed or replaced (?) in newer versions of nmcli – dgorissen Mar 18 '16 at 14:30
  • 1
    @dgorissen, yes it seems changed on newer version, replace nm with radio. I've updated this answer. – user.dz Apr 1 '16 at 18:31

protected by Community May 25 '17 at 2:43

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