My Ubuntu laptops's WiFi works fine on various Wifi networks. But the list of available networks accessed from the toolbar icon of nm-applet by no longer appears. I just see the known networks. The list of hidden networks also doesn't show any new networks.

sudo iwlist scan likewise only shows known networks.

How do I get list all available networks so I can connect to one?

I am using Xubuntu 14.04

  • 5
    Does terminal command nmcli dev wifi list give anything additional to what's shown by the GUI applet? Dec 30 '14 at 13:38
  • 2
    Also worth noting that sudo iwlist scan shows more available networks than iwlist scan (without sudo) - so this question by itself is helpful. But perhaps it should be renamed to "How can I display the list of hidden WiFi networks"?
    – icc97
    Nov 13 '18 at 10:00

Use nmcli dev wifi command. It shows the transfer rate, the signal strength and the security as well.

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  • 26
    Here is the pertaining mnemonic: network manager command line interface device wifi Apr 17 '18 at 0:59
  • 5
    For me this only found the WiFi network I was connected to rather than all available.
    – icc97
    Nov 13 '18 at 9:53
  • 5
    It requires sudo to display the entire list.
    – icc97
    Nov 13 '18 at 10:01
  • 2
    The BSSID (MAC of remote access point) and other details are not shown by default, but you can show them with the -f option, e.g. nmcli -f SSID,BSSID,DEVICE dev wifi. Use -f ALL to see available fields.
    – bitinerant
    Feb 21 '19 at 8:05
  • 7
    @icc97 - if you only see your current network, run nmcli dev wifi rescan, wait a bit, and then try nmcli dev wifi again.
    – bitinerant
    Feb 21 '19 at 8:09

To scan all networks try using the command sudo iw dev wlan0 scan | grep SSID.

You can find more info here: https://askubuntu.com/a/16588/362944

  • 3
    wlan0 should be replaced with real value from ifconfig of from /sys/class/net subfolder name, as stated in answer from @gujarat santana
    – Joshua Fox
    Nov 11 '18 at 12:27

In Ubuntu 16.04 :

  1. Go to /sys/class/net you can see list of folders here.
  2. find wireless interface. It has wireless folder. for example in my case is wlp10 you can check it using ls wlp10. if the folder's name different use that folder's name.
  3. sudo iwlist wlp1s0 scan | grep ESSID

now from here you can list all available WiFi.
source from here

  • 1
    Note this does not work with broadcom wireless cards. Oct 21 '18 at 13:11
  • @JaredSmith do the other solutions work with broadcom wifi cards? Jan 7 '19 at 12:48
  • 1
    @DanEsparza they should Jan 7 '19 at 13:01

Further to what has been already answered here, I've merged a few of them and added a little flavor of my own.

As for the nmcli answer, sure, do that if you want to install more software. But if you're looking for Access Points, maybe you don't have an internet connection yet and are unable to connect to install said software. With all that said, here's my solution:

for i in $(ls /sys/class/net/ | egrep -v ^lo$); do sudo iw dev $i scan | grep SSID | awk '{print substr($0, index($0,$2)) }'; done 2>/dev/null | sort -u 

Breaking it down:

for i in $(ls /sys/class/net/ | egrep -v ^lo$);

Lets have a look at all the contents of the location /sys/class/net. This will list all the network devices, but we're not really interested in the loopback interface. so we'll ignore that one

do sudo iw dev $i scan | grep SSID | awk '{print substr($0, index($0,$2)) }';done

For each of the network interfaces we found above, lets do the scan to list all the SSIDs (and only the SSIDs)


And ignore all the errors (like searching for SSIDs with ethernet interfaces).

| sort -u

And finally, If you have multiple wi-fi adapters on the system, only list each SSID once.

  • I know I'm late to the party, but if you want to just check for just wireless devices (and leave lo and ethernet devices alone), you can do the following: for i in /sys/class/net/*; do [ -d "$i/wireless" ] && sudo iw dev $(basename $i) scan | grep SSID | awk '{print substr($0, index($0,$2)) }'; done | sort -u Aug 8 '20 at 6:04

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