How do I setup Wifi using the command line?

I need to setup as following, but its failed:


Security: WEP
Network name: wifi59/7
Key/password: xyz

Tried and failed:

sudo iwconfig wlan0 mode managed
sudo iwconfig wlan0 channel 11
sudo iwconfig wlan0 essid wifi59/7
sudo iwconfig wlan0 key xyz
Error for wireless request "Set Encode" (8B2A) :
    SET failed on device wlan0 ; Invalid argument.

The WEP key should be in hex, and either 10 or 26 characters long (5 or 13 ASCII bytes).

If you want to specify it in ASCII, you have to prefix it with s: - I'm not sure if iwconfig will pad out an ASCII password, but try lengths of 5 or 13.

See man iwconfig and scroll down to key/enc[ryption] for some examples.

  • 1
    Nobody can tell me why the s: option just never works. There's something wrong with the syntax, stack overflow has 3 open questions about this now, and none of them have been answered. – Owl Jan 10 '20 at 10:52

I think it is easier and more reliable to use networkmanager's default command line utiliy called nm-cli. Please have a look at nm-cli to familiarize yourself with nm-cli syntax.


This is my solution:

$sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces

#The primary network interface
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static
# wireless-* options are implemented by the wireless-tools package
wireless-mode managed
wireless-essid YOUR_SSID
wireless-key1 s:YOUR_PASS

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