I'm trying to get Ubuntu on a new machine. Neither my graphics drivers or my wifi is working. I need to handle the wifi before handling the graphics drivers, so I'm forced to do this from terminal.

I am not having a driver problem with my wifi. I could connect during the initial install, and could connect download things then, but does not connect automatically on real boots. Right now wlan0 is unknown, but I have been able to make progress with the 'logical name' of my card used in place of that. I have been able to scan for my network with sudo iw $logical_name scan | grep [SSID], so I think I'm close.

I've been following "Connect to WPA/WPA2 via terminal" things, and have been shut down in a few different places.

Failer point 1:

Editing /etc/networking/interface to read

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto <logical name spelled out>
iface <logical name spelled out> inet dhcp
wpa-ssid mynetworkname
wpa-psk mypassphrase

and calling sudo ifup <logical name> return "unknown interface ", same with wlan0. I have had another person double check the file for correctness.

Failure Point 2

sudo iwconfig wlan0 wpa-ssid mynetworkname
sudo iwconfig wlan0 wpa-psk mypassphrase
sudo dhclient wlan0

called with wlan0 or logical name gives me ' iwconfig: unknown command "wpa-ssid" '

EDIT 1 @Jeremy31 asked why I wasn't using network manager. Answer: I didn't know about it.

nmcli g

STATE: disconnected
WIFI-HW: enabled
WIFI: enabled
WWAN: enabled    

nmcli d

DEVICE: [logical name]
TYPE: wifi
STATE: disconnected

nmcli device wifi connect [SSID] password [pw]

Error: Connection activation failed: (0) No reason given.

Wifi Card


Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0b05:179d ASUSTek Computer, Inc. USB-N53 802.11abgn Network Adapter [Ralink RT3572]

lshw -class network

description: Wireless interface
physical id: 1
bus info: usb@1:2
logical name: wlxf46d045ddd3a
capabilities: ethernet physical wireless
configuration: broadcast=yes driver=rt2800usb driverversion=4.4.0-51-generic firmware=0.29 link=no multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11abgn
  • Unfortunately, wi-fi on Linux is terribly complicated - unless you have a well known driver package for a well known hardware. Your device seems to be well-known. Now, how have you obtained the driver and firmware? Does it come from the official Ubuntu distribution? Otherwise it is Wild West. – ddbug Dec 1 '16 at 22:42
  • Is this a server and that is why you are not using Network Manager? – Jeremy31 Dec 1 '16 at 22:49
  • ddbug, the drive and firmware are from default desktop 16.04 ISO DLed from canonical. I bought the adapter specifically because amazon reviews say it plays nice with Ubuntu, and by and large it has until now. Even during the install process I could could get online Jeremy31, I'm using the desktop build, but without working graphics drivers I might as well be. I wasn't using network manage, but nmcli gives promising output. Please check question edits – Weavermount Dec 1 '16 at 23:15
  • I've set up wi-fi on my raspberry pi with Ubuntu 15.04 , which uses the /etc/networking/interfaces file, so I can dig it up and compare to yours, see what may be wrong. Also, is connecting via Ethernet an option for you ? – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Dec 1 '16 at 23:30


Thanks to @Jeremy31 I was pointed in the direction of network-manager / nmcli.

nmcli con gave me a list of connections, including the successful one from the install process. nmcli -a con up [SSID] established an fully function connection.

  • Hi @Weavermount, You may mark your own answer as being "correct" if you are happy with it :) – Tshilidzi Mudau Dec 2 '16 at 6:05
  • Still in the two day wait to do that ;-) – Weavermount Dec 2 '16 at 15:59

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