I'm planning to maybe install Ubuntu server on an old machine. But my question is: can I install Ubuntu server on a machine and have it connect to my home network - wirelessly? I can't use a cable in this case.
You can install a GUI interface to Ubuntu server to get Network Manager or following the wpa_supplicant on this page (https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiDocs/WPAHowTo).
Note: First off you will want to make sure that the server has wpa_supplicant installed. Servers don't always have it and that can make it difficult if you can't connect it to Ethernet at least once.
This is how I do it. (be sure to use your ip numbers and network interface name)
Wont need this part for a server it is just if you wanted to kill off everything that would be interfering on a desktop.
sudo stop network-manager sudo killall wpa_supplicant #must stop network-manager before this as it resurrects it. sudo killall nm-applet
this only needs to be done once unless the file gets trashed. (you can put the config anywhere really)
wpa_passphrase "YOUR_ESSID" | sudo tee /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf #and type your password
-B for background
-s to log to syslog
-c to tell it where the config is.
sudo wpa_supplicant -B -s -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -i wlan0
for DHCP just use
sudo dhclient wlan0
for static ip
sudo ifconfig wlan0 192.168.1.12 #Be sure to set you ip to what works for you.
should be able to ping your router by ip. $ ping 192.168.1.1
sudo route add default gw 192.168.1.1 # use the ip of you router
should be able to ping the net at large. $ ping 220.127.116.11
echo "nameserver 18.104.22.168" | sudo tee /etc/resolv.conf
should be done. $ ping google.com
This will not last through a reboot. To make this persist through a reboot,
sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
Add this to the bottom (substitute for wlan0 if you have a different interface):
auto wlan0 iface wlan0 inet dhcp pre-up wpa_supplicant -B -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf post-down killall -q wpa_supplicant
Note that you might not have the KILLALL component installed if you have a minimal server. You can get killall with:
aptitude install psmisc