Wireless FAQ for Linux

What wireless utilities do I need installed to configure my wireless card?
The wireless card configuration utilities must be installed or you will not be able to configure the cards correctly. The Red Hat package for these utilities is called wireless-tools.

How can I tell if my wireless card was properly detected?
To see if your wireless card was properly detected. Install the card and then type the following command from a command prompt:


Output like the following will be displayed about the wireless card if linux was able to detect it and load the correct driver for it.

    eth1: Station identity 001f:0000:0000:0008
    eth1: Looks like an Intersil firmware version 0.8.0
    eth1: Ad-hoc demo mode supported
    eth1: IEEE standard IBSS ad-hoc mode supported
    eth1: WEP supported, 104-bit key
    eth1: MAC addresss ff:1e:3f:ff:ff:ff
    eth1: Station name "Prism I"
    eth1: ready

How do I setup a new unencrypted wireless connection?

1. Open up the graphical network configuration utility.


2. Click the new button and a dialog will appear.

3.  Select the Wireless connection and click the forward button. The setup tool will now display a list of wireless network cards that  can be used. Select the one that you want to use and then click the forward button.

4.  For the mode setting select Managed. Set the SSID to Specified and then enter NMT-UNENCRYPTED-WEB-LOGIN. Once that is done click the forward button again.

5.  On this screen make sure that it is set to obtain an IP address with DHCP and that the check box to Automatically obtain DNS information is checked as well. After that is done press the forward button again.

6.  It will now display a summary of the information about wireless setup entered and you should double check that it is all correct. If all the information is correct press the apply button.

7.  The new wireless connection will now be shown in the list of connections.

8.  Go to the file menu and select save. Once the information has been saved select the wireless connection from the list and click the activate button. From a command prompt type the command:  ifconfig

The command will display information about the network connections attached the computer and if the wireless network is connected and working you should see an IP address listed for the wireless card which should be similar to what is listed below:

    eth1 Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr ff:1e:3f:ff:ff:ff
    inet addr: Bcast: Mask:

How do I connect to the unencrypted wireless network?

Now that you have determined that the wireless system is connected and ready open a web browser. If a login page isn't displayed try to open an internet page. The login page should look like:

With the login page displayed enter your Banner ID and password and the system will authenticate you and grant you access to the network.

When you want to disconnect from the wireless network, bring up the graphic network configuration utility and select the wireless network interface and then click the deactivate button.

To connect to the wireless network again just bring up the graphic network configuration utility and select the wireless network interface and then click on the activate button.

How do I setup a new encrypted wireless connection?

Note: Wpa-supplicant and Wireless-tools packages are required to configure an encrypted wireless connection. You will also need root privaleges to edit the config files.

Using a text editor (gedit, nano, emacs, vim) add the following to /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf, replacing MYSTUDENTID and MYSTUDENTPASSWORD with the correct information.

    #WPA2-EAP NMT Encrypted



    #NMT Unencrypted



Using a text editor (gedit, nano, emacs, vim) add the following to /etc/network/interfaces under your working wireless interface.

    wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
    wpa-ap-scan 1

The /etc/network/interfaces file should look like:

 To test the configuration changes made to wpa-supplicant, type the following commands from a command prompt:


The iwconfig command should return output similar to the following:

Now open a web browser and try going to a webpage. If you get a page, then everything is configured properly and your wireless card associated with the AP correctly.