Let’s learn to connect to WiFi through the terminal (command line method). While working with Linux, sometimes it may happen that we don’t have access to a Graphical User Interface for example during Vanilla Arch Installation. Under such circumstances, we may need to connect to Wifi through the terminal.
Steps to connect to WiFi through the terminal
In this module, we are going to learn how we can connect to a Wifi network using the command line interface.
Step 1: Identify Your Available Network Devices
First, we need to identify our network devices which we are going to use to connect to our wifi network. We can list our interfaces with the ip command:
$ ip a
Looking at the output of the latter, we should find a similar section in it’s output :
wlan0 IEEE 802.11 ESSID:off/any Mode:Managed Access Point: Not-Associated Tx-Power=20 dBm Retry short limit:7 RTS thr:off Fragment thr:off Power Management:off
Here our interface is called wlan0 but it may be different for yours. Now we examine the output of the former which give us the following output for wlan0 :
wlan0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST> mtu 1500 qdisc noqueue state DOWN group default qlen 1000 link/ether 2c:6e:85:fe:04:a7 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
The most important thing to notice here is that wlan0 is marked DOWN which we need to turn UP with the ifconfig command:
$ sudo ifconfig wlan0 up
Alternatively, you can check the WiFi radio status with nmcli via:
$ nmcli radio wifi enabled
If it is not enabled, you can do it with:
$ nmcli radio wifi on
Finally you can check the status of your network interface cards with:
$ nmcli dev status DEVICE TYPE STATE CONNECTION wlan0 wifi disconnected
Note: If your wifi card is hard blocked on your Laptop/Computer, you need to execute the following and repeat the above steps.
$ echo "blacklist hp_wmi" | sudo tee /etc/modprobe.d/hp.conf $ sudo rfkill unblock all
Step 2: Scan For Available Wifi Netoworks
Now that we have our wifi card up and ready, we need to scan for available wifi networks with which we can connect to using :
$ nmcli dev wifi list
$ sudo iw wlan0 scan | grep SSID
This should list out the names of all the available wifi networks around you. Considering the former, we should get an output like :
IN-USE BSSID SSID MODE CHAN RATE SIGNAL BARS SECURITY 60:63:4C:5D:F6:69 home-network Infra 1 270 Mbit/s 100 ▂▄▆█ WPA1 WPA2
Thus as we see we have the SSID of the wifi network we want to connect to.
Step 3: Connect To The Wifi Network
Now that we have the SSID of our we can simply connect to it with the following command:
$ sudo nmcli --ask dev wifi connect <SSID> Password: Device 'wlan0' successfully activated with 'f747251b-1346-48a2-ae25-1b6fd6243984'.
After this our device should be connected to the wifi network.
You can check if you are connected by pinging the default gateway or if you want to check for internet connection, you can just type :
$ ping 126.96.36.199 PING 188.8.131.52 (184.108.40.206) 56(84) bytes of data. 64 bytes from 220.127.116.11: icmp_seq=1 ttl=114 time=50.4 ms 64 bytes from 18.104.22.168: icmp_seq=2 ttl=114 time=46.4 ms 64 bytes from 22.214.171.124: icmp_seq=3 ttl=114 time=45.2 ms 64 bytes from 126.96.36.199: icmp_seq=4 ttl=114 time=42.2 ms 64 bytes from 188.8.131.52: icmp_seq=5 ttl=114 time=44.5 ms 64 bytes from 184.108.40.206: icmp_seq=6 ttl=114 time=48.8 ms --- 220.127.116.11 ping statistics --- 6 packets transmitted, 6 received, 0% packet loss, time 5008ms rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 42.175/46.245/50.375/2.723 ms
Since we can ping Google’s DNS servers, we can say that we now have an internet connection !
Hence we successfully connected to a wifi network from out CLI. Here we explicitly chose the nmcli command to do most of the work for us because it is available on a wide array of systems including live Arch Linux ISOs as well as is very easy to use and makes troubleshooting easy !