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Thread: How To: Manual Network Configuration without the need for Network Manager

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Denver, CO
    Ubuntu Mate 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    How To: Manual Network Configuration without the need for Network Manager

    In setting up their wireless connection for the first time, Im discovering many individuals having problems connecting through Network Manager or other GUI wireless connection tools. In fact my Network Manager is intermittently buggy, connecting sometimes and not others. This guide benefits all users in case the GUI tools are not working, and is useful for testing a wireless connection during initial installation of wireless drivers since it provides for good debugging output.

    Unencrypted/ WEP / WPA connections will be covered in this guide.
    This guide is for anyone attempting to establish a network connection manually at the command line.

    1. Properly installed network driver -- This guide can be used to troubleshoot driver installation to see if it is properly functioning
    2. The ESSID of your router must be broadcasted and not hidden
    3. Knowlege of your wireless cards driver (please see Prerequisite #4 to determine driver). Those using the r8187/r818x driver please see the end of the guide
    4. Knowledge of your wireless card's Interface Name - The user must know the proper interface of the wireless connection (wlan0, eth1, rausb1, etc). To discover this information, at command line type:

    lshw -C network
    There may be multiple interfaces listed, however look under the section appropriate to your wireless device for the line labeled logical name. Here is an example:

           description: Wireless interface
           product: BCM4306 802.11b/g Wireless LAN Controller
           vendor: Broadcom Corporation
           physical id: 0
           bus info: pci@06:00.0
           logical name: wlan0
           version: 03
           serial: 00:12:17:35:17:10
           width: 32 bits
           clock: 33MHz
           capabilities: bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
           configuration: broadcast=yes driver=ndiswrapper+lsbcmnds driverversion=1.48rc1+Cisco-Linksys ,LLC.,02/1 ip= latency=64 multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11g
           resources: iomemory:3c000000-3c001fff irq:11
    In the example above the interface name is wlan0. I will refer to the interface name throughout the rest of this guide as <interface>.

    For people first setting up their connection, please note that the above also lists the driver used for the network card. In the example above, the driver used is ndiswrapper. If your network device comes back UNCLAIMED or there is no driver listed, then you have not correctly installed the driver for your device. You must review the procedures for installation of your wireless driver.

    For those wanting to use static IP addresses, please see section at bottom of guide regarding configuration for static IP addresses

    __________________________________________________ __________________________
    Unencrypted Connection

    All commands typed at the command line:
    sudo ifconfig <interface> down
    sudo dhclient -r <interface>
    sudo ifconfig <interface> up
    sudo iwconfig <interface> essid "ESSID_IN_QUOTES"
    sudo iwconfig <interface> mode Managed
    sudo dhclient <interface>
    __________________________________________________ __________________________
    WEP Connection

    You must have either your 64bit or 128 bit HEX Key or the ASCII Equivalent of your HEX Key.

    sudo ifconfig <interface> down
    sudo dhclient -r <interface>
    sudo ifconfig <interface> up
    sudo iwconfig <interface> essid "ESSID_IN_QUOTES"
    sudo iwconfig <interface> key HEX_KEY <<<-------- If using ASCII Equivalent, this is s:ASCII_KEY (please make note of the prefix s:)
    ****Additional Comand that may be needed  -- sudo iwconfig <interface> key open  <<<----See note below
    sudo iwconfig <interface> mode Managed
    sudo dhclient <interface>
    ***The security mode may be open or restricted, and its meaning depends on the card used. With most cards, in open mode no authentication is used and the card may also accept non-encrypted sessions, whereas in restricted mode only encrypted sessions are accepted and the card will use authentication if available.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________
    WPA Connection - WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK

    For uses of Ra-based chipsets: rt61, rt73, rt2500 please skip directly to the WPA Section entitled WPA with Ra based chipsets

    Requirements: In most cases the wpa_supplicant package is required in order to connect via WPA. If you have a working ethernet or unencrypted/WEP wireless connection, this package may be installed via:
    sudo aptitude install wpasupplicant
    If only wireless is available, I would recommend that an unencrypted connection first by established and tested first before directly proceeding to make a WPA connection. WPA adds another layer of complexity.

    1. Creation of /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf file

    At command line:
    gksu gedit /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
    Inside the file add the following for WPA(1):

            psk="ASCII PSK Password in Quotes"
    For WPA(2) (see this thread:
            psk="ASCII PSK Password in Quotes"
    ***Word of caution -- In some cases I have found WPA(2) to have different settings than the above. Some Broadcom cards use the pairwise/group TKIP cipher for WPA2 rather than CCMP. I would suggest all initially use WPA(1) and then later convert to WPA2 since some variations to the above may be needed

    2. Connect via command line
    sudo ifconfig <interface> down
    sudo dhclient -r <interface>
    sudo wpa_supplicant -w -D<****see footer below***> -i<interface> -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -dd 
    sudo ifconfig <interface> up
    sudo iwconfig <interface> mode Managed
    sudo dhclient <interface>
    The value listed here is dependent on the driver you have installed. Typing man wpa_supplicant at command line will give you the full gamut of choices however a quick reference
    ndiswrapper=wext (use wext and not ndiswrapper despite what documentation might suggest)
    ath_pci = madwifi

    WPA with Ra Based Chipsets

    Ra cards do not require the wpa_supplicant package to use WPA. Here is how to connect from the command line with these cards:

    sudo ifconfig <interface> down
    sudo dhclient -r <interface>
    sudo ifconfig <interface> up
    sudo iwconfig <inteface> essid "ESSID_IN_QUOTES"
    sudo iwpriv <interface> set AuthMode=WPAPSK
    sudo iwpriv <interface> set EncrypType=TKIP
    sudo iwpriv <interface> set WPAPSK="YOUR_WPA_PSK_KEY"
    sudo dhclient <interface>
    For WPA(2), I have no working configuration yet. If someone would like to help me refine these instructions for WPA2 with Ra-based chipsets, I would appreciate your help!

    __________________________________________________ __________________________
    A successful connection in all cases will results in this:
    user@computer:~$ sudo dhclient wlan0
    There is already a pid file /var/run/ with pid 134993416
    Internet Systems Consortium DHCP Client V3.0.4
    Copyright 2004-2006 Internet Systems Consortium.
    All rights reserved.
    For info, please visit
    Listening on LPF/wlan0/00:12:17:35:17:10
    Sending on   LPF/wlan0/00:12:17:35:17:10
    Sending on   Socket/fallback
    DHCPDISCOVER on wlan0 to port 67 interval 4
    DHCPDISCOVER on wlan0 to port 67 interval 7
    DHCPDISCOVER on wlan0 to port 67 interval 7
    DHCPOFFER from
    DHCPREQUEST on wlan0 to port 67
    DHCPACK from
    bound to -- renewal in 299133 seconds.
    The computer in this example has received an IP address of

    __________________________________________________ __________________________
    Users of RTL 8180, RTL8185, RTL 8187 using the built in native r8187 / r818x drivers

    By default the r8187 and r818x drivers are blacklisted due to a know bug. These drivers are usuable however with a twist to the above methods

    If you want to try using these drivers, please load the kernel modules:
    sudo modprobe r818x
    sudo modprobe r8187
    These drivers require a bogus or extra letter be suffixed to the essid name in order for these drivers to work
    For example if your are trying to connect to a router with essid=Router, at he command line you would type essid=Routerx. Notice the extra x or bogus character. I have provided an example using the unencrypted connection procedure below, however this extra character needs to be used if attempting to connect to all network types (unencrypted/ WEP / WPA)

    sudo ifconfig <interface> down
    sudo dhclient -r <interface>
    sudo ifconfig <interface> up
    sudo iwconfig <interface> essid "Routerx"
    sudo iwconfig <interface> mode Managed
    sudo dhclient <interface>
    If these drivers work for you, and you would like these drivers to load automatically at startup for you, avoiding to have to type sudo modprobe everytime, please edit your blacklist file:

    gksu gedit /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist
    And comment out (or prefix the following lines with a # sign). You want the following lines to appear as below:
    #blacklist r8187
    #blacklist r818x

    __________________________________________________ __________________________
    Static IP Addresses

    Im going to give an example of how to configure your interface using a static IP address using an unencrypted wireless connection. The two lines highlighted below however can be used with WEP and WPA connections. Values in italics must be customized to meet your particular situation

    sudo ifconfig <interface> down
    sudo dhclient -r <interface>
    sudo ifconfig <interface> netmask up
    sudo route add default gw
    sudo iwconfig <interface> essid "ESSID_IN_QUOTES"
    sudo iwconfig <interface> mode Managed
    sudo dhclient <interface>
    If when using static IP addresses you are getting a problem with name resolution, you will have to specifiy specific dns (domain name servers) in order to translate URLs to IP addresses. Unfortunately there is not an easy way to configure this from the command line. This requires that you edit the /etc/resolv.conf file and manually enter the domain name server(s) you want to use. In many cases users can specifiy their router, their internet service providers dns servers, or use opendns (or use all three). Please note that changes made to the /etc/resolv.conf file will not be retained between reboots. To make the nameservers permanent, the /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf file needs to be edited as instructed here:

    sudo gedit /etc/resolv.conf
    and add the nameservers you want to use, one to a line, in the following format.
    nameserver <nameserver>
    You can add as many as you want but most isps normally provide two (primary and secondary).

    __________________________________________________ __________________________
    Setting the Wireless Interface to Connect at Boot ***Courtesy of Maricaibo

    If you are successful in bringing up the Interface Manually, the commands may be placed inside the /etc/rc.local file to run the commands at boot, and establish a wireless connection. There is no GUI to give visual confirmation of the connection. The user should type ifconfig at the command line to verify an IP address has indeed been granted by the router.

    The process of adding the commands to the /etc/rc.local file is documented below (this connects to an unencrypted network -- to connect to a WEP or WPA encrypted network, some modifications as used above will need to be added):

    gksu gedit /etc/rc.local
    This opens up the file in the gedit utility and allows you to make changes and save the file

    ifconfig <wired network connection interface> down
    ifconfig <wireless network connection interface> down
    dhclient -r <wireless_interface>
    iwconfig <wireless_interface> essid <router name>
    iwconfig <wireless_interface> mode Managed
    ifconfig <wireless_interface> up
    dhclient <wireless_interface>
    Be sure this text goes into the /etc/rc.local file BEFORE the line reading "exit 0".

    Save and close the /etc/rc.local file.

    Open up a Terminal window (the shell) and type in:

    sudo chmod +x /etc/rc.local
    This command turns the rc.local file into an executable that will run at startup. Here's an example of what the /etc/rc.local file should contain. Your device names may be different:

    # rc.local
    # This script is executed at the end of each multiuser runlevel.
    # Make sure that the script will "exit 0" on success or any other
    # value on error.
    # In order to enable or disable this script just change the execution
    # bits.
    # By default this script does nothing.
    ifconfig eth0 down
    ifconfig wlan0 down
    dhclient -r wlan0
    iwconfig wlan0 essid "ESSID_IN_QUOTES"
    iwconfig wlan0 mode Managed
    ifconfig wlan0 up
    dhclient wlan0
    exit 0
    NOTE: The first line in the rc.local file downs your wired connection, so if for some reason you need the wired connection back just open up a Terminal window (shell) and type:

    sudo <wired_interface> up
    sudo dhclient <wired_interface>
    __________________________________________________ __________________________
    Useful Commands

    ifconfig - lists IP address (similar to ipconfig in Windows)
    iwlist scan - shows wireless networks that are available in the area along with basic encryption information
    lshw -C network - Shows interface and driver associated with each networking device
    lspci -nn - Shows hardware connected to the pci bus
    lsusb - Shows USB connected hardware
    lshw -C usb - Additional info on USB related hardware (good for USB dongles)
    cat /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist - List modules that will not be loaded by the Operating System at boot time
    lsmod - lists currently loaded kernel modules. (Example usage - lsmod | grep ndiswrapper)
    route -n - Lists kernel IP routing table -- Good for troubleshooting problems with the gateway (netstat -rn = equivalent command)
    sudo route add default gw - Example of how to set the default gateway to
    sudo route del default gw - Example of how to delete the default gateway setting
    sudo modprobe ***** - Loads the kernel module **** . (Example usage - sudo modprobe ndiswrapper, sudo modprobe r818x, sudo modprobe ath_pci)
    sudo modprobe -r **** - Unloades the kernel module ****. (Example usage - sudo modprobe -r ndiswrapper)
    sudo ifup/ifdown <interface> - Brings up/down the interface and clears the routing table for the specified interface
    sudo ifconfig <interface> up/down - Brings up/down the interface for the specified interface
    sudo dhclient <interface> - Request IP address from DNS server for specified interface
    sudo dhclient -r <interface> - Release IP address associated with specified interface
    sudo iptables -L - Lists firewall rules
    dmesg | more - Lists boot log -- good for troubleshooting problems with modules/drivers not being loaded
    uname -r - Displays kernel version
    /etc/iftab (Feisty and pre-releases (Edgy, etc)) - /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules (Gutsy) - File which assigns logical names (eth0, wlan0, etc) to MAC addresses
    cat /etc/resolv.conf - Lists DNS servers associated with network connections (Network Manager)
    /etc/dhcp3/dhclient.conf - File which sets or modifies dns (domain name servers) settings

    Further references:
    Official Broadcom site for bcm43xx firmware -
    Broadcom 64bit Drivers for Use with Ndiswrapper -
    Ra chipsets - Serial Monkey Drivers - rt2500, rt73, rt61, rt2570 drivers - - Author diepruis
    Rutilt - A Network Manager Like GUI for Ra Chipsets - - Author sulilogs
    Ndiswrapper installation for Broadcom chipsets - - Author Jamie Jackson
    Ndiswrapper General Installation Guide - SVN, Troubleshooting Tips (My Personal Guide) - - Author KevDog
    Madwifi website for certain Atheros Chipsets - -- If your Atheros chipset is listed on this website - it should work out of the box with installation of the linux restricted drivers package for your kernel version
    Does your madwifi connection keep dropping??? Possible solution -- = Author robnz/tranalbert
    Realtek win98 driver - - For use with ndiswrapper if native r818x, r8187 driver is buggy
    Realtek win98 driver installation - - Author Panurge
    Realtek - Installation with Native Driver -
    DNS related problems?? - Configuration for OpenDNS servers - - Author noob12
    Turn off/Disable IPv6 - - Author handy
    General Linux Page Discussing Network Setups - Default Gateways -
    Log Files -- Your Friend to Debug almost anything on your System -

    Other things Linux
    Control Programs Kept in Swap vs Memory -
    Realtek 8187B Native Patch for Realtek 818x USB Devices -- Relevant only to USB wireless devices - - Author Cuervo
    If your Wireless Freezes after Suspend/Resume - Check here - - Author Harty83

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Kubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark

    Re: How To: Manual Network Configuration without the need for Network Manager

    Please do not post here. For support questions, please see this thread:

    And please don't thank me but Kevdog for this useful post!
    Last edited by wieman01; February 1st, 2008 at 04:25 PM.


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