Confession of a Windows developer

… I’ve been a Debian fan for a while and after managing different machines as well as the server on which this blog runs, it’s only natural that I installed Debian on my primary machine now as secondary operating system. Why secondary? Well, it would be foolish to develop Windows software on Linux, wouldn’t it?

Anyway, the reason I write this here is another one, I want to provide the solution to the problem of using the WLAN card built into my machine. It was a problem at first, especially since the recipies vary, but now that I got the bigger picture, I wanted to share my findings.

There are many ways to configure /etc/network/interfaces including hook-scripts in the interface configuration. Another way is to use the wireless-* configuration options, which rely on the wireless-tools package. Another method is to call wpa_supplicant (package wpasupplicant) from the interface configuration and refer to /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf. However, what’s strange, this configuration file doesn’t exist by default after installation of the respective package. This was one of the reasons I digged further and found out that there is a second set of options, wpa-*, that use wpa_supplicant indirectly through hook-scripts, just as wireless-tools does for the wireless-* options. Have a look in /usr/share/doc under the name of the package, there are plenty of examples for both of them. I went for the version without an /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf and with wpa-* options instead. Here’s what it looks like:

auto ethX
iface ethX inet dhcp
	wpa-driver wext
	wpa-ssid "Name of the network (E)SSID"
	wpa-proto WPA
	wpa-pairwise TKIP
	wpa-group TKIP
	wpa-key-mgmt WPA-PSK
	wpa-psk "... the passphrase ..."

There are a few things you have to note about this.

  1. Unlike in /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf the options do not take an = before the value. This is something I got bitten by.
  2. The SSID was not allowed to be in double-quotes on earlier versions of the scripts Debian supplies with wpa_supplicant. The version I use allows it, though.
  3. The pre-shared key can be either created from the pass-phrase by invoking wpa_passphrase or can be given in the form of the passphrase itself (inside double-quotes then).
  4. wpa-driver can vary, have a look into the man page of wpa_supplicant and wpa_supplicant.conf!

Well, that’s it basically. Although this covers only the simplest WPA and not the WPA2, WEP or other configurations, I hope you spare some time by reading this and not getting bitten by the same problems I was 😉 :mrgreen:

// Oliver

This entry was posted in /dev/null, EN, Software. Bookmark the permalink.