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2.2.6. Configuring a Wi-Fi Connection

This section explains how to use NetworkManager to configure a Wi-Fi (also known as wireless or 802.11a/b/g/n) connection to an Access Point.
To configure a mobile broadband (such as 3G) connection, see Section 2.2.8, “Establishing a Mobile Broadband Connection”.

Quickly Connecting to an Available Access Point

The easiest way to connect to an available access point is to click on the network connection icon to activate the network connection, locate the Service Set Identifier (SSID) of the access point in the list of Wi-Fi networks, and click on it. A padlock symbol indicates the access point requires authentication. If the access point is secured, a dialog prompts you for an authentication key or password.
NetworkManager tries to auto-detect the type of security used by the access point. If there are multiple possibilities, NetworkManager guesses the security type and presents it in the Wi-Fi security drop-down menu. For WPA-PSK security (WPA with a passphrase) no choice is necessary. For WPA Enterprise (802.1X) you have to specifically select the security, because that cannot be auto-detected. If you are unsure, try connecting to each type in turn. Finally, enter the key or passphrase in the Password field. Certain password types, such as a 40-bit WEP or 128-bit WPA key, are invalid unless they are of a requisite length. The Connect button will remain inactive until you enter a key of the length required for the selected security type. To learn more about wireless security, see Section 2.2.10.2, “Configuring Wi-Fi Security”.
If NetworkManager connects to the access point successfully, the network connection icon will change into a graphical indicator of the wireless connection's signal strength.
You can also edit the settings for one of these auto-created access point connections just as if you had added it yourself. The Wi-Fi page of the Network window has a History button. Clicking it reveals a list of all the connections you have ever tried to connect to. See Section 2.2.6.2, “Editing a Connection, or Creating a Completely New One”

2.2.6.1. Connecting to a Hidden Wi-Fi Network

All access points have a Service Set Identifier (SSID) to identify them. However, an access point may be configured not to broadcast its SSID, in which case it is hidden, and will not show up in NetworkManager's list of Available networks. You can still connect to a wireless access point that is hiding its SSID as long as you know its SSID, authentication method, and secrets.
To connect to a hidden wireless network, press the Super key to enter the Activities Overview, type control network and then press Enter. The Network window appears. Select Wi-Fi from the menu and then select Connect to Hidden Network to cause a dialog to appear. If you have connected to the hidden network before, use the Connection drop-down to select it, and click Connect. If you have not, leave the Connection drop-down as New, enter the SSID of the hidden network, select its Wi-Fi security method, enter the correct authentication secrets, and click Connect.
For more information on wireless security settings, see Section 2.2.10.2, “Configuring Wi-Fi Security”.

2.2.6.2. Editing a Connection, or Creating a Completely New One

You can edit an existing connection that you have tried or succeeded in connecting to in the past by opening the Wi-Fi page of the Network dialog and selecting the gear wheel icon to the right of the Wi-Fi connection name. If the network is not currently in range, click History to display past connections. When you click the gear wheel icon the editing connection dialog appears. The Details window shows the connection details.
To configure a new connection whose SSID is in range, first attempt to connect to it by opening the Network window, selecting the Wi-Fi menu entry, and clicking the connection name (by default, the same as the SSID). If the SSID is not in range, see Section 2.2.6.1, “Connecting to a Hidden Wi-Fi Network”. If the SSID is in range, the procedure is as follows:
  1. Press the Super key to enter the Activities Overview, type control network and then press Enter. The Network settings tool appears.
  2. Select the Wi-Fi interface from the left-hand-side menu entry.
  3. Click the Wi-Fi connection profile on the right-hand side menu you want to connect to. A padlock symbol indicates a key or password is required.
  4. If requested, enter the authentication details.
Configuring the SSID, Auto-Connect Behavior, and Availability Settings
To edit a Wi-Fi connection's settings, select Wi-Fi in the Network page and then select the gear wheel icon to the right of the Wi-Fi connection name. Select Identity. The following settings are available:
SSID
The Service Set Identifier (SSID) of the access point (AP).
BSSID
The Basic Service Set Identifier (BSSID) is the MAC address, also known as a hardware address, of the specific wireless access point you are connecting to when in Infrastructure mode. This field is blank by default, and you are able to connect to a wireless access point by SSID without having to specify its BSSID. If the BSSID is specified, it will force the system to associate to a specific access point only.
For ad-hoc networks, the BSSID is generated randomly by the mac80211 subsystem when the ad-hoc network is created. It is not displayed by NetworkManager
MAC address
Select the MAC address, also known as a hardware address, of the Wi-Fi interface to use.
A single system could have one or more wireless network adapters connected to it. The MAC address field therefore allows you to associate a specific wireless adapter with a specific connection (or connections).
Cloned Address
A cloned MAC address to use in place of the real hardware address. Leave blank unless required.
The following settings are common to all connection profiles:
Saving Your New (or Modified) Connection and Making Further Configurations
Once you have finished editing the wireless connection, click the Apply button to save your configuration. Given a correct configuration, you can connect to your modified connection by selecting it from the GNOME Shell notification area menu in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Click in the top right-hand side corner to open the menu. Select Wi-Fi. See Section 2.2.1, “Connecting to a Network Using a GUI” for details on selecting and connecting to a network.
You can further configure an existing connection by selecting it in the Network window and clicking the gear wheel icon to reveal the connection details.
Then, to configure: