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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 802.1a/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 icon to activate the Notification Area applet, 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 dropdown menu. To see if there are multiple choices, click the Wi-Fi security dropdown menu and select the type of security the access point is using. 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 Notification Area applet 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 this reveals a list of all the connections you have ever tried to connect to. See the section called “Editing a Connection, or Creating a Completely New One”

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 dropdown to select it, and click Connect. If you have not, leave the Connection dropdown 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”.

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 gearwheel 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 the section called “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 menu entry.
  3. Click the Wi-Fi network 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 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
Like an Ethernet Network Interface Card (NIC), a wireless adapter has a unique MAC address (Media Access Control; also known as a hardware address) that identifies it to the system. Running the ip addr command will show the MAC address associated with each interface. For example, in the following ip addr output, the MAC address for the wlan0 interface (which is 00:1c:bf:02:f8:70) immediately follows the link/ether keyword:
~]# ip addr
1: lo: <LOOPBACK,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 16436 qdisc noqueue state UNKNOWN
    link/loopback 00:00:00:00:00:00 brd 00:00:00:00:00:00
    inet 127.0.0.1/8 scope host lo
    inet6 ::1/128 scope host
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
2: eth0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc pfifo_fast state UNKNOWN qlen 1000
    link/ether 52:54:00:26:9e:f1 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet 192.168.122.251/24 brd 192.168.122.255 scope global eth0
    inet6 fe80::5054:ff:fe26:9ef1/64 scope link
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
3: wlan0: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST,UP,LOWER_UP> mtu 1500 qdisc mq state UP qlen 1000
    link/ether 00:1c:bf:02:f8:70 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff
    inet 10.200.130.67/24 brd 10.200.130.255 scope global wlan0
    inet6 fe80::21c:bfff:fe02:f870/64 scope link
       valid_lft forever preferred_lft forever
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). As mentioned, you can determine the MAC address using the ip addr command, and then copy and paste that value into the MAC address text-entry field.
Cloned Address
A cloned MAC address to use in place of the real hardware address.
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 and NetworkManager will immediately save your customized configuration. Given a correct configuration, you can successfully connect to your the modified connection by selecting it from the Notification Area applet. 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: