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Setting up wireless on Slackware

Setting up wireless on a public unrestricted hotspot has always been mystery to me. I didn’t really need it often, and when I did I did not have Internet access to google a way to do it. Well, today I was with a friend so I used his laptop to find out how to set it up.

It’s really simple once you do it. What’s important:

  1. start up wireless card
  2. scan for networks
  3. pick a network and connect to it

Starting up a wireless card might require that you load a kernel module manually. Some modules have option to turn on the LED indicator:

# /sbin/modprobe iwl3945

Once you start it up, open the Wireless section in KDE Control Center, and click “Activate” button.

Now, run /sbin/ifconfig to see all the interfaces. You should see something like wlan0. Then, use this interface name to scan the area for networks:

iwlist wlan0 scan

As a result, you’ll get each wireless network and it’s ESSID. Let’s assume ESSID is MyHotSpot and connect to it:

iwconfig wlan0 essid MyHotSpot

In case you need to supply username and password, look into wpa_supplicant and it’s config file (I haven’t tried this). And start wpa_supplicant:

wpa_supplicant -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf &

Once you’re done, use dhcpcd to get an IP address, default route, and DNS server information:

dhcpcd wlan0

…and that’s it.

Update: there is a very nice and simple to use tool that automates all this and wraps it into a GUI. It’s called wicd, and you can find it in /extra in the newest Slackware, or fetch it from the project page and compile it yourself (no special dependencies needed):


Milan Babuškov, 2009-06-25
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