Enable WPA Wireless access point in Ubuntu

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I have a Thoshiba laptop at home, I was running “Edgy Eft” (Ubuntu Linux 6.10) But one of the important things about it was its inability to connect to WPA-encrypted Wifi access points.In my home i have a WPA Enabled Wireless router so i need to connect to my wireless network using WPA.I am giving the procedure that worked for me to enable wpa in my toshiba laptop.

Procedure to enable WPA Wireless in Ubuntu

To update the source list run the following command

sudo apt-get

sudo apt-get install wpasupplicant

sudo apt-get install network-manager-gnome network-manager

sudo gedit /etc/network/interfaces

Comment out everything other than “lo” entries in that file and save the file

Create a file called /etc/default/wpasupplicant, add entry ENABLED=0 and save the file

sudo touch /etc/default/wpasupplicant

Reboot your system or use the following command

sudo /etc/init.d/dbus restart

Once you login back in to your machine you need to left-click the network manager icon in Gnome and select your wireless network It should prompts for password, type, etc and It will ask you to choose a password for your new “keyring”.

After enterring all the details my wireless network was connected and working fine you can see in the follwoing screen

My wireless network also detected available wireless access point around my home you can see this in the following screen

If you want to connect an existing wireless point you can see the following popup box asking for details of wireless network

If you want to create a new wireless network you can see the following screen with the available options and after entering all the details you need to click on connect

Possible Error and Solution

If you see the following error

The NetworkManager applet could not find some required resources. It cannot continue.


sudo gtk-update-icon-cache -f /usr/share/icons/hicolor/

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40 Responses

  1. Johan Tegin says:

    Lucky you…
    Wish i had found this link prior to spending way too much time during the weekend. But to my defence, i have to mention i had to upgrade my driver first 🙂 It is possible even without Gnome…

    Goodspeed to all of you!

  2. Nab says:


    I’m newbie in Linux, I understand almost everything in your tutorial but i m afraid to miss something when you say:

    Comment out everything other than “lo” entries in that file and save the file

    Does it mean erase everything ?

    Thanks for help

  3. admin says:

    yes that is correct

  4. tom says:

    i did that – all ok – but wpa option

  5. tom says:

    sory – no wpa option in the network dialogue

  6. Jay says:

    Good stuff. It worked first time for me. However it appears that you have to broadcast the SSID for this to work or am I missing something?

  7. Jay says:

    Resolved my problem. You need to add wireless mode managed in the etc/network/interfaces file to allow for a disabled SSID.

  8. Joe says:

    I am trying to create a file called /etc/default/wpasupplicant, but I keep getting this error -The item could not be renamed.The name “/etc/default/wpasupplicant” is not valid because it contains the character “/”. Please use a different name.- How can I create this file with this name.

  9. Justin says:

    When I try to create a “wpasupplicant” file in my default folder, it says i don’t have permission. “Permission Denied”

    can someone help me?

  10. aurora7795 says:

    I think the reason you are having problems is that you are probably trying to perform all the actions above as a standard user – you need to log in as ‘root’ to perform these tasks. Check the net for more info on allowing access to the root account in ubuntu.

    I have worked my way through all the steps and it has worked…however, I don’t seem to have WPA personal in the list of available encryption methods…

    dang, must be my wireless dongle

  11. Sara says:

    i’m brand-new at this. . . and surprise, surprise, i’m stuck.
    everything worked fine until sudo touch /etc/default/wpasupplicant
    my computer didn’t respond to that, so i just restarted anyway. the network manager icon was on the taskbar, but when i left-click on it there is only the option for the “wired network”
    please help! thanks!

  12. pazi says:

    that’s great, but hard to do it is coming default on opensuse ..)

  13. matt says:

    This worked on my Dell D600. Thanks!

  14. Hadron says:

    for those getting permission errors – read the instructions.

    You must precede the “touch” and “gedit” commands with “sudo” which will then temporarily make you root thus giving you permissions enough.

  15. Bogiex64 says:

    Finally a WPA how-to that works I’ve tried like 6 or 7, on my bcm43xx(bcm4318 to be exact)

  16. Aladdin says:

    These instructions do work if SSID is broadcasted. At least in Feisty. But what to do when SSID is not broadcasted? My feisty refuses to connect then to wireless network:(

  17. Michael says:

    Thanks admin–you are a legend. I wish I had found these instructions sooner, having wasted ages trying to get wireless working using /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf. For the record, my system is a HP Pavilion Notebook: dv1310us, with an Intel chipset. I installed native Linux driver called ipw2200. I use the knetworkmanager client to connect to my network in Kubuntu.

    Thanks again.

  18. Danny says:

    Cannot thank you enough for this article. As I’m new to Ubuntu/Debian I would never have guessed to clear the interfaces file. We now have a usable laptop 😀

  19. Sensei says:

    This doesn’t work for me. After I enter the password, the NetworkManager applet tells me that it is waiting for a key from the router. In fact, the process usually causes my MacBook Pro to be disconnected from the router.

  20. FV says:

    I found this on another site and worked for me (https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/bcm43xx-fwcutter/+bug/97483)

    “I uninstalled wifi-radar and ndiswrapper. Then I downloaded: http://ubuntu.cafuego.net/pool/feisty-cafuego/bcm43xx/bcm43xx-firmware_1.3-1ubuntu2_all.deb.
    Then I installed that nd now it works on feisty :-)”

  21. OttifantSir says:

    Following your instructions, I am now writing this in Windows. I had NO network after editing interfaces and making wpasupplicant.

    Ubuntu locked down, and I had to go into recovery mode to delete wpasupplicant.

    This was just a genuine PITA for me.

  22. adrienne says:

    Holy smoke! I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time reading other people’s tutorials/suggestions, although I learned a lot. I now have the wireless working perfectly and Yay, I can move on to other issues. Thanks so much for your help!!

  23. Geoff says:


    Thanks for this – it’s great. Before I read this, I couldn’t get wireless networking to work using Ubuntu atall. Now it’s temporamental: refuses to connect several times running but then successfully connects. Successful connections sometimes disconnect spontaneously. Do you have any ideas?

    I’m using: Ubuntu 7.04; Dell Inspiron 2200 with Dell/Broadcom Wireless 1370 Mini-PCI Card Rev4.2; Netgear D834G router with WPA-PSK encryption; the name of the network is broadcast.

    Many thanks!


  24. Derek says:


    No answers, but similar problems. I can see two APs on my network – one, at about 200m is a poor signal, but is the master router; the other is a repeater in WDS mode within 10m. network-manager seems to encourage my NIC to roam from the close/powerful AP to the further/weak AP anytime it sees the signal from the base router, which naturally results in frequent loss of signal. Do you have multiple APs?

  25. Eliot says:

    I just had to leave a message to say THANKYOU!!!
    I’ve been trying to figure out how to get WPA working for ages!
    You’re a champion!

  26. Exxon Valdez says:

    Can you quote the excerpt of /etc/network/interfaces ? I’m trying to bring up a text-only box.

  27. Geoff says:


    No, I’m not using multiple APs. So I don’t think it is the same problem. Thanks.


  28. erick says:


    finally it works! Thank you my dear!

    My laptop is an averatec 1020.

    Cheers, erick

  29. F4jr says:

    I have everything, but when I want to connect I can’t obtain an IP address with the DHCP.
    Someone know why ?


  30. fmpfmpf says:

    i did everything as stated.

    Once you login back in to your machine you need to left-click the network manager icon in Gnome and select your wireless network It should prompts for password, type, etc and It will ask you to choose a password for your new “keyring”.

    mine doesnt prompt for anything
    and i dont see the blur staircase looking icon.

    pls help

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