August 29, 2013 · debian hacks productivity raspberrypi raspbian security ssh tricks wicd wifi wireless

Easy Wireless Configuration with wicd

There are a few ways to get wireless working on your RPi, but as far as I can work out, this is the easiest. This tutorial is prepared for Raspbian distro, but will also work on most Linux distributions. The tool works in desktop environment as well as on a headless machine.

What I'm going to show is how to install wicd, a wireless daemon that runs on your system and provides easy wireless configuration.

Get your RPi machine to a terminal

Open a terminal window on your Raspbian, or access the machine with console cable (it is not recommended to install **wicd **using ssh, as you may loose connection at some point).

Get the packages

If you can get a temporary wired internet connection to the machine, you can grab the packages from the repositories. This is the easiest way to install wicd and the following line will install all the required packages in one go.

$ sudo apt-get update 
$ sudo apt-get install wicd-cli wicd-curses

Note: when prompted if you want to add any users to the netdev group, add your local user account (this is the one you specified during installation).

$ sudo adduser yourusername netdev 
$ sudo service dbus reload

If you got any errors saying that wicd couldn't start then you've probably got network-manager installed. Otherwise, skip this section.

Amend /etc/network/interfaces to contain only the following: ``` # The loopback network interface auto lo iface lo inet loopback ``` **Note:** as of wheezy it is fine to have your wireless interface in /etc/network/interfaces (it might even be required, not sure).

Start the wicd daemon:

$ sudo service wicd start

We can stop any existing network managers ready to start wicd. You should only need to do this if you've been playing about with the wireless before. Turn off network-manager (if you have installed one) and restart your network:

$ sudo service networking restart && sudo service network-manager stop

Next, disable network-manager from boot start:

$ sudo apt-get install rcconf $ sudo rcconf


Uncheck network-manager and exit.

Start wicd-curses and configure your wireless network (if that's what you need) to make sure that everything is in working order and you can live without network-manager.

$ sudo service wicd start 
$ wicd-curses start

If you get any errors with wicd starting, try stopping it first and then starting again:

$ sudo service wicd stop 
$ sudo service wicd start

Add your account (the one you use to access your RPi) to users group:

$ sudo gpasswd -a USERNAME users

Configure Wireless

Nearly there now.

Finally, to configure your wireless, type the following line. If you're running the install script, this will be run for you:

$ wicd-curses

From here on it's pretty simple. You should get a basic interface with a list of networks your wireless adapter can 'see'.

To enable wireless interface wlan0, you can either sudo nano /etc/wicd/manager-settings.conf and set wireless_interface = wlan0, or from within the wicd menu hit p key and set it there.

  • Highlight the one you want to connect to and press the right cursor key to configure it
  • Scroll down and check 'Automatically connect to this network'
  • Scroll down to the botton and enter the wireless key
  • Press [F10] to save. You should be back at the list of networks with your network highlighted
  • Press [shift] + c (capital C) to connect to the network
  • Once connected (check status in the bottom left), press q to quit


When you're happy your wireless is working (try pinging or your router) reboot the machine:

sudo reboot

Congratulations, you now have wireless networking!

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