Debugging Central

This page is part of the debugging series — pages with debugging details for a variety of Ubuntu packages.


When working with X bugs it is sometimes not possible to log in to the desktop environment - GNOME or KDE. By default wireless networking setup is a part of the desktop environment. Debugging X often requires network access, so this means that normally a wired network connection is required when X isn't starting.

This page describes how to set up your system so that a wireless connection is available without needing to log in to the desktop.



  1. Right click on the network applet in your panel, and select Edit Connections…


  2. Go to the Wireless tab, select the wireless connection you want to make available, and press Edit.


  3. Check the Available to all users box, and press Apply…. Network Manager will ask for your password. Your network connection can now be used without logging in graphically.



NetworkManager now comes with a command-line utility to do some amounts of configuration.

You can list the connections you have previously created:

$ nmcli con
NAME                      UUID                                   TYPE              SCOPE    TIMESTAMP-REAL                    
Auto eth0                 af1d8c7f-be09-478c-baf7-8fc894aa4cff   802-3-ethernet    system   never                             
NAME                      UUID                                   TYPE              SCOPE    TIMESTAMP-REAL                    
Auto Ubuntu               0e539a80-5b84-4b2b-9bdb-add530e32cd5   802-11-wireless   user     Mon Oct  4 12:18:47 2010        

To connect, you can then use a connection's ID/UUID:

$ nmcli con up uuid 0e539a80-5b84-4b2b-9bdb-add530e32cd5

There is help available by way of the nmcli help command.


For Maverick, the Ubuntu Netbook Edition images plan to use network-indicator and ConnMan. Currently there is no GUI support for setting up system-wide network connections.


Connman (with the 'indicator-network' package) includes a basic command-line application called cmcc.


An alternative to using network-manager is to use wicd. It has applet and curses-based clients. To use this, you should first install wicd, then remove network-manager:

        apt-get install wicd wicd-curses wicd-cli wicd-gtd
        apt-get remove network-manager

ifupdown and iwconfig

If you mainly use your home wireless, you can simply set up your wireless interface through /etc/network/interfaces. (See 'man 5 interfaces'). A working example is:

auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static
        wireless-essid MyEssid

You can get a list of access points using

        iwlist wlan0 scan

and connect using

        iwconfig wlan0 essid MyEssid
        iwconfig wlan0 enc XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
        dhclient wlan0

Note that you can't really use iwconfig when using network-manager (or wicd), because the daemon will keep over-writing your changes.


X/Debugging/WirelessWithoutX (last edited 2011-02-08 21:49:10 by raof)