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Installation instructions for the connection with the encrypted WLAN-network "uni-ms" under gentoo Linux


The following instructions will describe how with the help of the "wpa_supplicant" a connection with the encrypted WLAN-network of Muenster University ("uni-ms") can be set up.

The operating system for this is the free distribution "gentoo Linux", which has become more and more popular at university. It is possible that the configuration files of other distributions are positioned differently.

At the moment, gentoo supports a wireless environment, either by means of wireless-tools or wpa_supplicant. WPA supplicant is a package, which allows you to connect to an access point with activated Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) – it is thus the package of our choice.

Unfortunately, it does not support all WLAN drivers yet. You can find a list of all supported drivers on the WPA Supplicant homepage (http://hostap.epitest.fi/wpa_supplicant/). This instruction has been tested with the following configuration:

  • Kernel: 2.6.18-gentoo, x86_64
  • sys-apps/baselayout-1.12.8
  • net-wireless/wpa_supplicant-0.5.6


Make sure that you have activated CONFIG_PACKET in your kernel:

# grep "CONFIG_PACKET" /usr/src/linux/.config
CONFIG_PACKET=y ### It must say "y"!

Install wpa_supplicant under gentoo with the following command:

# emerge net-wireless/wpa_supplicant

Configuration of the network

Now the file /etc/conf.d/net must be configured, so that wpa_supplicant is preferred over wireless-tools (if both are installed, wireless-tools is the standard). The file /etc/conf.d/net should be changed as follows:

ALERT! Please note: Replace eth1 by the name of your WLAN device.

# wpa_supplicant over wireless-tools
modules=( "wpa_supplicant" )

# It is import to tell wpa_supplicant which
# driver to use, as it isn’t good at guessing.

The chosen driver wext works well with the Intel Centrino Duo-WLANChipset (ipw3945). Other commonly used drivers are:

# Multiband Atheros Driver for Wi-Fi

# Older Centrinos

For the configuration of other drivers, please consult README of wpa_supplicant.

Configuration of wpa_supplicant

Now you have to configure wpa_supplicant yourself. The configuration file can be found under /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf. The presented configuration is sufficient, but can easily be extended if necessary. Details can be found on the man page of wpa_supplicant.

Enter your central user ID and your password for network access of the ZIV where required.

# As a standard, the uni-ms network is used
# Fallback connection to Funk-Hoer1

This setting connects to the new "uni-ms"-network (if available) and falls back to "Funk-Hoer1", if this is not possible.

Please note that the connection to “uni-ms” no longer requires a connection with a VPN-client into the university network. Now restart your network adapter:

# /etc/init.d/net.eth1 restart

Dealing with errors

Use the wpa client, a frontend to the interaction with wpa_supplicant:

# wpa_cli -ieth1

Status outputs are issued regularly. If you enter help, a list of all available commands will appear.


For the sake of completeness, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that with the command

# wpa_gui

you can navigate to a graphic surface. It offers basic setting options and is thus mainly suitable for debugging purposes.

-- LauraOeste - 2011-05-04

Topic revision: r1 - 2011-05-04 - l_5foest01
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