Connecting to a wireless access point

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This document describes how to set up a wireless network connection with WPA encryption.

First make sure your wireless drivers are loaded properly. (if you are using a Broadcom chipset, see note at the end of this post.)

Install wireless-tools and wpa_supplicant.

apk add wireless-tools wpa_supplicant

Bring the link up so we can look for wireless networks. (An error here means you probably need extra drivers/firmware.)

ip link set wlan0 up

Find a network to connect to. Look for the ESSID. In this example we will use the ESSID "MyNet".

iwlist wlan0 scanning

Let's set the ESSID:

iwconfig wlan0 essid MyNet

We need to create a shared key for wpa_supplicant.

wpa_passphrase MyNet > wpa.conf

It will wait for the password from stdin. Enter the password and enter. Now you will have a wpa.conf file with the preshared key.

Start wpa_supplicant with the generated config:

wpa_supplicant -Dwext -iwlan0 -c ./wpa.conf

From another console, start dhcpcd:

udhcpc -i wlan0

You should get an IP address.

You then want to make the connection process automatic on boot-up. Open /etc/network/interfaces and add the following stanza:

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp

You will also need to set wpa_supplicant to start automatically on boot:

rc-update add wpa_supplicant boot

Next, create /etc/wpa_supplicant/ (permissions of 755 with root:root are fine), and move wpa.conf into that folder, renaming it to wpa_supplicant.conf.

Reboot and check that you are associated with the access point:

iwconfig wlan0

and check that you got a DHCP lease:

ifconfig wlan0 | grep addr

Note: BROADCOM WIFI CHIPSET USERS will need to compile the firmware manually for their chipset. First, apk add alpine-sdk, then git clone aports from, switch to the aports/non-free/b43-firmware folder, then run abuild -r. Install the generated apk file. Run fwcutter, and you should be good to go.