From Alpine Linux

iwd (iNet Wireless Daemon) is a wireless daemon for Linux. It is written by Intel and aims to replace wpa_supplicant. The core goal of the project is to optimize resource utilization: storage, runtime memory and link-time costs. This is accomplished by not depending on any external libraries and utilizes features provided by the Linux Kernel to the maximum extent possible. The result is a self-contained environment that only depends on the Linux Kernel and the runtime C library.

Potential benefits of iwd include:

  • simplification of network management
  • faster network discovery
  • fast and reliable roaming
  • using less system resources
  • using features offered by the Linux kernel
  • support for enterprise security methods like EAP
  • support for kernel asymmetric key rings and Trusted Platform Modules (TPM)
  • support for multiple clients

iwd is supported since Alpine Linux 3.10.

Installation and setup

To install iwd:

# apk add iwd

To start iwd:

# rc-service iwd start

To have iwd start automatically on every boot (recommended):

# rc-update add iwd default

Note: iwd requires dbus to be running.

Next you will want to decide if you want to use iwd by itself, with NetworkManager, or with ifupdown-ng:

Use iwd by itself

To have iwd do all networking configuration on its own upon connecting to a wi-fi network, edit the configuration file /etc/iwd/main.conf and set the EnableNetworkConfiguration directive in the [General] section to True. For example:

Contents of /etc/iwd/main.conf

[General] EnableNetworkConfiguration=True

Use iwd as a networkmanager Backend

iwd can be used as a replacement for the wpa_supplicant backend in NetworkManager. See the relevant NetworkManager section for more information.

Use iwd with ifupdown-ng

iwd can delegate the responsibility dealing with IP address assignment (either static or DHCP) to ifupdown-ng. To do this edit the /et/network/interfaces file. For example, if you are using DHCP on the wlan0 interface:

Contents of /etc/network/interfaces

auto lo iface lo inet loopback auto wlan0 iface wlan0 inet dhcp

Usage of iwctl command

The iwd package provides the client program iwctl, the daemon iwd and the Wi-Fi monitoring tool iwmon.

Begin by starting the client:

$ iwctl

To list all available commands:

[iwd]# help

Connect to a network

First, if you do not know your wireless device name, list all Wi-Fi devices:

[iwd]# device list

If the device or its corresponding adapter is turned off, turn it on:

[iwd]# device device set-property Powered on
[iwd]# adapter adapter set-property Powered on

Then, to initiate a scan for networks (note that this command will not output anything):

[iwd]# station device scan

You can then list all available networks:

[iwd]# station device get-networks

Finally, to connect to a network:

[iwd]# station device connect SSID

If a passphrase is required, you will be prompted to enter it. Alternatively, you can supply it as a command line argument:

$ iwctl –passphrase passphrase station device connect SSID

  • iwd automatically stores network passphrases in the /var/lib/iwd directory and uses them to auto-connect in the future.
  • If you run diskless Alpine, be sure to commit:

    # lbu add /var/lib/iwd && lbu commit -d

  • To connect to a network with spaces in the SSID, the network name should be double quoted when connecting.
  • iwd only supports PSK pass-phrases from 8 to 63 ASCII-encoded characters.

Disconnect from a network

To disconnect from a network:

[iwd]# station device disconnect

Show device and connection information

To display the details of a WiFi device, like MAC address:

[iwd]# device device show

To display the connection state, including the connected network of a Wi-Fi device:

[iwd]# station device show

Manage known networks

To list networks you have connected to previously:

[iwd]# known-networks list

To forget a known network:

[iwd]# known-networks SSID forget
Note: It is not possible to assign a priority to a network, instead iwd will prioritize networks based on:
  • signal strength level
  • security features
  • maximum rate
  • channel utilization
  • time since the last connect.

Dedicated GUI (iwgtk)

iwgtk showing list of networks

iwgtk is a wireless networking GUI for Linux with supported functionality similar to that of iwctl. Features include viewing and connecting to available networks, managing known networks, provisioning new networks via WPS or Wi-Fi Easy Connect, and an indicator (tray) icon displaying connection status and signal strength.

# apk add iwgtk


If iwctl commands fail with the message The name net.connman.iwd was not provided by any .service files Failed to retrieve IWD dbus objects, quitting..., this means that the iwd daemon is not started.

See also