In this post we’ll go through how to configure a wireless connection on raspbian.

Configure wpa_supplicant

First we need to configure the wpa_supplicant.

# /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

     ssid="my ssid"

More documentation on how the wpa_supplicant config works can be found in /usr/share/doc/wpa_supplicant/examples/wpa_supplicant.conf.

For configuration changes to take effect directly either run killall -HUP wpa_supplicant or wpa_cli reconfigure


To interact with the wpa_supplicant you can use the wpa_cli interactive command line tool.

  • To check status type status.
  • To scan for networks type scan. The command will immediately return OK and after a couple of seconds print <3>CTRL-EVENT-SCAN-RESULTS.
  • To view scan results type scan_results
  • To see available commands type help

Trouble with legacy hardware

When using an older legacy wifi adapter you may get an error from the wpa_supplicant saying

nl80211: Driver does not support authentication/association or connect commands

You can then try with an older legacy driver wext. To test run

# wpa_supplicant -B -i wlan0 -D wext -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

If this works you should update /etc/dhcpcd.conf and add this

interface wlan0
env ifwireless=1
env wpa_supplicant_driver=wext

This will make dhcpcd which loads the wpa_supplicant via a hook at boot to load the wpa_supplicant with the legacy driver.