Automatically Connect Raspberry Pi to Wi-Fi

The Internet. It's big and exciting but you don't want to load up a GUI in order to connect to it. There are a couple of ways you can configure your Pi to connect over Wi-Fi when it boots up.

There are just a few things you'll need:

It's probably also a good idea to update your OS if you haven't done that.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Now go ahead and shutdown your Pi

sudo shutdown -h now

Plug in your Wi-Fi adapter and boot up the Pi.

One way to set up your connection is to configure you network interface manually. Choose your text editor and open your settings. I use vi here, but nano may be more to your liking. If so, just replace 'vi' with nano where you see it below.

sudo vi /etc/network/interfaces

Enter in your base configuration for a DHCP connection:

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
iface default inet dhcp

Now you'll need to enter your network connection information. Open up your WPA configuration.

sudo vi /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Here's an example using a WPA protocol:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
update_config=1
network={
  ssid="ENTER NETWORK NAME"
  proto=WPA # (or RSN for WPA2)
  key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
  pairwise=TKIP # (or CCMP for WPA2)
  psk="ENTER WPA KEY"
  auth_alg=OPEN
}

If you're not using DHCP or if you're wanting to set up multiple connections, you'll have to do a bit more configuration. You'll be changing

iface wlan0 inet dhcp => iface wlan0 inet manual

and

wpa-conf => wpa-roam

This also shows an example configuration for a static IP.

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet manual
wpa-roam /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
iface default inet dhcp

# For ssid 'work':
iface work inet static
address XXX.XXX.X.X
network XXX.XXX.X.X
gateway XXX.XXX.X.X

You would need to enter your work network in your WPA configuration:

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
update_config=1
network={
  ssid="ENTER NETWORK NAME"
  proto=WPA
  key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
  pairwise=TKIP
  psk="ENTER WPA KEY"
  auth_alg=OPEN
}
network={
  ssid="work"
  proto=WPA
  key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
  pairwise=TKIP
  psk="ENTER WPA KEY"
  auth_alg=OPEN
}

Now you can reboot

sudo shutdown -r now

If your settings are correct you'll have an internet connection. You can test it out by running

ifconfig

Under you wlan0 output you should see an assigned IP like 'inet addr:XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX'

If you want to test your settings without rebooting, you can release your connection with

sudo ifdown wlan0

And reconnect with new settings using

sudo ifup wlan0

WICD-CURSES

There's an arguably easier route to pursue with wicd-curses. It will give you an interface to select your Wi-Fi connection. It will also allow you to select a network to connect to automatically and enter custom DNS/address/network/gateway settings. Just run

sudo apt-get install wicd-curses
sudo wicd-curses

You can navigate with the keyboard and it will provide you with a menu for various options.

If you really don't want to use the command line, you can always run one or both of the following:

sudo apt-get install wicd
sudo apt-get wpagui

Then start your GUI

startx

Under your internet menu there should be a wpa_config or Wicd Network Manager program to manage these settings.