How to connect to Wi-Fi from the command-line on Debian

Recently I decided to try to eliminate some unnecessary wires from my home
network. One of the offending items was our home server that was hard wired to
one of our mesh network routers.

The original thought was that by having the server wired, we’d have a more
reliable connected to it. While that may be true, nothing that runs on the
server is in dire need of a wired connection.

Since it’s a server, running Debian, without a GUI installed at all, I had to
get things moving from the command-line. To do so, I used the NetworkManager
command-line utility, aptly named nmcli.

First, run nmcli without any arguments, in an attempt to figure out your
wireless card’s name:

% nmcli

wlp59s0: unavailable
        "Intel 6 AX200"
        wifi (iwlwifi), 8E:C3:E8:F7:73:D7, sw disabled, hw, mtu 1500

It will probably spit out a bunch of stuff, but you’ll be looking for a section
similar to above, that is currently unavailable. It’s unavailable due to it not
being connected to a wireless network.

Connecting to a network was pretty simple, once you know the name of your

% nmcli d wifi connect WIFI_SSID password YOUR_PW ifname YOUR_IFACE

Swap out the bits that are in ALL CAPS with your information, and you should be
off to the races!

Josh Sherman - The Man, The Myth, The Avatar

About Josh

Husband. Father. Pug dad. Musician. Founder of Holiday API, Head of Engineering and Emoji Specialist at Mailshake, and author of the best damn Lorem Ipsum Library for PHP.

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