Setting up Wifi with the Command Line

This tutorial works best if your router is broadcasting the SSID. Make sure you have "Broadcast SSID" set up on your router! This may not work with "private" SSID setups

Setting up WiFi in Occidentalis, is also pretty straight forward. You just need to add the name of your wireless network (its SSID) and your password to a configuration file.

Step 1.

Boot the Raspberry Pi without the WiFi adapter plugged in.

Step 2.

Open a Terminal session by clicking on the LXTerminal icon, and enter the following command into it:

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces
auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

allow-hotplug wlan0
auto wlan0

iface wlan0 inet dhcp
        wpa-ssid "ssid"
        wpa-psk "password"
If you are using a 'hidden' SSID, try the following (hat-tip to

auto lo

iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto wlan0
allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
   wpa-scan-ssid 1
   wpa-ap-scan 1
   wpa-key-mgmt WPA-PSK
   wpa-proto RSN WPA
   wpa-pairwise CCMP TKIP
   wpa-group CCMP TKIP
   wpa-ssid "My Secret SSID"
   wpa-psk "My SSID PSK"

iface default inet dhcp

Step 3.

This opens an editor screen of the wifi configuration file you need to change.

The two places where you need to make a change are on the last two lines. Change the file so that it looks like this:

Of course, you should put in your network and password! Note that you need to keep the double-quote characters around your wireless network name and password.

This kind of editor does not let you use the mouse. Instead, use the cursor keys to move around the file.

Step 4.

When you have finished press [ctrl]x. This will ask if you want to save the modified files.

Press 'Y' and then Return to save the file with the same name.

Step 5.

Shut down your Raspberry Pi, plug the WiFi adapter in and start it up again. You should find that the Raspberry Pi connects using the WiFi adapter as it boots up.

This guide was first published on Dec 10, 2012. It was last updated on Nov 19, 2018. This page (Setting up Wifi with the Command Line) was last updated on Dec 10, 2015.