Troubleshooting Wireless Access

NOTE: CLAS Linux Group has provided these instructions as a courtesy to campus Linux users. See UI Wireless - eduroam Support or contact the ITS Help Desk for additional information.


  • You've followed the instructions for one of the distributions listed on the main page.
  • You still can't connect to the UI's wireless network.


  1. Use the command line utility nm-tool to check that your wireless card is working.

    Find the "Terminal" application for your distribution and open it. Type in nm-tool without the quotes and press the Enter key. On the system used for creating the instructions, this is a snippit of the output:

    - Device: wlan0 ------------------------------------------------
    Type: 802.11 WiFi
    Driver: iwl3945
    State: disconnected
    Default: no
    HW Address: XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX


    Wireless Properties
      WEP Encryption: yes
      WPA Encryption: yes
      WPA2 Encryption: yes

    Wireless Access Points

    In the output above, there are two key details: there is a device of type "802.11 WiFi"; "WPA2 Encryption" is yes under Wireless Properties. If you don't have a device of type "802.11 WiFi", then you need to get wireless support working (or get a wireless card/device). If you don't see "WPA2 Encryption: yes", then you'll need to get a wireless device that supports WPA2. Until those two requirements are met, you will not be able to connect to the UI wireless network.

  2. If "UI-Wireless-WPA2" isn't an option in the network manager pull down, there's a good chance that the signal just isn't strong enough for a connection. Try moving to where you have line-of-sight to the access point. In MLH, the access points are installed in the ceiling and are pretty obvious. In other buildings, you'll have to ask around.
  3. What time of day or time of year is it? If it's the middle of the day, you may be competing with numerous other students/faculty/staff/etc. who are all trying to connect. It may also be the start/end of the semester where more people are trying to use the service. Try again on a different day or during a less busy time.
  4. Try using a different operating system or device (e.g. a windows laptop, an iPod touch/iPhone, etc.) and see if that OS or device can connect. If it can, take note of how good the signal strength is. If it's a weak signal, you'll have problems under Linux as well.
  5. Try using NetworkManager. For the three distributions that we provide instructions/screenshots for, the NetworkManager applet/utilities are the ones that seem to work the best.

General Questions

I followed the instructions, but it isn't obvious how I set the CA Certificate to the Thawte Premium Server CA certificate.

  1. After selecting the certificate field in the dialog, a window labeled "Choose a Certificate Authority certificate..." will open.
  2. Initially, there is no "Location:" bar. However, if you start to type the full path (which varies by distribution). The "Location:" bar will appear.
  3. Once, it appears, go ahead and type the full path to the certificate. Check the instructions page for the proper path. In this screenshot, the proper path for Ubuntu and its variants is shown:

    Screenshot of the Choose a Certificate Authority certificate... window.

  4. Click Open after typing in the full path.

List of things to try:

  1. Move to where you have line-of-sight to the wireless access point. If you still can't connect, try again later during off-peak usage (i.e. not the middle of the day).
  2. Try a different device/operating system to see how good the signal is from that location. If none of your devices can get connected, your linux computer won't be able to either. If the signal is weak, try moving to where the signal is stronger and try again.

I don't have UI-Wireless-WPA2 as an option in the Network Manager pull down, what do I do?

  1. You do have to be on campus for these instructions to work and you'll need to be somewhere with wireless coverage. If you meet those requirements, try the following steps.
  2. Click on the NetworkManager applet and choose "Connect to Hidden Wireless Network...":

    Screenshot of the Connect to Hidden Wireless Network screen

  3. You'll be prompted with a window titled "Connect to Hidden Wireless Network".
  4. Set the following values:
    "Network Name" to UI-Wireless-WPA2.
    "Wireless Security" to WPA & WPA2 Enterprise.
  5. After selecting "WPA & WPA2 Enterprise" for Wireless Security type, the window will change to give you more options to configure. You can now follow the instructions for your particular distribution.

I can't find the Thawte server certificate, what do I do?

The authentication server used by The University of Iowa wireless networks uses Thawte as its root certificate authority (CA). Therefore, your laptop must have a valid Thawte root certificate in Privacy-Enhanced Mail (PEM) format. Fedora, openSuSE, and Ubuntu all include the certificate as part of the default install.

If you do not want to install the various certificate packages and you only want the necessary certificate, you can download all Thawte certificates on your laptop from Thawte. After you download the zip file,, you need to extract "Thawte Server Roots/ThawtePremiumServerCA_b64.txt" Once that file is extracted, rename it to ThawtePremiumServerCA.pem.

My Network Manager applet disappeared, how do I get it back?

Open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and run nm-applet &.