Wireless Access on Ubuntu 11.10

NOTE: The 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. These instructions are specific to Ubuntu 11.10. If you are using a different version of Linux, these instructions may not work.

This document was modified on Oct 26, 2012. Any changes to the campus wireless network since then may not be reflected in these instructions. Try comparing the instructions for later versions of this OS for any configuration changes.


  • You've met the requirements listed on the initial wireless page.
  • These instructions were written after doing a default install of Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop (64bit version) and then patching all software.
  • Your wireless card is working. You can use nm-tool from a terminal to test.

On the system used for creating the instructions, this is a snippit of the output from running nm-tool in a terminal:

- 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

When you run nm-tool, the output must show that you have a device of type 802.11 WiFi and that WPA2 Encryption is yes. 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.

Configure Wireless Network in NetworkManager

  1. Click on the NetworkManager applet (the wireless field icon, which looks like a pie wedge).

    Screenshot of the Wireless Access Instructions for Ubuntu 11.10

  2. Select "UI-Wireless-WPA2" and a new window will open:

    Screenshot of the Wireless Access Instructions for Ubuntu 11.10

  3. Set (or verify):
    "Authentication" to "Protected EAP (PEAP)"
    "CA Certificate" to "/usr/share/ca-certificates/mozilla/AddTrust_External_root.crt" file
    "PEAP Version" to "Automatic"
    "Inner Authentication" to "MSCHAPv2"
    "User Name" to be your HawkID followed by @uiowa.edu, e.g. hawkid@uiowa.edu
    "Password" to your HawkID password

    Screenshot of the Wireless Access Instructions for Ubuntu 11.10

  4. Click Connect and you should get connected to the UI's wireless network. If the connection fails, you'll get re-prompted for configuration details.

    Screenshot of the Wireless Access Instructions for Ubuntu 11.10


How do I set the CA Certificate to /usr/share/ca-certificates/mozilla/AddTrust_External_Root.crt?

  1. Click on the box labeled "(None)" in Step 3 of the regular instructions above. A window labeled "Choose a Certificate Authority certificate..." will open.
  2. Start to type the full path /usr/share/ca-certificates/mozilla/AddTrust_External_Root.crt and the location bar will appear. Go ahead and finish typing the path as listed.

    Screenshot of the Wireless Access Instructions for Ubuntu 11.10

  3. Click Open.

I keep trying to connect, but I'm never successful. What now?

Try to get somewhere where you have direct line-of-sight to a wireless access point, you should then be able to see the eduroam network in the pull down and successfully connect.

List of things to try:

  1. If you still can't connect after moving within sight of an access point, 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 can't find the AddTrust External Root server certificate, what do I do?

If the AddTrust External Root server cert is not on your ubuntu laptop, run sudo apt-get install ca-certificates in a terminal window.

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

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

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

Choose "Connect to Hidden Wireless Network...", change the "Network name:" to "UI-Wireless-WPA2", change "Wireless security" to "WPA & WPA2 Enterprise" and then follow the instructions from step 2 on.

I don't have "Connect to Hidden Wireless Network..." as an option in the Network Manager pull down, what do I do?

Option 1: Wait a little longer for the wireless card to probe surrounding networks.
Option 2: Open a terminal and run nm-tool and then check for the eduroam listing.