WPA

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Contents

Introduction

WiFi Protected Access (WPA) has been designed to replace WEP. It provides improved data encryption, which was weak in WEP, and to provide user authentication, which was for the most part missing in WEP. WiFi Protected Access utilizes its Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) for improved data encryption. TKIP addresses all of the known vulnerabilities in WEP. WPA implements 802.1x and the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) to strengthen user authentication. More


MEPIS 8.5.x

WPA is normally handled by using Network Assistant. Click on the Wireless tab, then on the WPA encryption radio button, and enter your passphrase, then click Apply. Go to the Interfaces tab, make sure the correct interface is selected, check Start/restart on Apply, and click Apply. After a short wait, you should be connected.

With some configurations, Network Assistant may be unable to connect. In such cases try using an alternative frontend such as Wicd, which seems to be particularly good in this area.

MEPIS 8.0

WPA is normally handled by using Network Assistant. Click on the Wireless tab, then on the WPA encryption radio button, and enter your passphrase, then click Apply. Go to the Interfaces tab, make sure the correct interface is selected, check Start/restart on Apply, and click Apply. After a short wait, you should be connected.

With some configurations, Network Assistant may be unable to connect. In such cases try using an alternative frontend such as Wicd, which seems to be particularly good in this area.

MEPIS 7.0

WPA is normally handled by using Network Assistant. Click on the Wireless tab, then on the WPA encryption radio button, and enter your passphrase, then click Apply. Go to the Interfaces tab, make sure the correct interface is selected, check Start/restart on Apply, and click Apply. After a short wait, you should be connected.

With some configurations, Network Assistant may be unable to connect. In such cases try using an alternative frontend such as Wicd, which seems to be particularly good in this area.

MEPIS 6.5

NOTE: MEPIS networking packages are interrelated and have changed often during the development of this version. Do not follow non-MEPIS :instructions or install non-MEPIS packages for configuring WPA, especially wpa_supplicant. If you have altered wpa_supplicant, please REINSTALL IT.

The updated MEPIS Network Assistant adds manual configuration for WPA security as an alternative to the automatic configuration via Networkmanager. Before you start, please be sure that you are fully updated to the latest 6.5 packages and that you have allowed any old config files to be overwritten during installation, if asked for permission to do so. Finally, install the appropriate mepis-extra-modules or madwifi-modules, if you need them.

You configure your card by using mnetwork (=Manual) in Network Assistant in the following manner (tested on a Intel/Pro Wireless 3945abg).

  1. Make sure knetworkmanager is NOT on the kicker (task bar). Close it if it is, because it interferes with manually setting wireless.
  2. Open MEPIS Network Assistant
  3. Check for the location of your wireless interface--it will probably be eth0 or eth1. Make sure that that interface on the Interfaces tab is checked for "Start at boot" as well as "Start when plugged".
  4. Go to the Wireless tab and provide SSID and WPA key. Make sure your key does not contain any punctuation characters.
  5. Press Apply. Do NOT reboot.
  6. Go to the General tab and press Re/Start Network.
  7. Wait for about 30 seconds. Your network connection should come up fine.
  8. If it doesn't, try these procedures (change name of your interface as needed):
ifup eth1
  • If it says that your wireless interface has already been configured, but you still don't have an IP assigned, type:
dhclient eth1
  • If that does not bring up the connection you may need to reconfigure the interface with iwconfig. For additional help, type
iwconfig --help

From the live CD: After bringing up your wireless connection, install Mepis 6.5 to harddisk. You will probably find that after booting into your installed MEPIS 6.5, your wireless comes up without any inputs. Just give it some time to come up. If not, see Getting Help

Earlier versions of MEPIS

Though not automatic, WPA configuration can be done in MEPIS 6.0. It must be said, however, that success seems to vary among users and cards even when using the same setup protocol.

This describes how to set it up for home users or a small office via the Pre-shared key mode (PSK, also known as personal mode):

1. install wpa_supplicant and wifi-radar. Use Synaptic or the following command as root:

   # apt-get install wpa_suplicant wifi-radar

2. configure wpa_supplicant first. You will need to edit or create a configuration file in the /etc/wpa_supplicant folder. Open your favorite text editor as root (e.g., System Menu --> File System --> File Manager Super User Mode), and navigate to the folder /etc/wpa_supplicant/. There may already be a configuration file in there, or you will have to create a new one. In either case the file has to be named wpa_supplicant.conf when you are done. Cut and paste the following code:


# example WPA configuration file
ctrl_interface=/var/run/wpa_supplicant
network={
ssid="your_network1_name"
psk="your_network1_wpa_secure_key"
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
proto=WPA
pairwise=CCMP TKIP
}
network={
ssid="your_network2_name"
psk="your_network2_wpa_secure_key"
key_mgmt=WPA-PSK
proto=WPA
pairwise=CCMP TKIP
}

Make sure to save the file as wpa_supplicant.conf in the /etc/wpa_supplicant folder. Details on the contents and structure of these configuration files can be found here

3. start wifi-radar

>> select your network (ex. ssid network1) and click on 'Connect'

>> a message box will tell you it's a new network, and will ask if you want to configure it--say yes

>> all you need here is just select WPA option and set 'wext' (= 'wireless extention device' in wpa_supplicant) as WPA device

Note: 'wext' should work for most wifi adapters mapped by wpa_supplicant, see the wpa_supplicant home page. If your wifi device is based on the 'atheros' chipset you will probably have to specify 'madwifi' instead of 'wext'

>> click on 'Save' next and normally you're on! wifi-radar will start wpa_supplicant itself, and stop on 'Disconnect', so you've nothing to do in the future, everything just works

To insure that there are no conflicts with Mepis_Utilities, go to mutilities and uncheck each interface to start on boot.

Links

Alternatives

1. Try copying your wpa_supplicant.conf file up one level, directly in /etc

2. Some users have reported success using these other frontends for wpa_supplicant:

3. Finally, you can use a shell to try to debug. Type "man wpa_supplicant" for details, scrolling down to this paragraph (code edited here to indicate config file location as above, but try original "/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf" if that does not work):

"The easiest way to debug problems, and to get a debug log for bug reports, is to start wpa_supplicant on foreground with debugging enabled:"

  wpa_supplicant -c/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -iwlan0 -d

Change the code for the interface you are using if not wlan0. Then post the debug log on the Forum for help, if needed.

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