Connect to a wireless network using command line nmcli

I use a lot of minimal installs on various ARM devices. They’re good because they’re quick to download and you can test most of the functionality of the device to ensure it’s working or to quickly test specific functionality but of course it doesn’t have a GUI to use the nice graphical tools which are useful to quickly connect to a wifi network or other things.

This where nmcli comes in handy to quickly do anything you can do with the GUI. To connect to a wireless network I do:

Check you can see the wireless NIC and that the radio is enabled (basically “Airplane” mode):

# nmcli radio
enabled  enabled  enabled  enabled 
# nmcli device
wlan0   wifi      disconnected  --         
eth0    ethernet  unavailable   --         
lo      loopback  unmanaged     --         

Then to actually connect to a wireless AP:

# nmcli device wifi rescan
# nmcli device wifi list
# nmcli device wifi connect SSID-Name --ask

And that should be enough to get you connected. You can list the connection with nmcli connection and various other options. It’s pretty straight forward.

8 thoughts on “Connect to a wireless network using command line nmcli”

  1. if you don’t wan’t your password to be stored in the command line history use the –ask parameter like so:

    # nmcli –ask device wifi connect SSID-Name password wireless-password

  2. The only complaint I have is that it doesn’t prompt for a password if you leave it out so it means the AP password is stored on the command line history.

  3. Thank you! I was just searching on how to write my wifi credential in a custom Fedora Live USB and found this. Also, the whole blog seems interesting!

  4. How to connect to a wifi network using manual parameters for IP, netmask, gw and DNS ?
    I’ve tried to append to that command “ipv4.method manual ip4 gw4 ipv4.dns” and got unknown parameter for all of then, except they work with a cabled ethernet connection.

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