Getting Started with GhostBSD and FreeBSD Part 4

Continued from Getting Started with GhostBSD and FreeBSD Part 3

Wireless Networking with GhostBSD/FreeBSD

When all is said and done with GhostBSD Xfce, there is one particular sticky point that new users will immediately notice on boot. Network Manager, which makes Wi-Fi connections easy for desktop users, will not necessarily work.

GhostBSD´s installation process had no problems setting up my Ethernet connection automatically, but users will have to get their hands a bit dirty to get Wi-Fi working.

In fact, this is probably one of the reasons why some users will balk at having GhostBSD on their laptop while working in a coffee shop. Setting up Wi-Fi supplicant is ok if you´re accustomed to doing it regularly, but it´s a bit too many steps if you´re in a public location. Bearded Unix veterans laugh at the use of a GUI Wi-Fi manager, but let´s face it, it takes two taps to connect to Wi-Fi on Android, Windows Phone, or iOS, so fooling around with Wi-Fi supplicant at the airport, Starbucks, or hotel isn´t fun.

This section applies to GhostBSD Eve on a Toshiba NB520, which has an Atheros Wi-Fi chipset. All the steps for Wi-Fi pretty much follow the FreeBSD Handbook, although some commands are updated for the latest version of FreeBSD.

The following steps were performed to get Wi-Fi working on the NB520:

1. Verify if the Wi-Fi card is detected.


In the following screenshot, ath0 is present.

2. Check if Wi-Fi is loaded on boot. Add modules if necessary.

cat /boot/loader.conf

In this scenario, if_ath_load=¨YES¨ and entries for WEP, CCMP, and TKIP were added on the last line.

3. Reboot the system.

4. Scan for the SSID (Network ID) of your network.

ifconfig wlan0 create wlandev ath0

ifconfig wlan0 up scan

5. Configure system to connect to the specific SSID by adding the network to /etc/rc.conf.

In the following network card configuration, a line was added for the SSID CU_367G and a connection using WPA-PSK.

#Network card configuration by Networkmgr
ifconfig_wlan0="ssid CU_367G WPA DHCP"

6. Create the WPA passphrase configuration.

wpa_passphrase <ssid> <WPA password>

The wpa_passphrase command creates the output that will be added to the wpa_supplicant.conf file.

7. Add the SSID and PSK from step 6 to the /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf file.


Note: On my network, just adding the password (#psk) didn´t work. The full passkey from step 6 had to be added to wpa_supplicant.conf.

8. Connect to the Wi-Fi network.

wpa_supplicant -i wlan0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

Continued in Getting Started with GhostBSD and FreeBSD Part 5


  1. Can you help me document with clarity the new rtwn driver?
    Here are my two documents dealing with Networkmgr and Edimax EW-7811un nano USB wifi dongle.

  2. Starting fresh with GhostBSD, it is sometimes hard to know what incantations to issue to get a Wifi connected to an access point or even understand what hardware you have or if your drivers are installed!

    pciconf -lv #List PCI devices
    usbconfig list #List USB devices
    usbconfig show_ifdrv
    usbconfig dump_list

    kldstat #list kernel modules already loaded
    kldload if_rtwn if_rtwn_pci #load kernel modules for PCI Wifi RTL8188CE hardware
    kldstat #verify kernel modules got loaded into system memory

    #create rtwn0 device
    ifconfig wlan0 create wlandev rtwn0

    #Bringing up will load the firmware automatically. Then scan for local WiFi access points.
    ifconfig wlan0 up scan

    edit the files /boot/loader.conf /etc/rc.conf /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf

    # 3 Files to add configuration lines into them

    #/etc/rc.conf add 2 lines for Edimax EW-7811utn
    ifconfig_rtwn0="WPA DHCP"

    #/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf for Open Network connection

    # or this Network card configuration by Networkmgr added to /etc/rc.conf file
    # I needed channel 6, WifiMgr application program looks for "WPA" to determine wireless lan devices
    ifconfig_wlan0=" WPA channel 6 DHCP"


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