Problem connecting to Hidden ESSID network [Solved]

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Problem connecting to Hidden ESSID network [Solved]

Postby s42ky » Wed Feb 09, 2011 23:31

My university uses a hidden essid, open authentication wireless network for the campus. I'm unable to connect to it under linux. I have no problems under Windows (dual-boot) on the same machine.

I'm using Sabayon 5.4 amd64 K with KDE 4.6 kernel version 2.6.35
The wireless card is Broadcom 4321 using the broadcom-sta-5.60 drivers.

I tried using the included NetworkManager and also wicd backend.
In the plasma applet, it lists <hidden network> but when I click on it and try to enter the name it won't let me press <Enter>.

The wicd client will show the networks with "\0x00" as the essid. It won't connect if I try.
When I try to find hidden networks entering the name, it doesn't find any networks.

Command line output:
Code: Select all
SKY-sabayon wicd # ifconfig
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:15:c5:82:28:21 
          inet addr:129.59.44.166  Bcast:129.59.45.255  Mask:255.255.254.0
          inet6 addr: fe80::215:c5ff:fe82:2821/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:1331665 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:457981 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:1640372608 (1.5 GiB)  TX bytes:45014124 (42.9 MiB)
          Interrupt:16

eth1      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:1f:e1:46:bc:1c 
          inet6 addr: fe80::21f:e1ff:fe46:bc1c/64 Scope:Link
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:969 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:557658
          TX packets:44 errors:416 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
          RX bytes:86691 (84.6 KiB)  TX bytes:31453 (30.7 KiB)
          Interrupt:17 Base address:0xc000

# iwconfig
lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

eth1      IEEE 802.11abgn  ESSID:"" 
          Mode:Managed  Frequency:2.412 GHz  Access Point: Not-Associated   
          Bit Rate:2 Mb/s   Tx-Power:24 dBm   
          Retry min limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off
          Link Quality=5/5  Signal level=0 dBm  Noise level=-82 dBm
          Rx invalid nwid:0  Rx invalid crypt:0  Rx invalid frag:0
          Tx excessive retries:0  Invalid misc:0   Missed beacon:0


I can see the different networks from the card from iwlist.
Code: Select all
# iwlist eth1 scanning essid vummiv
eth1      Scan completed :
          Cell 01 - Address: AC:A0:16:BB:29:D0
                    ESSID:"vummiv"
                    Mode:Managed
                    Frequency:2.412 GHz (Channel 1)
                    Quality:4/5  Signal level:-59 dBm  Noise level:-72 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:11 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
          Cell 02 - Address: AC:A0:16:53:B3:00
                    ESSID:"vummiv"
                    Mode:Managed
                    Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
                    Quality:1/5  Signal level:-82 dBm  Noise level:-79 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:11 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
          Cell 03 - Address: AC:A0:16:53:AD:70
                    ESSID:"vummiv"
                    Mode:Managed
                    Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
                    Quality:2/5  Signal level:-73 dBm  Noise level:-84 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:11 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
          Cell 04 - Address: A4:0C:C3:90:F6:10
                    ESSID:"vummiv"
                    Mode:Managed
                    Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
                    Quality:2/5  Signal level:-78 dBm  Noise level:-84 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:11 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
          Cell 05 - Address: A8:B1:D4:20:07:F0
                    ESSID:"vummiv"
                    Mode:Managed
                    Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
                    Quality:2/5  Signal level:-76 dBm  Noise level:-84 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:11 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
          Cell 06 - Address: A4:0C:C3:1A:24:20
                    ESSID:"vummiv"
                    Mode:Managed
                    Frequency:5.795 GHz
                    Quality:2/5  Signal level:-74 dBm  Noise level:-96 dBm
                    Encryption key:off
                    Bit Rates:48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s
Last edited by s42ky on Wed Feb 16, 2011 0:17, edited 1 time in total.
s42ky
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Re: Problem connecting to Hidden ESSID network

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:59

I don't have a solution for you, but try the following and let us know the outcome:

As root user, edit the file /etc/conf.d/local and add that iwlist command as shown below, then reboot and see if connection is possible:

Code: Select all
# Here is where you can put anything you need to start
# that there is not an init script for.

local_start() {
        # This is a good place to load any misc programs
        # on startup (use &>/dev/null to hide output)

######################################################################
iwlist eth1 scanning essid vummiv
######################################################################

        # We should always return 0
        return 0
}

local_stop() {
        # This is a good place to unload any misc.
        # programs you started above.

        # We should always return 0
        return 0
}
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Re: Problem connecting to Hidden ESSID network

Postby s42ky » Fri Feb 11, 2011 23:03

No luck. After adding that command wicd couldn't see any wireless networks in it's list for some reason.
Running "iwlist eth1 scan" from command prompt shows three cells with "\x00" as essid.
Running the full scanning command from command prompt shows a half dozen cells with "vummiv" essid

I'm going to try to get someone to setup an open ad-hoc network to verify that I actually can connect to a non-hidden essid.
It's a little hard since I'm at university and don't have a router to change settings.

Also, are there any other tests you want me to run or settings to include?
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Re: Problem connecting to Hidden ESSID network

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:14

Try with NetworkManager, not Wicd. The latter is buggy (see e.g. SL 5.4 E17 Spin x86: WiFi (Wicd) problem [Solved]). And, yes, the logical thing to do is try with another network and/or uncloaking the SSID (see e.g. Re: Cannot connect to my wireless network.).
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Re: Problem connecting to Hidden ESSID network

Postby s42ky » Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:50

I've uninstalled wicd and put networkmanager (0.8.2-r6) back.
I can still see networks with iwlist and a <hidden network> initially in the plasma applet, but I can't connect
either through the gui or the command line.

I tried "cnetworkmanager -C vummiv --unprotected" and it entered mainloop then didn't go anywhere.

I was able to connect to an open non-hidden ad-hoc network I setup to test.
Unfortunately, I don't have access to a router where I could try setting up a non-hidden network.

Any help would be appreciated as I've pretty much run out of ideas and gotten nowhere from searching for this.
The one that looked most promising was setting the wpa_supplicant config file to change the scanning mode of the card.
It was for ubuntu, though (I think) and I didn't see that config file for sabayon.

Another item I ran across was on http://live.gnome.org/NetworkManager/Debugging
On the debug list there it -does- show the AP addresses (as above) when scanning the network.
It then says it can match up the BSSID with the SSID with a stored list in GConf. However, it doesn't seem to be connecting. How would I force it to match up the BSSIDs with the SSID? (as much as a headache that would be to manually do for each AP I have to use on campus) Anyways, the article seems to indicate it probably isn't the driver.
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Re: Problem connecting to Hidden ESSID network

Postby Fitzcarraldo » Tue Feb 15, 2011 21:13

You could try a couple of other things.

1. Downgrade NetworkManager to the latest version (0.8.2-r6) in the main Portage tree instead of the version in the Entropy repository (0.8.2-r6). Yes, they may have the same version number, but that does not mean the ebuilds are identical. To do that you would need to do the following as root user in a Konsole/Terminal window:

Code: Select all
emerge --sync
layman -a sabayon # Do not worry if it says it is already added.
layman -S
emerge -1v =networkmanager-0.8.2-r6:0::gentoo


2. Downgrade NetworkManager to an earlier version. The Entropy repository only has a version 0.8.2-r6, but, as you can see below, there are several earlier versions in the case of Portage (main tree and Sabayon overlay):

Code: Select all
$ eix -I net-misc/networkmanager
[I] net-misc/networkmanager
     Available versions:  0.7.2-r1[1] 0.8-r1 (~)0.8-r1[1] **0.8.1-r2[1] (~)0.8.1-r6 (~)0.8.2-r1 (~)0.8.2-r2 (~)0.8.2-r2[1] (~)0.8.2-r6 (~)0.8.2-r6[1] {avahi bluetooth connection-sharing dhclient dhcpcd doc gnutls kernel_linux nss resolvconf}     
     Installed versions:  0.8.2-r6[1](23:22:43 12/02/11)(avahi bluetooth dhclient gnutls kernel_linux nss -connection-sharing -dhcpcd -doc -resolvconf)                                                                                               
     Homepage:            http://www.gnome.org/projects/NetworkManager/
     Description:         Network configuration and management in an easy way. Desktop environment independent.

[I] net-misc/networkmanager-vpnc
     Available versions:  (~)0.8!t (~)0.8.1!t (~)0.8.2!t {gnome}
     Installed versions:  0.8.2!t(19:25:12 12/02/11)(-gnome)
     Homepage:            http://www.gnome.org/projects/NetworkManager/
     Description:         NetworkManager VPNC plugin

[1] "sabayon" /var/lib/layman/sabayon

Found 2 matches.

To downgrade to e.g. version 0.8.2-r2 in the Sabayon overlay you would need to do:

Code: Select all
emerge --sync # Do not repeat if you have done it today already.
layman -a sabayon # Do not worry if it says it is already added.
layman -S # No need to repeat if you have done it today already.
emerge -1v =networkmanager-0.8.2-r2:0::sabayon


Try a few different versions of the ebuild from the Portage main tree and from the Sabayon overlay, and see if one works. You would probably still need to use the command iwlist eth1 scanning essid vummiv to discover the cloaked ESSID.

N.B. For information, I'm using the portage-2.1.9.39 package from the main tree, which does not support the "emerge packagename-version:slot::overlay" syntax I have shown above. One of these days I must get around to unmasking the 2.2.* versions of portage and installing one!
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Re: Problem connecting to Hidden ESSID network

Postby s42ky » Wed Feb 16, 2011 0:16

I finally got it working after upgrading portage to 2.2 line, using the gentoo ebuild of NetworkManager (0.8.2-r6), and compiling the newer broadcom-sta driver (5.100 to replace the 5.60 I was using) for the 2.6.35 kernel. I'm thinking it was probably the broadcom driver, though I'm not gonna mess with it to confirm (unless it stops working).

Thanks a lot.
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