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I'm temporarily in a situation where the wifi network I need to use is implemented using Macintosh equipment. They have encoded their network using WPA and TKIP. I can't seem to get onto their network and I think I've tracked the problem down to the pre-shared key format. When others (using Macs) enter the PSK into thier Mac interface thing, they use a 13 digit code that is all integers [0-9], e.g. 0123456789123. In my wpa1.conf file, which is used by wpa_supplicant to configure iwconfig, I have a line in the network block:


I think that I should be entering a hex string (yes, I know this could be a hex string already). Does anyone here have any experience with Mac's UI concerning the format psk's are entered in, and whether I need to change them into hex to use a psk in my linux (slackware 13.1)?

Note that my wireless setup works fine in other environments that don't use WPA or a pre-shared key which indicates that the hardware and firmware are ok.

share|improve this question
WPA PSK does not have the same problem as WEP where various vendors tried to make it easier to type in the WEP HEX key. WPA PSK defines a standard method to convert a passphrase of US-ASCII printable characters into a 64 character HEX string. If the passphrase entered in is less than 64 characters, it's a passphrase as US-ASCII. They would have to have exactly 64 characters to make it a Hex key. Look at the section under Security and Insecurity en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Protected_Access – penguin359 Apr 16 '11 at 23:15
@penguin359 - so what are you saying? that the method I use to enter the psk is ok and my problem lies elsewhere? – bev Apr 17 '11 at 1:12
Yes. With WEP there were problems about using password vs. hex key as well as different incompatible password schemes. That doesn't happen with WPA PSK. – penguin359 Apr 17 '11 at 2:25
Can you post any output from running wpa_supplicant manually? – penguin359 Apr 20 '11 at 20:16
Any change if you leave off the quotes? – maco May 10 '11 at 15:53

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