Alright, I've had a doozy of a time trying to set up wlan0 on a minimal Debian install, meaning I have no DE, but you probably knew that. The problem lies in that I cannot for the life of me get my wifi to work. I am unable to install packages, run apt-get update, or ping domains or IP addresses. pinging google returns a unknown host: 'www.google.com' error.

My /etc/network/interfaces:

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless-essid <name in quotes>
wireless-key1 <26 digit key>

I've also tried following this advice to no effect. I received no errors, but it simply didn't do anything, or I'm not sure what to do after this.

Running apt-get update or apt-get install <package> informs me that ftp.us.debian.org cannot be resolved.

What am I doing wrong? Knowing that the above things have been attempted, and what doesn't work, how can I set up wlan0 with a barebones Debian installation? Any other questions, I'll be happy to answer them.

Output of ifconfig:

wlan0    Link encap:Ethernet  HWadder 6c:88:14:81:79:cc
         UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
         RX packets:0 errors:0 overruns:0 frame:0
         TX packets:0 errors:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
         collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
         RX bytes:0 (0,0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0,0 B) 
  • Can you use the NetworkManager's command-line tool? Is it available? – arielnmz Jul 15 '14 at 1:17
  • I'm not entirely sure, what command would I use to access it? I can't find it on Google. If it's network-manager then I do not have access to it. – Azhraam Jul 15 '14 at 1:23
  • You will need to add one or more dns-nameservers in order to resolve the hostname www.google.com; however if you cannot even ping by numeric IP you need to solve that issue first - to start, can you add the output of ifconfig to your question please? – steeldriver Jul 15 '14 at 1:31
  • Okay, I edited that in. – Azhraam Jul 15 '14 at 1:39
  • Take a look at this: Ubuntu Manpage: nmcli. – arielnmz Jul 15 '14 at 2:54

It seems to me that you do not have a working driver for your wireless card. In that case your wireless interface will obviously not work.

If you lack a working device driver, you will have to address that problem first. For this you will generally have find the model (and the revision number) of your wireless card. You could use lspci. Please post the output of this command, and I might be able to give you more instructions on how to install a working driver.

P.S. Broadcom, which is one of the main manufacturers of wireless cards, does not provide open-source drivers. This may be a reason why the driver software for your wireless card is not included in the Linux kernel, which could in turn explain why your card does not function out-of-the-box. So, check the output of lspci to see if your system has a Broadcom card.

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