[PC-BSD Testing] 11th Sep. Snapshot

sc at sdf.lonestar.org sc at sdf.lonestar.org
Sun Sep 16 11:27:00 PDT 2007

> I've installed PCBSD-x86-Wed-CD2.iso from 11-Sep-2007 and I have problems
> with my Internet connection. I've never had it before. Network Manager
> shows that status is active and everything is correct but i can't eneter
> any site. I have DHCP connection. So far on PCBSD 1.x everything was ok.

You might be able to fix that either by editing your /etc/rc.conf file or
by issuing some ifconfig commands at the command line.

The safest thing to do, I believe, is to put your bssid and your
hex-encoded password values in rc.conf, instead of the ssid and ASCII
password values. (For reasons for this, see below.) The following example
is for 128-bit WEP using an Atheros card, and it would be much different
for WPA, etc.

in etc/rc.conf:
   if_config_ath0="DHCP bssid 00:0a:55:67:19:9a wepmode on wepkey
1:0x14ce3031496a48eadbcf9561e3 weptkey 1 mode 11b"

At the command line, since the wepmode and so on would be correct if you
pushed the right buttons in the GUI tool, just the numbers are needed:

   # ifconfig ath0 bssid 00:0a:55:67:19:9a wepkey

After skimming the NetworkManager code, I see that it truncates the ssid
(the ASCII access point name) at the first space. But some access point
names have spaces in them as well as apostrophes, etc. (and such names
routinely work properly with wifi tools on other OSes). So with
NetworkManager, using the bssid avoids this and some other potential
problems. After you enter the bssid, the GUI NetworkManager will display
the corresponding plain text ssid name shown truncated at the first space,
but that doesn't matter as long as you don't use NetworkManager to save
anything to your rc.conf file, only to view and cancel the applet.

The GUI applet also writes the password string without the preceding key
number (1: in the example above). I'm not sure this makes any difference
if the key is 1 (I haven't tried it or read the docs), but some people
might be using the second or higher key numbers.

Also, if you use the GUI applet to type in your ASCII key string (e.g.
thiskeystring), it will write it to rc.conf as 0xthiskeystring, but when
it reads it again from rc.conf and processes it, it will write it out the
next time around truncated to a 13-character string as 0xiskeystring, with
the two leading characters clipped off to be replaced by 0x.

The GUI NetworkManager might work very well with unencrypted or WPA
encrypted connections, but it has at least the above quirks with 128-bit
WEP at the moment.


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