The various wireless setups can seem confusing as it offers a varied range of connection and security types. However, most of the work in setting up wireless is now effortless due largely to the vast improvements within the various Operating Systems.

This section reviews some of the various networking types to understand what kind of network one may be trying to connect with. In short, it is recommended that users setup WPA Security on their home router and use the LEAP process for IBM campus connections.

IBM Wireless Access Overview

At IBM, network security is beefed up with authentication servers which can only be accessed with unique user accounts. Home and 'hotspot' (i.e. hotels/cafe's/etc) networks can range from having 'free' or unencrypted access to having a shared authentication key.

IBM Wireless Types are listed below and have different advantages and disadvantages. It is generally recommended the users go with LEAP technology.

Secure/Encrypted Wireless Types
Cisco LEAP Technology
  • The use of Cisco LEAP security allows IBM employees and other authorized personnel to access IBM's Wireless network.
Digital Certificates (EAP-TLS)
  • The use of Digital Certificates enables IBM employees and other authorized personnel to access many useful services. For instance, digital certificates allow users to access IBM's Wireless network or to exchange digitally signed and encrypted e-mail with business associates outside of IBM.
Other Wireless Types
IBM Visitor Centers
  • The basic process of connecting to the visitor center is no different than connecting to a 'hot spot'. However users require a logon id to continue to use the Internet at an IBM location. The IBM Intranet is not available with this method. More information can be found at the webpage URL below.

Home and 'hotspot' Wireless Overview

To protect your data, you should setup WPA or WEP 128bit router at home which will shield you from users trying to access your data and also from them using your network to download illegal software and media which can possibly get you into legal trouble.

To setup Wireless at home is simple, just plug the existing internet connection (from the modem) into the internet connection on the home router. Plug in the home router. That will make the router the master device on your network and all connections will need to go through it from now on. Then connect to the router using the webbrowser and IP Address / Password which can be found in the setup directions.

Other Wireless Connectivity Types

Home Wireless and 'hotspot' Types - The various home wireless configurations have their advantages and disadvantages, for most users setting wireless, WPA keys are recommended.

Secure / Encrypted Wireless Types
Wireless WEP 128-bit passphrase networks
  • Connecting to a wireless LAN at home using WEP (a very common) security method. This usually employs a non-hexadecimal text password (several characters in length) with an open key.
Wireless WEP 128-bit text-key authentication
  • Connecting to a wireless LAN at home using WEP (a very common) security method. This usually employs a non-hexadecimal text password (several characters in length) with open key.
WEP 64-bit (Hexadecimal key) authentication
  • Connecting to a wireless LAN at home using WEP. This method uses a 64 bit Hexadecimal password (ten characters in length) with open key.
WPA Personal Security Authentication
  • An example of connecting to a wireless LAN at home using WPA Personal Security which is common on many home wireless routers. This method is recommended for optimal security standards.
Unsecured / UnEncrypted Wireless Types
Free Wireless
  • Many 'hotspots' allow for anyone to use their networking, the Open Client for Linux can easily be used at these various locations.
Website Login
  • Many 'hotspots' allow for customers only to use their networking, this may require that you login to their Graphical webpage before using the means to connect to IBM.

Network Manager Applet

  • The Network Manager Applet runs on your desktop's taskbar. If it is missing, the Network Manager Service may not be running.

Leap Configuration

  1. Start the Network Connections tool: locate the Networking Applet on the task bar, right mouse click, and select Edit Connections
  2. Click on the Wireless tab
  3. select the add button for new connection, this will open a configuration window
  4. Locate Connection name: text box and change the name to something like IBM LEAP
  5. Under the Wireless tab input IBM for the SSID field.
  6. Then click on the Wireless Security tab and select LEAP from the pull down menu.
  7. Input your email address and bluewireless password (i.e. mquick@us.ibm.com / o*^a)4EYGm7a )
  8. Confirm that the Connect Automatically box is unchecked.
  9. Click Apply button

  10. Click Close button to close the network manager

Keyring Manager

If this is your first time connecting to a wireless network, Keyring Manager (which holds all of your network passwords) will start launching a dialog box.

  • Input a master password for all of your wireless connections. This will be the gatekeeper password for all of your wireless connections. (You will be asked to provide this master password when connecting to encrypted wireless networks.)
  • Keyring Mananger further protects IBM networks and your data. You will only be asked once per boot up for this password.

To connect:

  1. The IBM network may not be boardcasting. Left mouse click on network applet
  2. Select the IBM option from the list of wireless networks.
  3. Wait for the connection process to complete.
  4. Test the connection (i.e. with web browser)


  • If you make an error configuring network delete profile and start again.
  • If the network is acting 'out of the ordinary', you can try restarting the NetworkManager and network serices.
  • If you are unable to connect to the LEAP infrastructure, check that your signal strength is strong and you have the latest software updates.
  • You can view the ip address values by right mouse clicking on the Network Applet and selecting Connection Information
    Optionally, you can issue the command : /sbin/ifconfig | grep addr: from the command line to achieve similar results
  • If the ip address begins with 169. (or is not set at all), you have no connectivity to the network, try rebooting

Connecting to Encrypted (secured) Wireless Networks

  1. Have the following information ready:
    • Network Name (SSID) - this is the wireless network name (SSID),should automatically find this but have it ready just in case.
    • Wireless Security Type - Have the network security type setup available
    • Network Password - Have your network security key ready

  2. Unplug the Wired connection before starting a Wireless setup/connection.
  3. Locate the Networking Applet icon on the 'taskbar'
  4. Left mouse click on the networking applet, a window will open.
  5. Move the mouse and click on the network you would like to connect to.
    (If your network is not shown, you can manually create a network or wait until it is found)

  6. Confirm that the Wireless Security is correct.
  7. Input the password key information when asked, and then click on the connect button.
  8. If this is your first time connecting to a wireless network:
    • A keyring manager (which holds all of your network passwords) dialog box will open
    • Input a master password for all of your wireless connections.
      (You will be asked to provide this master password when connecting to encrypted wireless networks.)
  9. Wait for the connection process to complete.
  10. Test the connection (i.e. with Internet browser)

Connecting to Open (and unsecured) Wireless Networks

  1. Unplug the Wired connection before starting a Wireless setup/connection.
  2. Locate the Networking Applet icon on the 'task bar'
  3. Right Click on the Network Manager Applet and ensure 'Enable Wireless' and 'Enable Networking boxes are checked.
  4. Close and Click on applet again and connect to the desired wireless network (SSID).
    (this example is connecting to a hotel_wireless network)
    (Note: There may be more than one wireless network showing so be sure the one you Click is the one you have access to. Not always the strongest signal.)

  5. Accept and wait for the connection to complete.
  6. Start the Firefox Web browser. Attempt to go to any website such as www.google.com
  7. Your browser may be redirected to the business location's gateway web site.
    For most commercial location you will have to either accept the terms and conditions before using (some may also be pay sites)

Troubleshooting / FAQs

Troubleshooting various types of wireless connections

Unlock Keyring
  • Why am I being asked for a password ? The keyring is the master password to protect all of your encrypted networks, and you will be asked for it once per system restart.
  • What if I choose the deny option? You will be blocked from your pre-set network keys will asked for the security key to connect to the network
  • What if I forgot the password? delete the keyring and start over with the command rm ~/.gnome2/keyrings/default.keyring

    That will delete your keyring file so you will be asked for your network key and then a new keyring password the next time you try to access your wireless net.
Network Manager Applet not Visible
  • The easiest thing to try is rebooting your system.
  • If the Network Manager process died for any reason, the applet will not be visible.
    In this case choose Computer -> Control Center -> Services
    And restart the two services: network, NetworkManager, and NetworkManagerDispatcher

    Then Highlight NeworkManager, Click Restart make sure status reports running as above, Do the same with NetworkManagerDispatcher.
  • If necessary, (re)start the nm-applet with: killall nm-applet and nm-applet &
Network Manager has Red Stop Sign
  • Right Click on Icon >Check Enable Wireless box
    This should clear it if not restart as above.
Re-scanning for networks
  • To force the Network Manager to update, right click on the network applet, uncheck the box for Enable Wireless. Wait a few seconds, then re-enable the wireless by selecting it again
Wireless card not working or recognized
  • confirm that the toggle switch on the laptop is switched to on.
  • check that the ath0, or eth1, etc. is contained in /etc/modprobe.conf
  • confirm that the driver is loaded using the lspci command.
LEAP Account Problems
  • Do I have a leap account? If you have an account for Windows this will do.

    Else you can obtain one by going to:
    Computer>More Applications>Open Client>BlueWirelessRegistration

  • If the LEAP account isn't working, confirm that the hardware is supported under linux.
  • Use the latest version of the Open Client, report a bug if you believe you've followed all of the configuration steps correctly.
  • Try resetting your wireless password or trying it with a Windows(tm) machine.
  • Some cards have poor range because of the driver being used.
Encryption With WEP 64 / 128-bit ASCII
  • Be sure the password is the correct length, usually 5 alphanumeric for 64-bit, 13 alphanumeric for 128-bit.
  • Try both "Open System" or "Shared Key" Authentication.
    Is this a passphrase key ? Try 128-bit passphrase.
Encryption With WEP 64 / 128 -bit Hexadecimal
  • Be sure the password only contains 0-9 or A-E characters.
  • Be sure the password is the correct length, usually 10 Hex for 64-bit, 26 Hex for 128-bit.
    Try both "Open System" or "Shared Key" Authentication
Encryption With WEP 128-bit Passphrase
  • Passphrasses can be almost any size and of any character length.
  • Try both "Open System" or "Shared Key" Authentication
Keyring Manager
  • For your convenience Linux offers a password manger, so you only have to define one single keyring password to access all your passwords.

    Applications like network manager or nautilus can access the passwords stored within and you do not need to remember your LEAP password, every ftp server password, all your Windows/smb server passwords etc..

    If you want to review the keyring database click on
    Computer -> More Applications... -> Keyring Manager


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