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Setting up Wi-Fi

The following describes how to setup a Wi-Fi connection on the default pikvm builds based on Arch Linux. The process might vary for other Linux distros. We recommend to do this while having a display and keyboard connected directly to the Raspberry Pi as you will loose network connectivity once you connect to a Wi-Fi. Alternatively you can connect to the PiKVM via SSH. The built-in Web Terminal (available through the browser) should also work.


Please review First Steps if you are setting up wifi for the zero2w. This guide also applies to Wi-Fi setup for v2+ devices if switching from Ethernet to Wi-Fi..


There is nothing more reliable than wired Ethernet, so it's better to use it. Wi-Fi with the steel case (on V3) results in poor performance. But who are we to stop you... :)

[ADVANCED USERS ONLY] Moving Wi-Fi settings for OS older than 2021.10.19

Starting from 2021.10.19, the old way to configure Wi-Fi using netctl is deprecated. Instead, it is proposed to use a more native path with systemd-networkd, which is already used to configure Ethernet. Follow the guide and then delete the old netctl profile:

# rw
# systemctl disable netctl-auto@wlan0.service
# rm /etc/netctl/wlan0-*
# ro

Step by step - Advances users ONLY section

  1. Make filesystem writable using rw command.

  2. Create Wi-Fi settings file /etc/systemd/network/ with following content:

    # Use same IP by forcing to use MAC address for clientID
  3. Set network ESSID and password:

    # wpa_passphrase 'MyNetwork' 'P@assw0rd' > /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant-wlan0.conf

    Using Wi-Fi with hidden ESSID

    Add option scan_ssid=1 to /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant-wlan0.conf

    Using 5GHz Wi-Fi in the USA

    Add option country=US to /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant-wlan0.conf

  4. Enable WPA-supplicant service:

    systemctl enable wpa_supplicant@wlan0.service
  5. Make filesystem read-only again using ro command

Useful console commands

  • iwconfig - Manipulate the basic wireless parameters.
  • iwlist - Allow's you to initiate scanning and list frequencies, bit-rates, encryption keys, etc.
  • iwspy - Displays per node link quality.
  • iwpriv - Allow's you to manipulate the Wireless Extensions specific to a driver (private).
Some examples

# iw dev wlan0 scan | egrep "signal:|SSID:" | sed -e "s/\tsignal: //" -e "s/\tSSID: //" | awk '{ORS = (NR % 2 == 0)? "\n" : " "; print}' | sort
# iwlist wlan0 scan | egrep "Cell|ESSID|Signal|Rates"
# iwlist wlan0 scan
# iw wlan0 info

Additional resources