connecting to a hidden WAP router

Nigel Ridley nigel at
Wed Dec 10 19:31:40 UTC 2008

I've been playing with a spare wireless router that we have. It's a TP-LINK TL-WR542G. It works 
pretty good and I initially set it up using an ESSID of 'Nigels' and encryption using WAP.
I wanted to see what would happen if I unchecked the 'Broadcast ESSID' option (I thought that it 
would be 'hidden' - for extra security).

The trouble was/is that KNetworkManager doesn't seem to 'refresh' its list of available access 
points. Even when I changed to 'name' (ESSID) of the router to something else, KNetworkManager 
still showed it as the original ESSID - even when I had unplugged the router, KNetworkManager was 
still showing it as available! How does one 'refresh' KNetworkManager?

Interestingly I did a 'sudo iwlist wlan0 scan' from a console and the router showed up (Cell 02):

nigel at laptop:~$ sudo iwlist wlan0 scan
wlan0     Scan completed :
           Cell 01 - Address: 00:1D:7E:BD:79:AA
                     Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
                     Quality:5/5  Signal level:-39 dBm  Noise level:-18 dBm
                     Encryption key:off
                     Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s
                               24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s
                               12 Mb/s; 48 Mb/s
           Cell 02 - Address: 00:19:E0:F7:FF:14
                     Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
                     Quality:5/5  Signal level:-47 dBm  Noise level:-15 dBm
                     IE: IEEE 802.11i/WPA2 Version 1
                         Group Cipher : TKIP
                         Pairwise Ciphers (2) : TKIP CCMP
                         Authentication Suites (1) : PSK
                        Preauthentication Supported
                     Encryption key:on
                     Bit Rates:1 Mb/s; 2 Mb/s; 5.5 Mb/s; 11 Mb/s; 6 Mb/s
                               12 Mb/s; 24 Mb/s; 36 Mb/s; 9 Mb/s; 18 Mb/s
                               48 Mb/s; 54 Mb/s

How can I get KNetworkManager to refresh it's list of 'active' access points? And how can I 
connect to one that doesn't show on the list? I did try manually accessing it, but without an 
ESSID KNetworkManager won't allow me to continue with the connection wizard.

Which leads to the next question: If iwlist can see the router, is there a command line 
option/app for connecting to an access point/router that iwlist 'sees' even if it isn't 
broadcasting its ESSID?




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