Neo FreeRunner Wifi

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This page documents the wireless networking solutions commonly known as WLAN or WiFi.

There are other ways to enable wireless communications on the Neo, including Bluetooth. For Bluetooth solutions, see How to use bluetooth to transfer data between Neo and Desk-top and Manually using Bluetooth.


How can I tell what Access Points (APs) are visible to me?

You can connect to wireless networks through wireless access points. If you want to know the names of all the access points that are currently visible to you, you can perform a scan with this command:

root@om-gta02:~# iwlist eth0 scan

If anything is visible you will get a list that looks something like this:

eth0      Scan completed :
          Cell 01 - Address: 00:16:B6:DE:77:58
                    Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
                    Quality=9/94  Signal level=-86 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
                    Encryption key:on
          Cell 02 - Address: 00:21:29:AA:10:97
                    ESSID:"CandT Network"
                    Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
                    Quality=39/94  Signal level=-56 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
                    Encryption key:on
          Cell 03 - Address: 00:14:95:1B:8E:B9
                    Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
                    Quality=5/94  Signal level=-90 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
                    Encryption key:on
          Cell 04 - Address: 00:E0:98:52:3D:78
                    Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
                    Quality=36/94  Signal level=-59 dBm  Noise level=-95 dBm
                    Encryption key:on

If you want to connect to an unsecured network run:



WPA is an encryption method for securing your wireless network.

Using wpa_supplicant manually

Create and edit a suitable /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf (see below).

Bring up your wireless connection:

root@om-gta02:~# ifconfig eth0 up
root@om-gta02:~# wpa_supplicant -i eth0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -B
root@om-gta02:~# udhcpc -i eth0

Using WPA and /etc/network/interfaces

Once you have a /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf (see below) file, add a line under the eth0 entry in /etc/network/interfaces:

iface eth0 inet dhcp
   wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Save your changes and run:

 # ifdown eth0 && ifup eth0

You'll get a lot of messages, like ioctl[SIOCSIWENCODEEXT]: Operation not supported and sed: unrecognized option `--quiet', they appear to be harmless. The "--quiet" error message can be avoided by replacing "sed --quiet" with "sed -n" in /etc/wpa_supplicant/*.sh (bug #2189)


wpa-supplicant's conf file typically found at /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf.

wpa_supplicant.conf explained

The highest priority is tried first then falls back to the next highest number.

priority=100 1st


# Simple case: WPA-PSK, PSK as an ASCII passphrase, allow all valid ciphers

#try open AP regardless of its SSID.
# change root password before you go roaming around it could prove dangerous
priority=1  #try any open AP last

A more in depth explanation can be found here:;a=blob_plain;f=wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

Sample wpa_supplicant.conf

Sample /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf :

# WPA2:
       ssid="your ssid"
       pairwise=CCMP TKIP
       group=TKIP CCMP
       psk="secret key"

# WPA:
      psk="secret key"

# WEP:

# Open:
     ssid="your ssid"

Other working sample wpa_supplicant.conf files

Tom Yates documents his success here

Matthias Apitz documents his success here: (see chapter 6.).


  • Connecting to a local network with usb networking enabled, may get you into trouble. The default /etc/network/interfaces will configure the usb endpoint as a default gateway (for 2008.12). If you connect to another network your phone will try the usb, timeout and then go for the other: remove the route with 'route del default gw'. Optionally remove the route from interfaces if you never intend to use your desktop as a router.
  • You can have wpa_supplicant roam for you by setting the inet method to manual and using wpa_roam instead of wpa_conf in your /etc/network/interfaces.
  • After bringing up the interface with wpa_supplicant, you can run wpa_cli and issue the command 'status' to see if and to which AP you are connected.

Using with fsoraw

wpa_supplicant can be invoked through fsoraw by running,

fsoraw -r WiFi -- wpa_supplicant -ieth0 -Dwext -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

  • Remember there is no need to enable WiFi radio in Settings>Connectivity as fsoraw will enable it.
  • The above command shall not return back to the shell, it can be sent to background using &
  • To terminate the connection, kill wpa_supplicant


WEP is an encryption method for securing your wireless network. WEP is generally considered to be weak, you should use WPA instead if possible.

Using iwconfig manually

Note that for WEP our iwconfig requires a more specific format than generic iwconfig.

The canonical way of running iwconfig for WEP would be something like this:

  1. iwconfig eth0 key A4BEB3B8EC essid xyz

Two things are important here:

  • the key must be in HEX. iwconfig will not do anything useful if the key is given as a string. Here is a handy ASCII string to HEX converter.
  • the ESSID must follow the key.

If an incorrect key was set, please stop all activity on the interface for at least two minutes (i.e., killall udhcpc and ifconfig eth0 down), then issue the correct iwconfig command and retry.

Manually setting WEP key with index different than 1

First you need to specify the key with its index as prefix or postfix:

  1. iwconfig eth0 key A4BEB3B8EC [2]

At this point, iwconfig doesn't show any key is used. Now you need to tell it to actually use key with index 2:

  1. iwconfig eth0 key [2]

Now your network with nonstandard wep index should work :)

Using WEP and /etc/network/interfaces

 iface eth0 inet dhcp
   wireless-key my_wep_key
   wireless-essid my_essid
iface eth0 inet dhcp
   wpa-wep-key0 my_wep_key
   wpa-key-mgmt NONE
   wpa-ssid my_essid

Save your changes and run:

 # ifdown eth0 && ifup eth0

Idea : You can use ShortOm to lauch this command on futur boot to activate wifi without having to use terminal

Known Issues

iwconfig doesn't work in all cases

Note that for some reason our iwconfig requires a more constrained format than the generic iwconfig. See using iwconfig manually.

Anecdotal solutions

These solutions worked for some people:

Disable power management

Some APs apparently get upset by power managed devices, and the Freerunner enables power management of the wifi by default to preserve battery. One user's wrt54g certainly gets upset from time to time if he connect with the FreeRunner, sometimes refusing to talk to _anything_ over wifi afterwards until rebooted.

iwconfig eth0 power off

Modified script

"I changed the script a little:

Exec=xterm -e "ifconfig eth0 down \
iwconfig eth0 txpower off channel 0 \
while killall wpa_supplicant; do echo 'Killing wpa_sup'; done \
killall udhcpc \
wpa_supplicant -i eth0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -D wext -B \
sleep 10; udhcpc"

Now it is working every time. I am using 2008.latest (081004) and a linksys WAP54G accesspoint,

Use a different channel

"Could not get it to work properly on channel 11, so I set my accesspoint to channel 1."

Make your WIFI more reliable

After boot or before connecting do:

wmiconfig -i eth0 --power maxperf

of course you need to find wmiconfig or to compile it

eth0 doesn't show up

If a "config -a" or "lshw -c network" doesn't show the wlan interface (eth0) you might need to bind it first:

echo s3c2440-sdi > /sys/bus/platform/drivers/s3c2440-sdi/bind

If you are using FSO try using dbus.

root@om-gta02:~$cat scripts/ 
 mdbus -s org.freesmartphone.odeviced /org/freesmartphone/Device/PowerControl/WiFi  org.freesmartphone.Resource.Enable

Wake up from wireless (wow)

Wi-Fi module constantly drain currents after module power up, for wi-fi SIP phone or some application need long standby time, will need wake up from wireless function for power saving. There is a sleep mode that Ar6k supported for wake up from wireless.
export ATH_CROSS_COMPILE_TYPE=arm-angstrom-linux-gnueabi-

Debian package:

dpkg -i wmiconfig_0.0.18-1_armel.deb

Basically, it's achieved via wmiconfig tool to issue IOCTL if we want ar6k wifi module to generate interrupt to host controller. The procedure to enable wakeup-on-wireless(wow) is listed here:

1. wmiconfig --sethostmode asleep /* to tell ar6k what host's current is */
2. wmiconfig --setwowmode enable /* enable wow function */
3. wmiconfig --addwowpattern 0 1 33 01 ff /* add packet filter pattern, this is the ICMP filter pattern */
4. apm -s
5. ping IP_of_Neo
6. The GPIO1 pin would be pulled up. The system would resume then.
7. wmiconfig --sethostmode awake /* The firmware of ar6k will pull low the GPIO1 pin */

--addwowpattern <list-id> <pattern-size> <pattern-offset> <pattern> <pattern-mask>

Here are some addwowpattern commands:

Protocol type=IP=0800 Protocol type in IP header=ICMP=01

- To filter for IP packets(offset 22)
wmiconfig --addwowpattern 0 2 22 0800 ffff
- To filter for ICMP packets (offset 33)
wmiconfig --addwowpattern 0 1 33 01 ff

A very ugly /etc/init.d/wlan startscript

# wlan	This shell script starts and stops wlan.
# processname: wlan

# Source function library.
#. /etc/rc.d/init.d/functions
# "written" by HdR


# test -f /etc/default/$prog && . /etc/default/$prog

start() {
	echo -n "Starting $prog: "
	ifconfig eth0 up
	wpa_supplicant -ieth0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -B
	sleep 10
	udhcpc -i eth0
	return $RETVAL

stop() {
	# Stop daemons.
	echo -n "Shutting down $prog: "
        killall wpa_supplicant
	ifconfig eth0 down
#        killproc gpsd
	return $RETVAL

# See how we were called.
case "$1" in
	echo "Usage: $0 {start|stop|restart}"
	exit 1

exit $RETVAL

Note: Don't forget to make this script executable with "chmod +x <filename>"

Route internet connection through Wifi rather than USB

Wifi is faster than USB, so it is a good idea to tell the FreeRunner to connect through it. Put the following in /etc/network/interfaces under eth0:

 up route del default gw

This will remove your computer as the default gateway and use the wireless one when the interface is brought up. User nickd reports that sometimes it fails so he has had to put it in twice.

ssh into FR over Other Network Interfaces

dropbear, the ssh server, is configured to listen on the USB interface only. Wireless interfaces like wlan or bluetooth are disabled for security reasons (empty root password). Therefore:

  • Be careful with this config file since it can close the only door into your phone.
  • Set a root password!

ssh into FR over WiFi Only

Change the /etc/default/dropbear from:

 DROPBEAR_PORT=`ip addr list usb0 | awk 'BEGIN { FS="[ /]+" } /inet / { print  $3 }'`:22

(which actually only prepends the usb0 ip address before the :22)


 DROPBEAR_PORT=`ip addr list eth0 | awk 'BEGIN { FS="[ /]+" } /inet / { print  $3 }'`:22

(which now prepends the eth0 (WLAN interface) ip address before the :22)

ssh into FR over Any Network Interface

Change the /etc/default/dropbear from:

 DROPBEAR_PORT=`ip addr list usb0 | awk 'BEGIN { FS="[ /]+" } /inet / { print  $3 }'`:22

(which actually only prepends the usb0 ip address before the :22)



See also

  • KnjMokoWifi GUI interface to administer WiFi connections
  • wmiconfig Atheros utility to config the wifi chip used in Neo FreeRunner
  • Lint-wifi GUI interface to administer WiFi connections
  • Mofi GUI interface to administer WiFi connections
  • Camp-Wifi GUI interface to administer WiFi connections

External links

Personal tools