My Garage Server and WPA

I have a Debian server sitting in my garage, and I just updated my wireless router. Once upon a time I used WEP for all my wireless security needs. Yes, it was rather simple of me, but it did its job. At the time I had FiOS and felt worldly enough to share to those deserving (no, I don’t have FiOS anymore).

Today I have a more realistic view. I’m finally migrating to WPA. But what about that server in my garage? It literally have one wire coming from it, and that’s the power cord. It uses a cheap wireless card I picked up from Best Buy for a song (yes, it is a WG311 compatible card, how did you know?). The antenna sticks out from the back and picks up whatever signal it can find.

Since there is no monitor attached, I shut it down (correctly, halt -p and all) to move it inside. I hooked it up to a monitor and keyboard, booted it up, watched the out-of-date kernel spit out information that still makes me cringe. Finally, I logged in and tried to figure out how to make this darn old machine use WPA.

I use ndiswrapper to use Windows drivers on my Linux box. Why? Excellent question. Because I have to. Well, I don’t have to, but I want a quick-and-dirty solution, and ndiswrapper provides just such an option!

On to WPA. In this case, Google is my friend.

I came across this article at Ubuntu Portal. Since I run Debian, it wasn’t a stretch to get things going. It was helpful enough for a post. So if you’re in the same situation, check it out.

More? Oh, alright.

$ wpa_passphrase SSID myPassword > /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
$ wpa_supplicant -Dwext -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf -dd

If it connects, use control - c to exit.

Next, pull out your favorite editor (mine is emacs), and edit /etc/network/interfaces.

I like to use static IP address for my internal network (for the desktops, anyhow), so mine looks similar to this:
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static
pre-up wpa_supplicant -Bw -Dwext -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
post-down killall -q wpa_supplicant

Of course, it’s your network. Use whatever static IP you want. Well, so long as it’s behind your router.


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