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How can I connect to a hidden wireless network on Kubuntu? I have 9.10 64bit installed, and have the information for the network (e.g. SSID and key) because I've already connected to it on Windows.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There seems to be general issue with KDE's Network Manager and hidden wireless networks - you can see (and vote for!) the bug here:

I also have the problem using Kubuntu (both 9.10 and now on 10.04 beta) and have found installing the network manager from Gnome/Ubuntu makes it connect. An even easier solution would of cause be to just start broadcasting the SSID (as far as I know it doesn't really add much protection anyway, but I can't configure the router at work).

Hope more people will vote for this bug and that someone will fix it!

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This maybe helps:

sudo iwconfig wlan0 essid name_of_the_hidden_essid

Things to note:

  • sudo runs the command as an administrator.
  • iwconfig allows you to configure the wireless interface.
  • The identifier wlan0 can be something like eth1, execute the iwconfig command for a list.
  • essid is the name of the Extended Service Set Identification.

More information on essid can be found in this Wikipedia article, and man iwconfig.

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Create the connection in connection manager, with all correct settings,

then in terminal: (replace hidden_ssid with the actual SSID of the network)

sudo iwlist wlan0 scan essid *HIDDEN_SSID*

Then go back to network manager. It should now show the hidden network.

Click on it to connect.

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Since this question seems popular, I want to provide an update:

In newer version of KDE (4.6+, as far as I know), this bug is now gone. You can connect to a hidden network just using the plasma widget. If you're on an old version of KDE, upgrading is probably the best bet--there are some other new features that make it worth it.

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If you have control over the network, you should enable the SSID. This article @ Technet explains why it's actually a security vulnerability to hide the SSID.

In short: it's easy to discover the SSID because as part of the standard, machines must broadcast the SSID in order to connect to it (so someone just has to listen for a machine that's already connected to reconnect)

The security vulnerability comes with this: "If the wireless APs are configured as non-broadcast, each of the 500 Windows XP or Windows Server 2003-based laptops would periodically advertise the enterprise’s wireless network name, regardless of their location (in the office, at a wireless hotspot, or at home)." (Source)

A new part of the standard states that machines may refuse to connect to a router not broadcasting SSID.

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