There is a GUI tool in the desktop called “wpa_gui” which can be used to connect to the wireless network provided you have a supported wireless card attached to the RPi. However, if I want to run a headless RPi I would need a static IP address. Unfortunately “wpa_gui” does not provide me a means of configuring static IP address on the “wan0″ interface and my ADSL router does not support associating a static IP address with a MAC Address. This means I have to use static IP address configured on my wireless interface on the RPi and have to do it the old fashioned way (read I am loving it).
Open up the “/etc/network/interfaces” file and make the following entries. The commented lines are the one’s which were added by the “wpa_gui” and we don’t need them. If you have little Debian experience, you will find these lines self explanatory:
auto lo iface lo inet loopback #auto eth0 iface eth0 inet static address eth0 192.168.1.52 netmask 255.255.255.0 gateway 192.168.1.1 auto wlan0 allow-hotplug wlan0 iface wlan0 inet static address 192.168.1.51 netmask 255.255.255.0 gateway 192.168.1.1 wpa-ssid "My SSID" wpa-passphrase "My Passphrase"
I have added a static IP address configuration line for the eth0 interface also, so that in case someday I connect my RPi to physical connection I will just bring my eth0 interface up and have an IP address. The reason I have commented the “auto eth0″ line is because in case a physical interface is up, the default route of the system is always through the physical interface i.e eth0 in this case. So, if my WiFi is up, I want my packets to go in/out through WiFi by default and not through “eth0″ (by the way it does not matter if you have connected the cable physically or not, if the physical interface is up, it is the default route out). Of-course we can prevent that, but it is going to be a little bit complicated, so we are going to just comment out auto line to make sure that the “eth0″ does not come up. It is also possible to have both “eth0″ and “wlan0″ run simultaneously, but again it is a bit complicated for this post and I do not need that anyway.
Now you can restart the networking or reboot the RPi and your WiFi should come up with the static IP address.