Getting WEP to work with Linux

Jim Carter jimc at
Fri Jun 20 01:58:53 EST 2003

On Thu, 19 Jun 2003, Andrew Pollock wrote:
> Both are capable of 64-bit WEP. The access point's management interface
> wants a string of 10 hex characters, and I input the same 10 character's
> into the Avaya card's management interface under Windows 2000 and
> everything works fine.
> I'm trying to get it work under Linux, and I'm unsure of how to express
> the WEP key in /etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts. Do I express it with the "s:"
> prefix or not?

If you're giving the key as ASCII it would be like this (omitting other
important parameters in the examples):

    iwconfig eth1 key "s:gAtEs"

(For this example there are no shell-specific chars so the quotes are not
really needed, but I put them in from habit.)  The same with hex could be
done like this:

    iwconfig eth1 key "6741744573"
    iwconfig eth1 key "6741-7445-73"

i.e. the hyphens are optional.  For 104/128 bit WEP you just give 13
bytes or 26 hex digits.  Similarly if setting the key in
/etc/pcmcia/wireless.opts -- KEY="s:stuff" or KEY=6741744573.  For
inferring the key length from the output of iwconfig, it's implicit in the
displayed key (which is always in hex with hyphens).

I have a writeup on setting up wireless cards:

James F. Carter          Voice 310 825 2897    FAX 310 206 6673
UCLA-Mathnet;  6115 MSA; 405 Hilgard Ave.; Los Angeles, CA, USA  90095-1555
Email: jimc at (q.v. for PGP key)

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