How to automatically reconnect WiFi?

  • I'm using my pi to monitor my power meters. Data is transferred to PC by WiFi connection using Edimax EW-7811UN USB adapter. When the Wifi connection drops (switched off over night, or shaky connection), the USB adapter remains disabled.

    Is there a way to restart the WiFi connection automatically without re-plugging the WiFi adapter?

  • goldilocks

    goldilocks Correct answer

    8 years ago

    I prefer to disable most of the network auto configuration and connection management daemon stuff and deal with it myself. Here's a (bash) script that will keep the connection up as long as the network is there and you do not have a glitchy wifi driver or power issues; the idea is to ping the router every N seconds, and if that fails, re-connect:

    # make sure we aren't running already
    what=`basename $0`
    for p in `ps h -o pid -C $what`; do
            if [ $p != $$ ]; then
                    exit 0
    # source configuration
    . /etc/wifi.conf
    exec 1> /dev/null
    exec 2>> $log
    echo $(date) > $log
    # without check_interval set, we risk a 0 sleep = busy loop
    if [ ! "$check_interval" ]; then
            echo "No check interval set!" >> $log
            exit 1
    startWifi () {
            dhclient -v -r
        # make really sure
            killall dhclient
            iwconfig $wlan essid $essid
            dhclient -v $wlan
    ifconfig $eth down
    ifconfig $wlan up
    while [ 1 ]; do
            ping -c 1 $router_ip & wait $!
            if [ $? != 0 ]; then
                    echo $(date)" attempting restart..." >> $log
                    sleep 1
            else sleep $check_interval

    So, /etc/wifi.conf in this case might contain:


    This all presumes an open unencrypted network (if otherwise, you will have to add the appropriate commands). I've used this approach on various linux machines, including the pi, and it works flawlessly; it will keep a system online indefinitely, even if it periodically goes to sleep (which the pi cannot anyway).

    A decent check interval is 3-5 seconds; this activity will not significantly impact system resources at all.

    You absolutely do need to disable the network auto-configuration first, . including ifplugd and other networking daemons, or this will interfere with your efforts:

    How can I disable autoconfigured networking on Raspbian?

    I in fact used apt-get remove ifplugd.

    To start networking at boot (since I use the pi headless), I have this set to run on raspbian from /etc/rc.local:

    wifi_mod=`lsmod | grep 8192cu`
    if [ "$wifi_mod" ]; then
            echo "Starting wifi..."
            /usr/bin/nice -n -10 /usr/local/bin/wifi &
            echo "Starting ethernet..."
            /sbin/ifconfig eth0 up
            /sbin/dhclient eth0

    /usr/local/bin/wifi is the script. If you don't know what nice is for, read man nice.

    The point of the if is that if my wifi dongle is plugged into the pi, the 8192cu module will be loaded by the kernel at this point -- so wifi should start. If not, then it's assumed that the ethernet is plugged in and should be used (if it is isn't, dhclient will just crap out and there is no network access).

    For this to work you will probably have to

    So, this gets a headless pi onto the network at boot and keeps it there. If you wanted a way to switch to eth while running without logging in, you could do something with udev rules for pulling the wifi dongle out.

    Sounds worth testing. Not being a linux pro- how would I set the script to run on startup- put into cron? Would it be possible/required to add log rotation as well?

    @andig : I added a few paragraphs about start-up via `rc.local`. WRT log rotation, that is a separate question that relates to log files in general (but see `man logrotate`). Right now that script will *clobber* (overwrite) any previous log if it exists with the same path, not append. For debugging I've sometimes used `wifi.$$.log` in the wifi.conf file, so that the last log is (unlikely) to get clobbered and I can compare one session to another after I've tweaked something. `$$` is the pid of the "wifi" process.

    I worry that sometimes shell scripts can be fragile and break in hard to see ways when there are updates or if other networking software is installed. Just a note of caution on this approach.

    @jeremiah : That's a good fear. I wrote the script, tweaked it over years, and feel I have some understanding of general context in which it operates and therefore what I need to watch out for. However, it is probably harder to pass on understanding than code snippets. To me it is just an alternative approach to trying to work with NetworkManager, by reducing the situation to some very basic elements. This is something to offer people with a similar perspective as "this is what's worked for me" across the linux distro spectrum in the circumstance of a simple stand-alone system.

    So: I am aware of this post and intend to keep it updated if one of the major distro streams (debia and fedora and derived) introduces something that messes with it. I will also add some emphasis to the points about what needs to be disabled and how.

  • Well, there is a very simple solution:

    1. Go to /etc/ifplugd/action.d/ and rename the ifupdown file to ifupdown.original
    2. Then do: cp /etc/wpa_supplicant/ ./ifupdown
    3. Finally: sudo reboot

    That's all. Test this by turning off/on your AP; you should see that your Raspberry Pi properly reconnects.

    This is the simplest and most effective answer. Tested on 2 Rpi's and it works. Found this link from:;t=16054&start=25

    Sorry for a simplistic question - why does this work?

    @JeffMeatballYang, start a new thread for your question.

    I'm getting wpa_supplicant: unknown mode: "" when I run the wpa_supplicant version. normal one doesn't give the message.

    For me there were no ifupdown file there, just a link `action_wpa -> ../../wpa_supplicant/`, so maybe this is the default now ?

    It could be things have changed in the latest release. I haven't checked it for a long time. Which RPi and OS do you use?

    I confirm @Zitrax reply: on RPi 3 it is a symlink to ../../wpa_supplicant/

    It's been a long time my friends :) But I tested it on RPi 1 B version. I assume it works also for RPi 2, but I have never tested it on RPi 3.

    I don't confirm that it works by default on RPi3 Jessie.

    Yep, like others say: this does not work on `dhcpcd` based distros, in order to get this running on RPI3 you need to `apt-get install rcconf` and switch from `dhcpcd` to `networking`

  • I recently stumbled across a console application that sorts all the wireless configuration hell out. You can also use this tool to configure the LAN interface.

    sudo apt-get install wicd-curses

    It will install quite a few other packages and run its own daemon in the background but it sure makes configuring everything a whole lot easier. Run it with

    sudo wicd-curses

    enter image description here

    If you get a message saying no networks detected press P (must be capital so use [SHIFT]p) and type in wlan0 in the wireless interface field and press F10 to save.

    1. R to refresh the list.
    2. Use the cursors on the keyboard to navigate up and down the list
    3. Press right to configure the wireless connection
    4. Press down a few times and check "Automatically connect to this network"
    5. Press down a few times again and type in your password in the key field
    6. Press F10 to save

    enter image description here

    You might have to press C to connect to the access point. If you were wired that will most likely kill the LAN interface and bring up wireless.

    It is also manages the connection so it will reconnect to any configured wireless access points if it drops out for whatever reason.

    I tested plugging out the WiFi adapter and plugging it back in. It takes about 60~90 seconds but it will connect back to WiFi (I think the LAN must be unplugged though)

    Hope it helps!

    Not sure how that takes care of the reconnection- initial connect wasn't the question here!

    I updated the answer because there is a step where you have to check connect automatically. Also in preferences you should scroll all the way down. The last option is off screen. It also says Automatically try to connect to networks for Wifi(it is ON by default). I can even take out the WiFi adapter plug in back in and it will reconnect within 2 minutes.(I did this without LAN plugged in) This is really the best way I have found to configure and manage wireless. You also get the GUI version just called `wicd`

    there's a typo in the command "sudo wicd-cruses" 'u' and 'r' are exchanged

    After installing `wicd-curses`, my RPi 3 started freezing randomly. Was never freezing before and freezing disappeared immediately once I uninstalled it. Beware!

    After installing wicd-curses, my RPi 3s running Jessie Lite have not frozen and do stay connected. But today I tried connecting to one by the ethernet port, and found the interface would be lost a few seconds after boot. I was able to connect fine before configuring wicd-curses to connect to wifi.

  • This can be solved with no extra scripts.

    In /etc/network/interfaces put:

    allow-hotplug wlan0 iface wlan0 inet manual wpa-roam /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf iface default inet dhcp

    The roaming allows the interface to self-heal.

    The last line seems to add a second IP address to the wlan0 interface; is that intentional?

    I only end up with one DHCP-assigned address. It wouldn't surprise me entirely if the boot scripts have changed behaviour though - this config file is unnecessarily arcane...

    On my raspbian pi2 box, if the wlan goes down long enough for three cycles of authentication attempts to fail, even with "wpa-roam" it doesn't try again.

    This is the only answer that worked for me on RPi 3. Thanks!

  • netcfg

    Try netcfg. Without further details about which distribution you are using, I can't provide many more details, but it should do what you want.

    I'm using the current raspbian distro: [email protected] ~ $ man netcfg No manual entry for netcfg [email protected] ~ $ netcfg -bash: netcfg: command not found [email protected] ~ $ apt-cache search netcfg [email protected] ~ $

  • Another solution, as extracted from this one.
    First configure your wifi settings: sudo vi /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf adding a section like this:


    Then your network settings with sudo vi /etc/dhcpcd.conf:

    interface wlan0
    inform # the static ip for the wifi card
    static routers= # your router's ip
    static domain_name_servers= # your dns, usually=your router

    Then create this script file somewhere, for example in /home/pi/ and give it +x permission to be executable.

    router=`ip route | awk '/default/ {print $3}'`
    /bin/ping -q -c1 $router > /dev/null
    if [ $? -eq  0 ]
      # echo "Network OK"
      echo "Network down, fixing..."
      # ifdown --force wlan0
      # sleep 5
      /bin/kill -9 `pidof wpa_supplicant`
      /sbin/ifup --force wlan0
      /sbin/ip route add default via $router dev wlan0
      /bin/mount -a
      echo "wlan0 reconnected at `date`"

    Then login as root with sudo su and edit root's crontab with crontab -e.
    At the end of this file add this line:

    10 * * * * /home/pi/

    That means: "execute that script every 10 minutes (as root)"

    Now, if you have a connection then the script will exit and nothing will happen. If you can't ping your router then the script will try to reconnect to it using wpa_supplicant.

    Notice that everything that is echoed from a cron script (in this case only when disconnected) will be emailed to root. So if you have configured your mail aliases and postscript then you will receive an email whenever your pi's wifi connection went down and then succefully back again thanks to the script.

  • This worked for me, using Raspian Jessie on 30.March.2017:

    Please summarize the solution in your post, in case the link goes dead.

    CMB, welcome to the RPi flavored corner of StackExchange. Site policy discourages link only answers as they're subject to link rot. You don't need to duplicate the contents of the link, but a good answer should at least expand on the highlights contained in the link.

    Further to Jacobm001's comment above, in keeping with our policy regarding informationless link-only answers, if this post is not edited to contain information that can stand as an answer, however minimal, in 48 hours it will be converted to Community Wiki to simplify having it corrected by the community.

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM