Friday, January 28, 2011

Connect your Cr-48 to WPA/WPA2 Enterprise Networks

David Burrow at the University of Utah has figured out how to connect the Cr-48 to a corporate WPA or WPA2 network. As we've seen with other features, it seems that while the Chrome OS GUI interface doesn't support networks requiring a username and password, the underlying OS structure does. I was able to follow David's instructions to connect to my workplace WiFi network, meaning I could finally use my Cr-48 for Intranet work instead of being restricted to guest mode, Internet only. Please note that this is not an easy process, if you don't know what you're doing and aren't willing to take the initiative to figure this out on your own, it may be best to wait for Google to add GUI support. I'll help where I can but remotely troubleshooting connection issues is nearly impossible so you're just going to need to keep trying different settings. Dave's instructions are quite detailed so I won't repeat them here but a few points:

  • WiFi networks vary in terms of their configuration so you'll have to experiment with the various set_network commands. I found it very helpful to have an Ubuntu laptop (you might be able to use Ubuntu installed on the Cr-48 but it's going to mean lots of rebooting) connect to the Enterprise network first. Once you get it working in Ubuntu make sure "Available to all users" is checked for that WiFi profile. Now look in /etc/NetworkManager/system-connections/ (may need to be root) and you should see a configuration file for that network. Compare the settings in that file with the commands David has, you'll need to tweak his commands to match your network.
  • Once you figure out the exact commands necessary to get wpa_cli to connect, you can create a script that does it for you. Save the file to /mnt/stateful_partition. It should look something like:
    wpa_cli "set_network 1 ssid "MyWorkSSID"
    wpa_cli "set_network 1 scan_ssid 1"
    You'll need to experiment with what works here.
Be sure to share what works or didn't work for you in the comments (watch that you don't post your password though!)