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From the netcfg man page:

netcfg is used to configure and manage network connections via profiles. It has pluggable support for a range of connection types, such as wireless, ethernet, ppp. It is also capable of starting/stopping many to one connections, that is, multiple connections within the same profile, optionally with bonding.

netcfg is useful for users seeking a simple and robust means of managing multiple network configurations (e.g. laptop users). For systems connecting to a single network, the network daemon may be more appropriate.


In the simplest cases, users must at least know the name of their network interface(s) (e.g. eth0, wlan0). If configuring a static IP address, gateway and name server addresses must also be known.

If connecting to a wireless network, have some basic information ready. For a wireless network this includes what type of security is used, the network name (SSID), and any password or encryption keys. Additionally, ensure the proper drivers and firmware are installed for the wireless device, as described in Wireless Setup.


Ensure you have the latest version of netcfg installed. Older versions have more bugs and may not work well with the latest drivers. The Template:Package Official package is available in core:

# pacman -S netcfg

As of version 2.5.x, optional dependencies include Template:Package Official – required for automatic/roaming wireless connection – and Template:Package Official – required for automatic ethernet configuration. (More information.)

# pacman -S wpa_actiond ifplugd


Network profiles are stored in the Template:Filename directory. To minimize the potential for errors, copy an example configuration from Template:Filename to Template:Filename. The file name is the name of the network profile ("mynetwork" is used as an example throughout this article). The name is not a network setting and does not need to match the wireless network name (SSID).

Depending on the connection type and security, use one of the following examples from Template:Filename as a base. Be wary of examples found on the Internet as they often contain deprecated options that may cause problems.

Connection type/security Example profile
Wireless; WEP hex key Template:Filename
Wireless; WEP string key Template:Filename
Wireless; WPA personal (passphrase) Template:Filename
Wireless; WPA enterprise Template:Filename (wpa_supplicant configuration is external)
Template:Filename (wpa_supplicant configuration stored as string)
Wired; DHCP Template:Filename
Wired; static IP Template:Filename
Wired; iproute configuration Template:Filename

Next, modify the new configuration file, Template:Filename:

Note: Netcfg configurations are valid Bash scripts. Any configuration involving special characters such as $ or \ needs to be quoted correctly otherwise it will be interpreted by Bash. To avoid interpretation, use single quotes or backslash escape characters where appropriate.
Note: Network information (e.g. wireless passkey) will be stored in plain text format, so users may want to change the permissions on the newly created profile (e.g. Template:Codeline to make it readable by root only).


To connect a profile:

# netcfg mynetwork

To disconnect a profile:

# netcfg down <profile-name>

If successful, users can configure netcfg to connect automatically or during boot. If the connection fails, see #Troubleshooting for solutions and how to get help.

For other functions, see:

$ netcfg help

Connecting automatically

Several methods are available to users wanting to automatically connect network profiles (e.g. during boot or whilst roaming). Note that a network profile must be properly configured within the Template:Filename directory first (see #Configuration).

Tip: If enabling one of the following daemons and nothing is configured within the Template:Codeline array in Template:Filename, you may remove the Template:Codeline daemon from the Template:Codeline array. If you mount NFS shares during boot, ensure the Template:Codeline daemon remains listed, though (otherwise the network will be dropped before unmounting shares during shutdown).


Template:Codeline allows users to connect profiles during boot.

To enable this feature, users must add Template:Codeline to the Template:Codeline array in rc.conf and specify profiles to try in the Template:Codeline array:


Alternatively, Template:Codeline can be configured to display a menu – allowing users to choose a desired profile – by setting the contents of the Template:Codeline array to Template:Codeline:


Additionally, the Template:Package Official package is required.

Tip: Access the menu at any time by running Template:Codeline in a terminal.


Template:Codeline allows users to automatically connect to wireless networks with proper roaming support.

To enable this feature, users must add Template:Codeline to the Template:Codeline array in rc.conf and specify the desired wireless interface with the Template:Codeline variable:


Additionally, the Template:Package Official package is required. Note that wpa-config profiles does not work with net-auto-wireless. Convert them to wpa-configsection instead.


Template:Codeline allows users to automatically connect to wired networks.

To enable this feature, users must add Template:Codeline to the Template:Codeline array in rc.conf and specify the desired wired interface with the Template:Codeline variable:


Additionally, the Template:Package Official package is required.

Tips and tricks

Passing arguments to iwconfig before connecting

Simply add the following to a profile:


Where Template:Codeline can be any valid Template:Codeline argument. The script then runs Template:Codeline.

For example, force the card to register to a specific access point given by MAC address:

IWCONFIG="ap 12:34:56:78:90:12"

This supersedes the Template:Codeline and Template:Codeline options which were incompletely implemented.

rfkill (enable/disable radio power)

netcfg can enable/disable radio for wireless cards equipped with software control of radio. For wireless cards with hardware switches, netcfg can detect disabled hardware switches and fail accordingly.

To enable rfkill support, you need to specify what sort of switch the wireless interface has; hardware or software. This can be set within a profile or at the interface level (Template:Filename; see #Per-interface configuration).

RFKILL=soft # can be either 'hard' or 'soft'

For some kill switches the rfkill entry in Template:Filename is not linked to the interface and the Template:Codeline variable needs to be set to the contents of the matching Template:Filename.

For example, on an Eee PC:


Execute commands before/after interface up/down

If your interface requires special actions prior/after the establishment/closure of a connection, you may use the Template:Codeline, Template:Codeline, Template:Codeline, and Template:Codeline variables.

For example, if you want to configure your wireless card to operate in ad-hoc mode but you can only change modes when the interface is down, you could use something like this:

PRE_UP="ifconfig wlan0 down; iwconfig wlan0 mode ad-hoc"

Or if you want to mount your network shares after a successful connection, you could use:

POST_UP="sleep 5; mount /mnt/shares/nexus/utorrent 2>/dev/null"
Note: If the commands specified in these properties return anything other than 0 (success), netcfg aborts the current operation. So if you want to mount a certain network share that might not be available at the time of connection (thus returning an error), you could create a separate Bash script with the mount commands and a Template:Codeline at the end. Alternatively you can add Template:Codeline to the end of the command that may fail.

Per-interface configuration

Configuration options that apply to all profiles using an interface can be set using Template:Filename. For example:


This is useful for Template:Codeline options, rfkill switch support, pre/post up/down scripts and Template:Codeline. These options are loaded before profiles so that any profile-based options will take priority.

Template:Filename may contain any valid profile option, though you are likely to use Template:Codeline/Template:Codeline and Template:Codeline/Template:Codeline (described in the previous section) or one of the options listed below. Remember that these options are set for all profiles using the interface; you probably do not want to connect to your work VPN here, for instance, as it will try to connect on every wireless network!

WPA_GROUP   - Setting the group of the wpa_ctrl interface
WPA_COUNTRY - Enforces local regulatory limitations and allows use of more channels
WPA_DRIVER  - Defaults to wext, may want nl80211 for mac80211 devices

Output hooks

netcfg has limited support to load hooks that handle output. By default it loads the Template:Filename hook which provides the familiar output that you see. A syslog logging hook is also included. These can be found at Template:Filename.

ArchAssitant (GUI)

A Qt-based netcfg front-end called ArchAssistant exists. It proposes to manage and connect/disconnect profiles from a systray icon. Automatic wireless detection is also available. This tool is particularly useful for laptop users.


There is also a relatively new GUI for netcfg2 on that does only network configuration. You can find it here.


There is a console tool for selecting wireless networks in "real-time" (in NetworkManager manner) called wifi-select. The tool is convenient for use in Internet cafés or other places you are visiting for the first (and maybe the last) time. With this tool, you do not need to create a profile for a new network, just type Template:Codeline and choose the network you need.

The tool is currently packaged and available in [community] repository. To install:

# pacman -S wifi-select

wifi-select does the following:

  • parses iwlist scan results and presents list of networks along with its security settings (WPA/WEP/none) using dialog
  • if user selects network with existing profile -- just use this profile to connect with netcfg
  • if user selects a new network (for example, WiFi hotspot), wifi-select automatically generates new profile with corresponding $SECURITY and asks for the key (if needed). It uses DHCP as $IP by default
  • then, if connection succeeds, profile is saved for later usage
  • if connection fails, user is asked if he/she wants to keep generated profile for further usage (for example to change $IP to static or adjust some additional options)




To run netcfg with debugging output, set the Template:Codeline environment variable to Template:Codeline, for example:

# NETCFG_DEBUG="yes" netcfg <arguments>

Debugging information for wpa_supplicant can be logged using Template:Codeline within a profile, for example:


Whatever is entered here will be added to the command when wpa_supplicant is called.

Network unavailable

This error is typically due to:

  • Out of range
  • Driver issue
  • Trying to connect to a hidden network

If you know your network is hidden, set:


Wireless association failed

This error is typically due to:

  • Out of range/reception
  • Incorrect configuration
  • Invalid key
  • Driver problem

If it is a range problem, increasing Template:Codeline can help.

Unable to get IP address with DHCP

This error is typically due to:

  • Out of range/reception

Try increasing Template:Codeline.

Not a valid connection, check spelling or look at examples

You must set Template:Codeline to one of the connection types listed in the Template:Filename directory. Alternatively, use one of the provided configuration examples in Template:Filename.

Driver quirks

Note: You most likely do not need quirks; ensure your configuration is correct before considering them. Quirks are intended for a small range of drivers with unusual issues, many of them older versions. These are workarounds, not solutions.

Some drivers behave oddly and need workarounds to connect. Quirks must be enabled manually. They are best determined by reading the forums, seeing what others have used, and, if that fails, trial and error. Quirks can be combined.

Run Template:Codeline before attempting to connect (broadcom)
Run Template:Codeline before attempting to connect (ipw3945 and Intel PRO/Wireless 4965AGN)
Same as previous, run before starting Template:Codeline. Not supported anymore - use
instead. (ath9k)
Take interface down before association and then restore it after (madwifi)
Sleep one second before checking if the association was successful
Run Template:Codeline after associating

For example:

QUIRKS=(prescan preessid)

If you receive "Wireless network not found" or "Association failed" errors and have tried the above, try:


If an AP with a hidden SSID is used, try


Ralink legacy drivers rt2500, rt2400 that use iwpriv

There is no plans to add WPA support to these drivers. rt2x00 is supported, however, and will replace these.

If you must use them, create a shell script that runs the needed Template:Codeline commands and put its path in Template:Codeline.

It still doesn't work, what do I do?

If this article did not help solve your problem, the next best place to ask for help is the forums or the mailing list.

To be able to determine the problem, we need information. When you ask, provide the following output:

  • ALL OUTPUT FROM netcfg
  • ALL OUTPUT FROM netcfg
  • ALL OUTPUT FROM netcfg
    • This is absolutely crucial to be able determine what went wrong. The message might be short or non-existent, but it can mean a great deal.
  • Template:Filename network profiles
    • This is also crucial as many problems are simple configuration issues. Feel free to censor your wireless key.
  • netcfg version
  • Template:Codeline
  • Template:Codeline