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Hidden Networks

A wireless network may be hidden. This does not make the network more secure, but it is occasionally done.

Unlike normal networks, a hidden network will not be visible in the Neighborhood View.

To connect to a hidden network, follow the steps in the section below that corresponds to the operating system version on the XO.

10.1.3 and 11.2.0

Using a hidden network in GNOME is straightforward; left-click on the wireless icon and select "Connect to Hidden Wireless Network...".

Using a hidden network in Sugar is far more complex. You must switch to GNOME, reconfigure Network Manager, restart Network Manager, connect to the hidden network, mark the network available to all users, then switch back to Sugar.

The procedure in detail is:

  • Use "My Settings" to switch to GNOME,
  • Edit the file /etc/NetworkManager/nm-system-settings.conf
sudo gedit /etc/NetworkManager/nm-system-settings.conf
  • Change plugins=ifcfg-rh to plugins=keyfile, then save,
  • Restart Network Manager,
sudo /etc/init.d/NetworkManager restart
  • Locate the wireless icon, it should be to the left of the date and time on the top right of the screen,
  • Left-click on the wireless icon and select "Connect to Hidden Wireless Network...", and a window with that title will appear,
  • Enter the hidden network name and click on "Connect", and the wireless LED should flicker and then glow,
  • Verify you can reach the internet using Firefox or some other GNOME application,
  • Right-click on the wireless icon and select "Edit connections...'", and a "Network Connections" window will appear,
  • Click on the "Wireless" tab,
  • Click on the hidden network entry you created, then on "Edit", and an "Editing hidden" window will appear,
  • Turn on "Connect automatically", if it isn't already, (near the top of the window),
  • Turn on "Available to all users", (near the bottom of the window), and;
  • Click "Apply",
  • Switch back to Sugar.

The connection to the hidden network will be made automatically whenever the laptop is booted, regardless of whether Sugar or GNOME is running. The connection will remain active over restart of Sugar or GNOME.


Every time the laptop is started up, a hidden network must be manually added through the Terminal Activity:

su -l
/etc/init.d/NetworkManager stop
/sbin/iwconfig eth0 mode managed essid myhiddennetwork
/sbin/dhclient eth0

After this, Neighborhood View should show any other XOs on the same access point, and Browse should be able to reach the internet. A symbol for the access point will not be displayed.

See also

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