wpa_cli - WPA command line client
wpa_cli [ -p path to ctrl sockets ] [ -g path to global ctrl_interface
socket ] [ -i ifname ] [ -hvB ] [ -a action file ] [ -P pid file ] [ -G
ping interval ] [ command ... ]
wpa_cli is a text-based frontend program for interacting with wpa_sup-
plicant. It is used to query current status, change configuration,
trigger events, and request interactive user input.
wpa_cli can show the current authentication status, selected security
mode, dot11 and dot1x MIBs, etc. In addition, it can configure some
variables like EAPOL state machine parameters and trigger events like
reassociation and IEEE 802.1X logoff/logon. wpa_cli provides a user
interface to request authentication information, like username and
password, if these are not included in the configuration. This can be
used to implement, e.g., one-time-passwords or generic token card
authentication where the authentication is based on a challenge-
response that uses an external device for generating the response.
The control interface of wpa_supplicant can be configured to allow non-
root user access (ctrl_interface GROUP= parameter in the configuration
file). This makes it possible to run wpa_cli with a normal user
wpa_cli supports two modes: interactive and command line. Both modes
share the same command set and the main difference is in interactive
mode providing access to unsolicited messages (event messages, user-
Interactive mode is started when wpa_cli is executed without including
the command as a command line parameter. Commands are then entered on
the wpa_cli prompt. In command line mode, the same commands are entered
as command line arguments for wpa_cli.
INTERACTIVE AUTHENTICATION PARAMETERS REQUEST
When wpa_supplicant need authentication parameters, like username and
password, which are not present in the configuration file, it sends a
request message to all attached frontend programs, e.g., wpa_cli in
interactive mode. wpa_cli shows these requests with "CTRL-
REQ-<type>-<id>:<text>" prefix. <type> is IDENTITY, PASSWORD, or OTP
(one-time-password). <id> is a unique identifier for the current net-
work. <text> is description of the request. In case of OTP request, it
includes the challenge from the authentication server.
The reply to these requests can be given with identity, password, and
otp commands. <id> needs to be copied from the matching request. pass-
word and otp commands can be used regardless of whether the request was
for PASSWORD or OTP. The main difference between these two commands is
that values given with password are remembered as long as wpa_suppli-
cant is running whereas values given with otp are used only once and
then forgotten, i.e., wpa_supplicant will ask frontend for a new value
for every use. This can be used to implement one-time-password lists
and generic token card -based authentication.
Example request for password and a matching reply:
CTRL-REQ-PASSWORD-1:Password needed for SSID foobar
> password 1 mysecretpassword
Example request for generic token card challenge-response:
CTRL-REQ-OTP-2:Challenge 1235663 needed for SSID foobar
> otp 2 9876
Change the path where control sockets should be found.
-g control socket path
Connect to the global control socket at the indicated path
rather than an interface-specific control socket.
Specify the interface that is being configured. By default,
choose the first interface found with a control socket in the
-h Help. Show a usage message.
-v Show version information.
-B Run as a daemon in the background.
Run in daemon mode executing the action file based on events
from wpa_supplicant. The specified file will be executed with
the first argument set to interface name and second to "CON-
NECTED" or "DISCONNECTED" depending on the event. This can be
used to execute networking tools required to configure the
Additionally, three environmental variables are available to the
file: WPA_CTRL_DIR, WPA_ID, and WPA_ID_STR. WPA_CTRL_DIR con-
tains the absolute path to the ctrl_interface socket. WPA_ID
contains the unique network_id identifier assigned to the active
network, and WPA_ID_STR contains the content of the id_str
Set the location of the PID file.
-G ping interval
Set the interval (in seconds) at which wpa_cli pings the suppli-
Run a command. The available commands are listed in the next
The following commands are available:
status get current WPA/EAPOL/EAP status
mib get MIB variables (dot1x, dot11)
help show this usage help
show interfaces/select interface
level <debug level>
change debug level
show full wpa_cli license
logoff IEEE 802.1X EAPOL state machine logoff
logon IEEE 802.1X EAPOL state machine logon
set set variables (shows list of variables when run without argu-
pmksa show PMKSA cache
force wpa_supplicant to re-read its configuration file
identity <network id> <identity>
configure identity for an SSID
password <network id> <password>
configure password for an SSID
pin <network id> <pin>
configure pin for an SSID
otp <network id> <password>
configure one-time-password for an SSID
bssid <network id> <BSSID>
set preferred BSSID for an SSID
list configured networks
quit exit wpa_cli
wpa_supplicant is copyright (c) 2003-2015, Jouni Malinen <firstname.lastname@example.org> and
contributors. All Rights Reserved.
This program is licensed under the BSD license (the one with advertise-
ment clause removed).
01 March 2021 WPA_CLI(8)
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