How to enable and disable WiFi on Kali Linux

The objective of this guide is to show how to enable and disable the WiFi on Kali Linux. This can be done either by GUI or command line, and we’ll be showing the step by step instructions for both methods in this guide.

This will be helpful if you’re having trouble connecting to a wireless router, or you plan to do some WiFi scanning and cracking with Aircrack-ng, for example.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to enable and disable WiFi via GUI and command line on Kali Linux

Enabling and disabling WiFi in Kali Linux

Enabling and disabling WiFi in Kali Linux

Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Kali Linux
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Enable or disable WiFi via GUI

These steps assume you’re using Xfce, the default desktop environment for Kali. If you’re using KDE, GNOME, or some other GUI, the instructions should still be very similar.

  1. To enable or disable the WiFi, right click the network icon in the corner, and click “Enable WiFi” or “Disable WiFi.”
    Enable the WiFi via network icon in Xfce GUI

    Enable the WiFi via network icon in Xfce GUI

  2. When the WiFi adapter is enabled, single click the network icon to select a WiFi network to connect to.
    Connecting to a WiFi network

    Connecting to a WiFi network



  3. Type the network password and click “connect” to complete the process.
    Supply the network password to finish connecting

    Supply the network password to finish connecting

  4. Once connected, click “Connection Information” in the network icon menu to see details about your connection.
    Viewing connection information

    Viewing connection information

Enable or disable WiFi via command line

  1. To see the name of your WiFi adapter, as well as connection information (assuming you are already connected to a WiFi network), open a terminal and execute the ip a command.
    $ ip a
    
  2. Viewing WiFi adapter information via command line

    Viewing WiFi adapter information via command line

  3. In our example, the name of our WiFi connection is wlan0. To disable the WiFi connection, type the following command.
    $ sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
    
  4. Disabling the WiFi via command line

    Disabling the WiFi via command line

  5. To enable the WiFi, type the following command to put the adapter back up. Notice we also execute the ip a command afterwards, to verify whether the connection is up or down.
    $ sudo ifconfig wlan0 up
    
  6. Enabling the WiFi via command line

    Enabling the WiFi via command line

  7. If you don’t want to use the GUI to connect to a WiFi network, you can connect to the WiFi from command line.

Closing Thoughts

In this guide, we saw how to enable and disable the WiFi via GUI and command line in Kali Linux. This serves as a troubleshooting method when your system won’t connect to a WiFi network or you have no internet access. For further help, see our guide on testing internet connection on Linux.