Configuring Wireless Connectivity within Backtrack 4 r2


This article aims to explain the various steps required in configuring Wireless connectivity within Backtrack 4 r2. It is also worth mentioning that as Backtrack is based upon Ubuntu/Debian you may find steps and solutions within this article useful when faced with other Ubuntu/Debian based wireless issues.


  1. Backtrack installation consists of a USB persistent installation using Backtrack 4 r2.
  2. Wireless interface is a Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express).


1. Install wicd

First you will need to install wicd and remove the standard network-manager (if installed). wicd is an open source wired and wireless network manager for Linux which we will use later to configure your wireless connection.

sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get purge network-manager
update-rc.d -f networking remove
 sudo apt-get autoremove
 sudo apt-get install wicd
/etc/init.d/wicd start
update-rc.d wicd defaults
2. Determine Wireless Card

Next you will need to determine the make and model of your wireless card within your system. This is achieved by running the following command :

root@bt:~# lspci | grep Network
02:00.0 Network controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express) (rev 01)
3. Download Drivers

In this example we will download the complete driver package and then specify which driver you which to compile.

    3.1 DOWNLOAD


    3.2 COMPILE

Based on my wireless card being a Atheros AR9285 the ath9k drivers were selected.

bunzip compat-wireless-2.6.38-rc4-1.tar.bz2
tar xvf compat-wireless-2.6.38-rc4-1.tar
cd compat-wireless-2.6.38-rc4-1
./scripts/driver-select ath9k
sudo make install
sudo make unload reboot
4. Confirm MODULE LOAD

Once your system has rebooted confirm that the driver has been loaded by running the following command.

root@bt:~# lshw -C network -network
       description: Wireless interface
       product: AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter (PCI-Express)
       vendor: Atheros Communications Inc.
       physical id: 0        logical name: wlan0
       version: 01
       serial: c4:17:fe:5a:c4:d8
       width: 64 bits
       clock: 33MHz
       capabilities: pm msi pciexpress bus_master cap_list ethernet physical wireless
       configuration: broadcast=yes driver=ath9k driverversion= firmware=N/A ip= latency=0 link=yes module=ath9k multicast=yes wireless=IEEE 802.11bgn

You can also check to see if the module (driver) is loaded by running the command – lsmod | grep ath9k

5. Configure WiFi Connection

Next you will need to configure your connection, adding your settings such as keys, encryption etc etc. To access the Wicd Network Manager go to  “K Menu” –> Select “Internet” and click on “Wicd Network Manager”.

Once you have configured your settings you should have the required wireless connectivity within Backtrack.


The main issue I faced when configuring the above was that after adding my wireless key and then trying to connect I would get the message

        Unable To Get IP Address

If I then configured a static IP address I received the message,

       Connection failed: Could not contact the wireless access point


To resolve this I removed the following file and rebooted.

sudo rm /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules
Rick Donato

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