Connect to U of Chicago wifi using Debian, LXDE and Wicd Network Manager

As a University of Chicago alum, I’m allowed to work out of Regenstein Library on campus and use the wifi. Connecting to it works automatically on mainstream operating systems like OS X and Ubuntu, but I recently installed Debian with the LXDE desktop environment, which uses a program called Wicd Network manager to manage wifi.

When the system work properly, you connect to the wifi network, and the next time you visit a website in your browser, you’re redirected to a login page where you enter your credentials and are allowed in. But when I connected to the wifi network, there was an issue with the wifi network connecting, and disconnecting after a few seconds.My theory is that Wicd Network Manager didn’t want to let the wifi network manage DNS settings to temporarily redirect all web requests to the login page.

The solution was to connect to the wifi network, and quickly note the IP address assigned to my computer by DHCP. Then, take the first two bytes of the IP address (e.g. if the IP address is 10.152.42.93, take the frist two bytes, “10.152.”) and add “0.1” to make the made-up address “10.152.0.1”. Right after you connect to the wifi, before you get dropped, try to connect to this address. You will be redirected to the login page so you can log in and everything is fine.

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