This page describes how I could connect my Debian GNU/Linux desktop computer (which originally had no Wi-Fi capability) to various Livebox Wi-Fi networks (more precisely to one Livebox Play Wi-Fi network and one Livebox 4 Wi-Fi network).

Wi-Fi network adapter and driver

For the Wi-Fi network adapter I followed the recommendation of the Debian Wiki and bought a TP-Link TL-WN821N wireless N USB adapter. This device is easily available on various online stores.

The same Debian Wiki page also provides the method to download, compile and install the driver.

First, install (as root) some packages needed to be able to compile the driver:

apt-get install gcc git build-essential # As root.

Then, install (as root) the header files for your Linux kernel:

apt-get install linux-headers-`uname -r` # As root.

As a normal user, create a folder for the driver somewhere in your home directory tree, clone the driver repository and change directory to the cloned repository:

mkdir -p ~/local_builds
cd ~/local_builds
git clone https://github.com/jeremyb31/rtl8192eu-linux-driver.git
cd rtl8192eu-linux-driver

Change user to root, change directory to the directory you where in as a normal user, and compile and install the driver:

make         # As root.
make install # As root.

Plug in the Wi-Fi network adapter and restart the computer. After reboot, you should see 8192eu in the list of loaded modules:

lsmod|grep 8192eu


Install wireless-tools (as root) with:

apt-get install wireless-tools # As root.

The following command gives the name of the wireless network interface (probably a name starting with “wlx503”):

/sbin/iwconfig 2>/dev/null|grep -v "^\(\s\|$\)"|sed "s/\s.\+$//"

The wireless network interface name is referred to as <interface_name> in the rest of the page.

Get the name of the Wi-Fi network. For a Livebox, the default Wi-Fi network name is printed on a sticker on the bottom of the box. The default network name is “Livebox-” followed by four hexadecimal digits. The network name can also probably be shown on the Livebox display.

The Wi-Fi network name is referred to as <wifi_net> in the rest of the page.

It’s now time to get the WPA PSK (pre-shared key). In the case of the Livebox 4, it can be shown on the Livebox display (unless the Livebox has been configured to not show it). In the case of the Livebox Play, the key shown on the display is not the WPA PSK but an hexadecimal key. You have to use the wpa_passphrase program to get the WPA PSK:

wpa_passphrase <wifi_net> <hexadecimal_key>|grep "^\s*psk="|sed "s/^.\+=//"

The WPA PSK is referred to as <psk> in the rest of the page.

Finally, add (as root) the following lines in your /etc/network/interfaces file:

auto <interface_name>
iface <interface_name> inet dhcp
wpa-ssid <wifi_net>
wpa-psk <psk>

As the WPA PSK is confidential, only root should be able to access /etc/network/interfaces. Change the file permission (as root) with this command:

chmod 600 /etc/network/interfaces # As root.

Unplug the Ethernet connection (if any) from the computer and restart it. It should now be connected to the wireless network.