Introduction to iw

iw is a new nl80211 based CLI configuration utility for wireless devices. It supports all new drivers that have been added to the kernel recently. The old tool iwconfig, which uses Wireless Extensions interface, is deprecated and it's strongly recommended to switch to iw and nl80211.



Development versions of BLFS may not build or run some packages properly if dependencies have been updated since the most recent stable versions of the book.

Package Information

iw Dependencies



User Notes: https://wiki.linuxfromscratch.org/blfs/wiki/iw

Kernel Configuration

To use iw, the kernel must have the appropriate drivers and other support available. The appropriate bus must also be available. For older laptops, the PCMCIA bus (CONFIG_PCCARD) needs to be built. In some cases, this bus support will also need to be built for embedded iw cards. The appropriate bridge support also needs to be built. For many modern laptops, the CardBus host bridge (CONFIG_YENTA) will be needed.

In addition to the bus, the actual driver for the specific wireless card must also be available. There are many wireless cards and they don't all work with Linux. The first place to look for card support is the kernel. The drivers are located in Device Drivers → Network Device Support → Wireless LAN (non-hamradio). There are also external drivers available for some very common cards. For more information, look at the user notes.

After the correct drivers are loaded, the interface will appear in /proc/net/wireless.

Installation of iw

To install iw, use the following commands:

sed -i "/INSTALL.*gz/s/.gz//" Makefile &&

This package does not come with a test suite.

Now, as the root user:

make install

Command Explanations

sed ...: Install uncompressed manual pages in accordance with other man pages.


Installed Programs: iw
Installed Libraries: None
Installed Directories: None

Short Descriptions


shows / manipulates wireless devices and their configuration