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iwd (iNet Wireless Daemon) is an up-and-coming wireless daemon for Linux. It is written by Intel and aims to replace wpa_supplicant. The core goal of the project is to optimize resource utilization.

Potential benefits of iwd include:

  • simplification of network management
  • faster network discovery
  • fast and reliable roaming
  • using less system resources
  • using features offered by the Linux kernel
  • support for enterprise security methods like EAP
  • support for kernel asymmetric key rings and Trusted Platform Modules (TPM)
  • support for multiple clients


Start with the instructions for WiFi, including the required device drivers and IEEE 802.11 support. Specifics for iwd are described below.


Iwd requires the Linux kernel to have quite some options to be enabled. For systems running on a AMD64 architecture, or CPUs that support SSSE3 or X86_AES instructions some hardware acceleration can be achieved. The cpuid2cpuflags utility can be used to check for support.

Security options  --->
    [*] Enable access key retention support
    [*] Diffie-Hellman operations on retained keys
Networking support  --->
    [*] Wireless  --->
        <M> cfg80211 - wireless configuration API
Cryptographic API  --->
    *** Public-key cryptography ***
    [*] RSA algorithm
    [*] Diffie-Hellman algorithm
    *** Block modes ***
    [*] ECB support
    *** Hash modes ***
    [*] HMAC support
    *** Digest ***
    [*] MD4 digest algorithm
    [*] MD5 digest algorithm
    [*] SHA1 digest algorithm
    [*] SHA1 digest algorithm (SSSE3/AVX/AVX2/SHA-NI)   // AMD64 and SSSE3
    [*] SHA224 and SHA256 digest algorithm
    [*] SHA256 digest algorithm (SSSE3/AVX/AVX2/SHA-NI) // AMD64 and SSSE3
    [*] SHA384 and SHA512 digest algorithms
    [*] SHA512 digest algorithm (SSSE3/AVX/AVX2)        // AMD64 and SSSE3
    *** Ciphers **
    [*] AES cipher algorithms
    [*] AES cipher algorithms (x86_64)                  // AMD64
    [*] AES cipher algorithms (AES-NI)                  // X86_AES
    [*] ARC4 cipher algorithm
    [*] DES and Triple DES EDE cipher algorithms
    [*] Triple DES EDE cipher algorithm (x86-64)        // AMD64
    *** Random Number Generation ***
    [*] User-space interface for hash algorithms
    [*] User-space interface for symmetric key cipher algorithms
    [*] Asymmetric (public-key cryptographic) key type  --->
        [*] Asymmetric public-key crypto algorithm subtype
        [*] X.509 certificate parser
        [*] PKCS#7 message parser
        <M> PKCS#8 private key parser                   // linux kernel 4.20 or higher

USE flags

Some packages are aware of the iwd USE flag.

USE flags for net-wireless/iwd Wireless daemon for linux

client Enable iwctl client tool
monitor Enable iwmon monitor tool
ofono Enable support for oFono SIM authentication
selinux !!internal use only!! Security Enhanced Linux support, this must be set by the selinux profile or breakage will occur
standalone Enable standalone mode with built-in DHCP client and DNS handling"
systemd Use systemd-resolve rather than resolvconf for DNS handling in standalone mode
wired Enable ethernet authentication daemon


Install the net-wireless/iwd package:

root #emerge --ask net-wireless/iwd

Interface management

Starting with version 0.18, iwd is actively managing network interfaces. On startup it may destroy an existing network interface and create a new one. The newly created interface will be configured optimally for iwd's use. This means that an interface that was detected by udev, and renamed to say wlp2s0 will be destroyed and a new one named for example wlan0 might be created. When iwd terminates it destroys the wireless interface it created.

It is possible to suppress this behavior by:

  • passing commandline options -p (+the the name of the phy) and -i (+ the name of the interface) to the iwd daemon, or
  • configuring setting UseDefaultInterface to true in /etc/iwd/main.conf

It may also be necessary to prevent udev from renaming the interface.

In the remainder of this article, it is assumed that the wireless interface is named wlan0.

Iwd daemon configuration

Iwd keeps its main configuration file in /etc/iwd/main.conf. It is documented in the official manual page.

iwd has updated its configuration file syntax. Previous settings like enable_network_configuration are now obsolete and replaced by EnableNetworkConfiguration.

Starting and stopping the iwd service


NetworkManager takes care of starting the process for iwd. If the iwd service is started, it will gracefully crash.

Please make sure that wpa_supplicant is stopped prior to starting iwd:

root #rc-update delete wpa_supplicant
root #rc-service wpa_supplicant stop

Then start iwd, and add it to the default runlevel:

root #rc-update add iwd default
root #rc-service iwd start


NetworkManager is able to use D-Bus to start the iwd service when needed. Therefore the service doesn't need to be enabled explicitly.

Any active wpa_supplicant services should be stopped prior to starting the iwd service:

root #systemctl disable --now wpa_supplicant

The iwd service can be started as per:

root #systemctl enable --now iwd

Network management

Gentoo is all about choice, so there are various methods available for network management. Readers should notice: iwd is new, and not all the methods below may fully support iwd.

Be sure to heed the warning in the network management article about mixing and matching the different methods for network management.


netifrc is Gentoo's default method of managing networks. It doesn't officially support iwd as a backend yet, but it works, barring minor issues, see bug #690808.

Enable iwd by editing /etc/conf.d/net file:

FILE /etc/conf.d/net
modules_phy0="iwd debug"
modules_wlan0="iwd debug"
iwd_wlan0="phy0 debug"

The debug parameters help to resolve the minor issues. When strange behavior is observed then please comment on bug #690808 and upload the syslog.

Netifrc will start iwd as needed, so no need for the iwd deamon to be started by OpenRC, instead create a symlink from /etc/init.d/wlan0 to /etc/init.d/net.lo, and start the wlan0 service:

root #rc-service iwd stop
root #rc-update delete iwd
root #cd /etc/init.d
root #ln -s net.lo net.wlan0
root #rc-service net.wlan0 start

iwd native

As of version 0.19 iwd contains a DHCP client and can manage routes and DNS resolving. It requires the standalone USE flag to be enabled.

Edit /etc/iwd/main.conf as follows:

FILE /etc/iwd/main.conf


  • EnableNetworkConfiguration is required to activate the native network management
  • RoutePriorityOffset is optional and sets the route metric
  • NameResolvingService is optional and can be used to configure a DNS manager like 'resolvconf' from net-dns/openresolv or 'systemd'.


Add dhcpcd to the default runlevel and start it up, next to the iwd service:

root #rc-update add dhcpcd default
root #rc-service dhcpcd start


NetworkManager has been supporting iwd backend since version 1.12. Verify the iwd USE flag is set:

root #echo "net-misc/networkmanager iwd" >> /etc/portage/package.use/networkmanager
root #emerge --ask --newuse net-misc/networkmanager

Enable the iwd backend for WiFi devices as per upstream's instructions[1]:

FILE /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/iwd.conf

Starting with NetworkManager 1.30 it is possible to enable iwd-driven autoconnect logic instead of NetworkManager's.

FILE /etc/NetworkManager/conf.d/iwd.conf

Restart the NetworkManager service:

For OpenRC:

root #rc-service NetworkManager restart

For systemd:

root #systemctl restart NetworkManager


ConnMan supports iwd somewhat. Make sure to set the iwd USE flag and (re-)emerge:

root #echo "net-misc/connman iwd" >> /etc/portage/package.use/zz-autounmask
root #emerge --ask --newuse net-misc/connman

ConnMan still relies on wpa_supplicant for scanning, but connecting via iwd is possible.


systemd-networkd will handle iwd-managed interfaces just like any other network interface. Add a .network file and start or restart the service:

FILE /etc/systemd/network/wlan0.network

root #systemctl enable --now systemd-networkd
root #systemctl enable --now systemd-resolved

Client software

Iwd comes with a commandline interface called iwctl - iwctl requires the client USE flag.

There are also a few graphical user interface based applications. These frontends communicate with iwd over D-Bus, and will not work with iwd versions without D-Bus.


iwctl is iwd's tool to control iwd. It supports both a command line interface and an interactive mode. A complete command line would be iwctl station list to see what adapters you might be able to use:

user $iwctl station list
                            Devices in Station Mode
  Name                State          Scanning
  wlan0               disconnected

An interactive session of iwctl commands can be used to connect to a WiFi network access point. First check the status of the WiFi network interface, set it in scanning mode if needed, and then obtain the list of WiFi access points. Finally connect to the access point.

user $iwctl
# station wlan0 show
                                 Station: wlan0
  Settable  Property            Value
            Scanning            no
            State               disconnected

# station wlan0 scan
# station wlan0 get-networks
                               Available networks
    Network name                    Security  Signal
    FRITZ!Box 7362 SL               psk       ***
    WLAN-105127                     psk       *

# station wlan0 connect "FRITZ!Box 7362 SL"
Type the network passphrase for FRITZ!Box 7362 SL psk.

That last step would auto-generate the /var/lib/iwd/station.psk file.

Note that it is not possible to assign a priority to a network, instead iwd will prioritize networks based on:

  • signal strength level
  • security features
  • maximum rate
  • channel utilization
  • time since the last connect.

NetworkManager frontends

When using NetworkManager then gnome-extra/nm-applet or other NetworkManager frontends can be used as per normal to make connections.

Dedicated iwd clients

Configuration per connection

Connection settings can be edited manually if required. Iwd keeps its configuration file per connection in /var/lib/iwd/.

This directory contains files named like <station>.<networktype>, where:

  • station is the name (SSID) of the network
  • networktype can be:
    • psk for pre-shared key, like WPA-PSK or WPA2-PSK
    • 8021x for WPA-Enterprise, like EAP-PWD or EAP-PEAP.

The configuration settings are described in iwd.network. A few examples are given below.


For WPA authentication the contents of the file looks like this:

FILE /var/lib/iwd/station.psk
Passphrase=<human readable password>

Passphrase in case of WPA2-PSK needs to be the same as is set in the router and is known from wpa_supplicant's psk= entries. The PreSharedKey is the same as one that could have been calculated with wpa_passphrase, from package net-wireless/wpa_supplicant. Iwd does not provide a passphrase calculator yet.

Static network configuration

Iwd defaults to DHCP, either natively or using an external DHCP-client. For static IPv4 configuration add something like this to /var/lib/iwd/station.pwk:

FILE /var/lib/iwd/station.psk

See also

External resources