WiFi fun on a new PinePhone
#1
New PinePhone user here... and honestly a relatively new linux user as well.

my wifi network has a hidden SSID and uses MAC Whitelists, so I need to get the MAC address for my phone.... and I need to be certain it doesn't change/randomize. 

Some preliminary searching lead me to believe that an "ifconfig -a" would reveal the MAC address (found it odd it couldn't be retrieved in the settings).... however, imagine my surprise when i opened the terminal, executed the command, and received the following error... "bash: ifconfig: command not found"

This lead to learning that manjaro uses "ip addr"... having deprecated ifconfig and other network related tools.

So I got my wwan0 MAC, added it to the routers whitelist, and setup the hidden wifi connection in the settings of the phone.  The router supports 5G and 2.4G connections, and I think I learned quickly that 5G is not an option for the Pinephone.... refused to connect or show any signs of success.

2.4G doesn't connect either, but it does get farther.  It actually takes me to a screen where it prompts me for the networks "password" which I thought was odd because I entered it with the wifi setup.... so i type it in again (in cased it's important, the password is 12 digits long) and the connection fails and prompts me again for the password.

I get notifications like... "wlan0: No secrets were provided" and "wlan0: The Wifi network could not be found"

Hmm, interesting, looks like i got the networks backwards... so I added the MAC for the wlan0 to routers Whitelist instead... and boom, the phone connected to wifi!

So for my final check, I restarted the phone and was pleasantly rewarded with a successful connection to the wifi network... meaning the MAC is't randomizing on reboot/reconnect... perfect!

Man... this is going to be fun... I wanted to cut my teeth on linux for privacy reasons... and I figured once I got a bit comfortable with it on the PinePhone I'd pave over win10 on my PC with Linux as well.
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#2
You should check the docs for NetworkManager's cloned-mac-address and related settings. You can use it to set different policies per network, say fixed for your home network, but random on public access points. Some of the GUIs don't support it, so you might need to use nmcli to change it.
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#3
(06-30-2021, 06:36 AM)wibble Wrote: You should check the docs for NetworkManager's cloned-mac-address and related settings. You can use it to set different policies per network, say fixed for your home network, but random on public access points. Some of the GUIs don't support it, so you might need to use nmcli to change it.
This is good information, thank you.

Although everything I worked through yielded a working wifi on the stock firmware (which did not randomize the MAC), once I let the phone apply all the updates the MAC randomization was turned on.

I'm really glad I ordered the pinephone that came with the USB-dock... only way to execute the control commands in the CLI/terminal "text editors".  I had tried using one of the GUI editors on the phone, but that didn't work as there didn't seem to be a way to pass sudo authorization to write out some file changes.
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#4
"wwan0" is the Quectel modem not the WiFi, the WiFi and the Bluetooth is a separate Realtek chip RTL8723CS with interface "wlan0", the modem provides 5G WiFi and Bluetooth for sharing mobile data but it can not connect to an access point, get the MAC with `ip a`
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