Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

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Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby jaytelford » 2019-01-15 13:02

Hi,

I can't connect to free WiFi hotspots with Debian 9. By free WiFi hotspots, I mean any free and open WiFi network in places like coffee shops and so on.

Basically, any hotspot where a webpage needs to open, for you to click "connect" and finish connecting to the network.

I can't do this because the webpage isn't opening after connecting to the network. Nothing opens, nothing at all, not just the webpage doesn't load,the browser doesn't open at all.

Connecting to secure hotspots where I need to e Ter a password (like if I use my phone as a tether) or connect to my home WiFi network, works fine.

It's just those networks where a browser window needs to open for you to click a button to finish connecting, that I can't connect to.

Any thoughts on how I can fix this?
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby TonyT » 2019-01-15 13:10

How are you trying to connect? Network Manager? If so, use it to connect. Then manually open the browser. The browser is not supposed to open automatically.
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby jaytelford » 2019-01-15 19:08

TonyT wrote:How are you trying to connect? Network Manager? If so, use it to connect. Then manually open the browser. The browser is not supposed to open automatically.


Hi,

Thanks for the reply. From the drop down menu in the top right corner of the screen, I am selecting the wireless network option and then choosing the "Starbucks" open network (free customer network)

Also, the browser needs to open to finish connecting to the network. If the web browser does not open the network connection page for the Starbucks network, you can not fully connect and you don't have internet access - you are just connected to a gateway but your connection is being blocked by the gateway because you haven't clicked "connect" on the connection page and thus, not agreed to the terms and conditions for using the free Starbucks WiFi.

For this reason, opening a browser and trying to visit a web-page or doing anything that requires an internet connection, will fail.

Therefore; saying the web-browser is not supposed to open automatically, is incorrect in this situation. It is supposed to, to show you the connection page for the network, so you can finish connecting. However, this is not happening on Debian and as such, I can't connect to free WiFi- only WiFi or which I can type in a security key.
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby bw123 » 2019-01-15 20:06

Make sure that all javascript, cookies, etc are enabled, and try going to the gateway address. Get the address with ip route, look for something like "default via 192.168.x.x". Just type that address in the browser.

I've had the same issue, but not at Starbucks. The captive portal should serve up the login page on the browser no matter what address you enter first. Sometimes this fails. They often use complicated scripts, redirects, cookies, and sometimes the portal for auth is on a different net.

Don't edit a bunch of files following advice you find on the net without making a backup of the files you edit.


good luck
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby stevepusser » 2019-01-15 20:42

What browser are you using, anyway?

There is also a URL you can try that's supposed to trigger the captive portal page; it's worked for me in the past: neverssl.com
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby jaytelford » 2019-01-15 21:38

stevepusser wrote:What browser are you using, any?

There is also a URL you can try that's supposed to trigger the captive portal page; it's worked for me in the past: neverssl.com


I was using Chromium. However, I have now downloaded Chrome instead. I also have Firefox ESR installed but that didn't open either. Unfortunately I am no longer there, so I can't try and see if the different browser makes any difference or if a link works.

Next time I am there in the next few days, I will update everyone and this.

Thanks
Jay
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby bw123 » 2019-01-15 22:19

The automatic opening of a browser window sounds like a different issue. I'd guess that is a windows-specific bit of novelty, but I don't know for sure... Maybe it's a popup command, try it with browser open and popups enabled? I'm really clueless how that would be done, but I'm glad it's OFF by default.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captive_portal
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby stevepusser » 2019-01-16 19:25

Oh, you expect the browser to automatically open after you connect, like on a phone or other OS's.

That's not going to happen.
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby TonyT » 2019-01-17 00:09

Therefore; saying the web-browser is not supposed to open automatically, is incorrect in this situation. It is supposed to, to show you the connection page for the network, so you can finish connecting. However, this is not happening on Debian and as such, I can't connect to free WiFi- only WiFi or which I can type in a security key.

It's not supposed to open automatically. You connect to the wifi network and then you manually open the browser. The browser should load the portal page automatically. But YOU must first open the browser. If it does not load the portal page then the problem is NOT Debian or Network Manager. Nor is the problem the browser. The problem is either the settings you have set for your browser(s) or the problem is the portal software being used at the hotspot.
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby jaytelford » 2019-01-17 20:09

Thanks everyone

Although I have used Debian ony server for a while now, I have only moved to having Debian on a personal laptop. It's going to take me.time to get used to using Debian on a laptop with a GUI and not just via Terminal.

Please be patient with me while I am going through this teething process.
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby Bulkley » 2019-01-17 21:16

Having hauled a laptop to many faraway places I found most hotels provide terrible Wifi and subscribe to questionable servers. Portal pages can be painfully slow to open frequently leaving me to suspect something to be broken. My use of ad blockers and other security/privacy measures probably makes it worse as the server bots fail to glom every bit of data from my system. Considering my experiences I suspect that jaytelford might just be running up against shoddy suppliers.
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Re: Can't connect to free WiFi with Debian 9

Postby stevepusser » 2019-01-18 02:59

Ummm...Starbucks is pretty good here in California.
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