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How To Disable Wireless on Ubuntu from Command Line

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In this article, we are going to explore various ways to disable wireless on Ubuntu from the command line. This can be useful in several scenarios, such as when you want to save power, troubleshoot network issues, or enhance security. We will cover four methods: using nmcli, ifconfig, rfkill, and the TLP package.

Quick Answer

To disable wireless on Ubuntu from the command line, you can use the nmcli command, ifconfig command, rfkill command, or the TLP package. Each method offers a straightforward way to turn off the wireless connection.

Disabling Wireless Using nmcli Command

nmcli is a command-line client for NetworkManager. It allows us to create, display, edit, delete, activate, and deactivate network connections, as well as control and display network device status.

To disable the wireless connection, open your terminal and type:

nmcli radio wifi off

This command turns off the wifi radio. To turn it back on, use:

nmcli radio wifi on

If you need help with nmcli commands, you can always type nmcli radio help or nmcli radio wifi help.

Disabling Wireless Using ifconfig Command

ifconfig is used to configure the kernel-resident network interfaces. It is used at boot time to set up interfaces as necessary.

To disable the wireless connection, open your terminal and type:

sudo ifconfig wlan0 down

Here, wlan0 is the name of the wireless network interface. If your system uses a different name, replace wlan0 accordingly. The down parameter takes the network interface down, effectively disabling the wireless connection.

To turn the wireless connection back on, use:

sudo ifconfig wlan0 up

Disabling Wireless Using rfkill Command

rfkill is a tool for enabling and disabling wireless devices.

First, list all available wireless devices by typing:

rfkill list

Identify the device number of the wireless device you want to disable. Then, to disable the device, type:

rfkill block <device number>

This command soft blocks the wireless device, disabling it. To unblock and re-enable the wireless device, use:

rfkill unblock <device number>

Disabling Wireless Using TLP Package

TLP brings you the benefits of advanced power management for Linux without the need to understand every technical detail. It optimizes power consumption in laptops running Linux.

First, install the TLP package by running:

sudo apt install tlp

Once installed, you can use the following commands to control the WiFi connection:

sudo tlp wifi on

This command turns on the WiFi connection.

sudo tlp wifi off

This command turns off the WiFi connection.

sudo tlp wifi toggle

This command toggles the WiFi connection on or off.


Disabling wireless on Ubuntu from the command line is a straightforward process, regardless of the method you choose. Whether you’re using nmcli, ifconfig, rfkill, or the TLP package, each tool offers a reliable way to manage your wireless connection. Always remember to replace any interface names (wlan0, eth1, etc.) with the appropriate interface name for your system. Additionally, some commands may require sudo privileges. Happy networking!

Can I disable wireless on Ubuntu without using the command line?

Yes, you can disable wireless on Ubuntu through the graphical user interface (GUI) as well. You can usually find the wireless settings in the network settings or system settings of your Ubuntu desktop environment. Look for options to disable or turn off the wireless connection.

How do I check if my wireless is currently enabled or disabled?

You can check the status of your wireless connection by using the nmcli command. Open your terminal and type nmcli radio wifi to see if the wireless is currently enabled or disabled. If it shows "enabled," then the wireless is on, and if it shows "disabled," then the wireless is off.

Can I disable wireless permanently on Ubuntu?

Yes, you can disable wireless permanently on Ubuntu by modifying the configuration files. However, it is recommended to use the command line methods mentioned in this article for temporary disabling, as permanent disabling may affect the functionality of your system.

Will disabling wireless save power on my laptop?

Yes, disabling wireless can save power on your laptop. When the wireless is turned off, the wireless radio is not actively searching for and connecting to networks, which reduces power consumption. This can help extend your laptop’s battery life.

Is it safe to disable wireless for enhanced security?

Disabling wireless can enhance security in certain scenarios. If you are not using the wireless connection and want to minimize the potential attack surface, disabling wireless can prevent unauthorized access to your network. However, it is important to note that there are other security measures you should also consider, such as using strong passwords, keeping your system up to date, and using a firewall.

Can I still use wired internet when wireless is disabled?

Yes, when you disable wireless, it only affects the wireless network connection. You can still use a wired internet connection if your system is connected to a wired network. The wired network interface is separate from the wireless interface, and disabling wireless does not affect it.

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