Ich bin's, Kai die Katze!

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Goodbye NetworkManager. Hello decent network configuration

I was recently experiencing problems with the wireless interface on my Debian 11 home server. The connection was very instable and I could observe rtlwifi: AP off, try to reconnect now entries in the kernel log. My first thought was a power management issue with my wireless adapter, so I put

options rtl8188ee swenc=1 ips=0 swlps=0 fwlps=0 aspm=0

into /etc/modprobe.d/rtl8188ee.conf. However, this did not solve the problem.


Somewhere I read that it might be NetworkManager’s fault, so I decided to give iwd (iNet Wireless Daemon) a try. The setup couldn’t be easier, and as always, the Arch Wiki has a very good documentation. First disable NetworkManager and enable iwd:

# systemctl disable --now NetworkManager.service
# systemctl enable --now iwd.service

Then, just connect to your wireless network using iwctl station $IWDEV connect $YOURSSID. The credentials are stored in /var/lib/iwd/$SSID.psk and the connection will be established automatically the next time you boot. That’s it for the wireless connection. However iwd is not particulary good at configuring your network interfaces with irrelevant details like an IP address. For example, IPv6 is disabled by default (wtf, it’s 2022 guys). Even after I manually enabled IPv6, I couldn’t really get it to work as expected. So I decided to use systemd-networkd for this.


As I already disabled NetworkManager, it couldn’t interfere with systemd-networkd. However, your mileage may vary. Make sure there is no /etc/network/interfaces*, netplan or anything else also trying to configure your network interface. The configuration goes to /etc/systemd/network/wireless.network in my case, and is quite straight forward:

# Name=wlan0




As I only have one wireless interface, I decided to use Type=wlan, but it’s also perfectly fine to specify the wireless interface. Again have a look at the great Arch Wiki documentation on systemd-networkd or man systemd.network for details. Then enable systemd-networkd by systemctl enable --now systemd-networkd.service. As I wanted to play with DNS over TLS, I decided to put UseDNS=false in there and use systemd-resolved for DNS.


I just found out that the VPN provider Mullvad offers free ad-blocking DoT-ready DNS servers. The german Wikipedia also has a list of DoT-ready DNS servers for you. The DNS configuration goes to /etc/systemd/resolved.conf and effectively just looks like this in my case:

FallbackDNS=2a00:f826:8:1::254 2a01:4f8:1c0c:82c0::1 

If DoT on the Mullvad servers does not work for whatever reason, I fallback to using DNS servers of the OpenNIC project. systemd-resolved has some fallback servers from Cloudflare, Google and Quad9 builtin, but I don’t want to use them, even in case.

After enabling systemd-resolved (run systemctl enable --now systemd-resolved.service) you can already resolve your first domain names securely and ad-free. For example try resolvectl query analytics.google.com. Oh no, Google Analytics resolves to, that’s sad, isn’t it? However, you will notice that other DNS resolvers on your system don’t respect your wishes for an ad-free world and happily resolve domain names using whatever nameserver is configured in your legacy /etc/resolv.conf. systemd-resolved provides a stub dns resolver listening on localhost:53 for this and you can configure it system-wide by symlinking to a pseudo resolv.conf like this:

# rm /etc/resolv.conf
# ln -s /run/systemd/resolve/stub-resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf


I am happy to say, that I finally have a stable wireless connection on my home server, thanks to iwd and systemd-networkd. As a plus, I am now enjoying an ad-free and privacy-friendly DNS experience. Nice :)

re-encrypt .password-store using new gpg key

I wanted to import my current password store into a new machine, and re-encrypt all passwords with a new gpg key. A similar question was asked here. This is how I solved it:

That’s it.