Three ways to set wireless interface to Monitor mode and Managed mode

You can use the following command to set wireless interface to Monitor mode and Managed mode on any Linux distro. The only requirement is availability wireless adapter that supports monitor mode. This one is recommended.

1. How to enable monitor mode using iw

You should check whether the operating system is able to recognize your Wi-Fi card. In addition, you need to know the name of the wireless interface.

Get to know the wireless interface name:

sudo iw dev

Output:

phy#0
	Interface wlan0
		ifindex 3
		wdev 0x1
		addr 3a:c9:39:0d:fc:1a
		type managed
		txpower 20.00 dBm

As you can see, the name of my wireless interface is wlan0. In addition, you can see that it is in managed mode.

To set wireless interface to Monitor mode with iw you can use the following command sequence:

sudo ip link set IFACE down
sudo iw IFACE set monitor control
sudo ip link set IFACE up

Where IFACE replace with actual name of your wireless interface. In may example:

sudo ip link set wlan0 down
sudo iw wlan0 set monitor control
sudo ip link set wlan0 up

Then check the status of you wireless interface one more time:

sudo iw dev
phy#0
	Interface wlan0
		ifindex 3
		wdev 0x1
		addr 16:30:78:80:a3:26
		type monitor
		channel 1 (2412 MHz), width: 20 MHz (no HT), center1: 2412 MHz
		txpower 20.00 dBm

As you can see, now type monitor. Note: the name of interface is not changed by this method.

To return wireless interface in Managed mode with iw you can use the following command sequence:

sudo ip link set IFACE down
sudo iw IFACE set type managed
sudo ip link set IFACE up

Where IFACE replace with actual name of your wireless interface. In may example:

sudo ip link set wlan0 down
sudo iw wlan0 set type managed
sudo ip link set wlan0 up

2. How to enable monitor mode using Airmon-ng

Again, we should get information about our wireless interface:

sudo airmon-ng

Output:

PHY	Interface	Driver		Chipset

phy0	wlan0		rt2800usb	Ralink Technology, Corp. RT3572

The name of interface is wlan0.

Checking for interfering processes

Before putting a card into monitor mode, it will automatically check for interfering processes. It can also be done manually by running the following command:

sudo airmon-ng check

This command stops network managers then kill interfering processes left:

sudo airmon-ng check kill

At last, we start monitor mode:

sudo airmon-ng start wlan0


PHY	Interface	Driver		Chipset

phy0	wlan0		rt2800usb	Ralink Technology, Corp. RT3572

		(mac80211 monitor mode vif enabled for [phy0]wlan0 on [phy0]wlan0mon)
		(mac80211 station mode vif disabled for [phy0]wlan0)

As you can see, it created a monitor mode interface called wlan0mon.

sudo iwconfig
wlan0mon  IEEE 802.11  Mode:Monitor  Frequency:2.457 GHz  Tx-Power=20 dBm   
          Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off
          
lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

Disable monitor mode

sudo airmon-ng stop wlan0mon

PHY	Interface	Driver		Chipset

phy0	wlan0mon	rt2800usb	Ralink Technology, Corp. RT3572

		(mac80211 station mode vif enabled on [phy0]wlan0)

		(mac80211 monitor mode vif disabled for [phy0]wlan0mon)

Don't forget to restart the Network Manager. It is usually done with the following command:

sudo systemctl start NetworkManager

3. How to enable monitor mode using iwconfig

As usual, start from checking interface name:

sudo iwconfig
lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.

wlan0     IEEE 802.11  ESSID:off/any  
          Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=20 dBm   
          Retry short limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Encryption key:off
          Power Management:off

The network interface with wireless extension is called wlan0.

Enable monitor mode:

sudo ifconfig IFACE down
sudo iwconfig IFACE mode monitor
sudo ifconfig IFACE up

Actual example:

sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
sudo iwconfig wlan0 mode monitor
sudo ifconfig wlan0 up

Disable monitor mode:

sudo ifconfig wlan0 down
sudo iwconfig wlan0 mode managed
sudo ifconfig wlan0 up

NetworkManager prevents monitor mode

If NetworkManager restarts automatically after each kill, and it pretends monitor mode, you can stop it manually:

In Kali Linux, BlackArch, Ubuntu, Linux Mint:

sudo systemctl stop NetworkManager

Note: when you stop NetworkManager, your Internet access disappears!

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