I'm trying to understand this script thus have tried to comment each line. Could someone check my comments are accurate, and help me with my gaps in understanding


TESTIP=   :: router ip address                        

ping -c4 ${TESTIP} > /dev/null 
:: -c4 = Stop after sending (and receiving) 4 count ECHO_RESPONSE packets
:: ${} = not sure what the curly brackets are?
:: /dev/null = throw away any error messages  

if [ $? != 0 ]  ::$?= return value is not equal to zero, i.e. good wifi                            
    logger -t $0 "WiFi seems down, restarting" 
    ::logger = log to file, can not find any messages in the syslog or messages files 
    :: -t = tag
    :: $0 = DO NOT UNDERSTAND!! how can there be a variable called "0"?

    ifdown --force wlan0   :: disables the wifi interface                 
    ifup wlan0   ::enable it again                            
    logger -t $0 "WiFi seems up."           

Iv'e tested this script on my pi, by running it every min, but cannot see any messages in the logs from the script. I can however see it being called by the cron.

  • 1
    I think $0 is the first argument. So I think you should call it with ./script-file.sh tag-name.
    – Gerben
    Jul 1, 2014 at 18:38

1 Answer 1


Let's say that you have named this script wifitest.sh. Below is a valid shell-script with comments.

# set TESTIP variable to the IP address of the gateway

# Send four (-c4) ICMP echo-request ("ping") packets to the the
# gateway address ($TESTIP), discarding the standard output (by
# redirecting to the file /dev/null, which is a blackhole)
# ${TESTIP} is equivalent to $TESTIP
ping -c4 ${TESTIP} > /dev/null

# the ping command returns an exit code:
# - 1 if no ICMP echo-reply packets were received at all
# - 2 on other errors
# - 0 otherwise (that is, on success)
# The exit code of the last command is stored in the special variable
# $?. The '[' command tests for a condition, in the following case
# it tests whether the exit code is non-zero (an error occurred)
if [ $? != 0 ]
    # No ping replies were received. Assume that the Wi-Fi connection
    # is dead, and try to restart it.

    # 'logger' is a command that registers a message to the system
    # logger ("syslog"). It uses the script name (stored in $0) as
    # tag ('-t'). In the syslog you will then probably find:
    # wifitest.sh: WiFi seems down, restarting
    logger -t $0 "WiFi seems down, restarting"

    # Here follows a "restart" of the network interface.
    # Bring the network interface "wlan0" down...
    ifdown --force wlan0
    # ...and bring it up again, hopefully it gets configured automatically.
    ifup wlan0
    # At least one ICMP reply was received, register this to the syslog,
    # again using the tag equal to the script name ($0)
    logger -t $0 "WiFi seems up."           

If you would like to learn more about a command, execute the shell command man <command>, for example man ping to learn more about the -c option. For information about the constructs $0 and $?, read the manual page of bash.

The logger command sends messages to the syslog, so you should have a syslog daemon running. On Debian-like systems, you can probably find your logs in /var/log/syslog.

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