I followed the instructions from this link to set up an ad hoc network. I get the following strange behaviour.

If my /etc/network/interfaces file is the "wifi - regular" file on boot then everything is great. I can switch between the ad hoc configuration and the wifi one using ifup and ifdown and copying the settings over. However, if I boot with the adhoc configurations the following strange thing happens:

  • I cannot switch to the wifi settings successfully. What happens is that although I do ifdown wlan0 copy the interface file over and then ifup wlan0. The wifi does not connect to any networks. I've connected a monitor to the Pi so that's how I'm checking that.

I'm running a Raspberry Pi B+ and the uname -a output is:

Linux raspberrypi 4.1.7+ #817 PREEMPT armv6l GNU/Linux

Any help much appreciated.

These are my configuration files.


auto lo
iface lo inet loopback
iface eth0 inet dhcp

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static
  wireless-channel 1
  wireless-essid RPiwireless
  wireless-mode ad-hoc


auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

auto eth0
allow-hotplug eth0
iface etho0 inet manual

auto wlan0
allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet manual
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

auto wlan1
allow-hotplug wlan1
iface wlan1 inet manual
wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf


ddns-update-style interim;
default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;
log-facility local7;
subnet netmask {


To switch the settings once logged in I do:

sudo cp /etc/network/interface-<DESIRED> /etc/network/interface
sudo ifdown wlan0
sudo ifup wlan0


| on boot          | wifi        | Ad hoc      |
| DHCP on boot?    | failed      | active      |
| can switch?      | yes         | no          |
| IP on boot       |  | |
| after 1 switch   | | |
| after 2 switches | | |
  • DHCP on boot: sudo service isc-dhcp-server status
  • Whether I can switch between the two interfaces and connect succesfully to the internet.
  • What the IP is when I first boot
  • What the IP is after 1 switch
  • What the IP is after 2 switches

I read the IP from ifconfig wlan0. This is a bit strange given the network is in the 10.0.0.XX range.

1 Starting ISC DHCP server: dhcpdcheck syslog for diagnostics. ... failed!

  • So you basically say, that if you start with /etc/network/interfaces with the content of /etc/network/interfaces-wifi then you can switch as many times as you like? But if you boot with /etc/network/interfaces having the content of /etc/network/interfaces-adhoc, it fails, right?
    – techraf
    Dec 14, 2016 at 3:45
  • it fails to switch. correct. Thanks for the comments, I corrected the plural. Let me know if you have other suggestions.
    – evan54
    Dec 14, 2016 at 3:45
  • edited the question to show how I would do that
    – evan54
    Dec 14, 2016 at 3:48
  • To confirm: if started "with" -wifi you can then switch 10 times?
    – techraf
    Dec 14, 2016 at 4:08
  • that is correct. I've been trying to debug some more and it's related to the static IP address in some way. I'll see if I can post more useful information.
    – evan54
    Dec 14, 2016 at 4:11

1 Answer 1


If you boot with your interfaces-adhoc which contains iface eth0 inet dhcp you effectively disable dhcpcd. This would prevent the interfaces-wifi from running, because this depends on dhcpcd.

You are trying to run 2 incompatible services. It MAY be possible to write a script which shuts down all the services not needed and start others, but you are on your own. It is going to be easier to just reboot.

  • so is the "right" way to set up a rasbperry pi to serve a website so you can configure it's wifi settings by doing what I've been doing above and then forcing it to restart?
    – evan54
    Dec 15, 2016 at 0:50
  • @evan54 I can't say what is "right", I was pointing out why your approach didn't work, and how I would have done it (indeed I have experimented with an Access Point this way). There are hundreds of ways of configuring networking on Linux.
    – Milliways
    Dec 15, 2016 at 2:00
  • thanks for the response. just to make sure I understand. Is the way you would have done it simply rebooting?
    – evan54
    Dec 15, 2016 at 2:11

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