iwd is a new component aiming to potentially replace wpasupplicant in the future. It is currently available in what should be considered a 'tech preview' state since debian Buster / 10. Both ?ConnMan and NetworkManager has support for using iwd as a backend. Further information below will focus on using NetworkManager with iwd. (Please note that iwd heavily relies on linux features which means you need a recent kernel version.)

Please consider reading the Upstream Wiki for more in-depth and up to date information.


The iwd backend is available in upstream NetworkManager since 0.11.x but disabled by default, both at build-time and run-time. The network-manager package has enabled the iwd backend at build-time since 0.11.4 (available since Buster/10.0). This means you can easily test using iwd backend just by enabling it at runtime yourself.

Enabling iwd backend

To enable the iwd backend you need to:

Append the following snippet in /etc/NetworkManager/NetworkManager.conf


Please also refer to the upstream iwd information page on NetworkManager.

Known issues

As of right now the only known issue with iwd is the inability to connect to hidden SSIDs using NetworkManager. Feedback about your success or failure with iwd is warmly welcome! Please file a bug report.

Note: Enterprise networks might not work when using official Debian kernel as it used to lack the required config options enabled. This has been fixed since linux 5.3.9-1 (see 924705) and should be available since Bullseye. Buster users are advised to compile their own kernel if they have the need to connect to enterprise networks (or use wpa_supplicant until upgrading to Bullseye).


If you're having problems getting wifi working in NetworkManager with the iwd backend enabled, please make sure the iwd service is running. See systemctl status iwd