wvdial – PPP dialer with built-in intelligence.


wvdial –help | –version | –chat | –config | option=value | –no-
syslog | section…


wvdial is an intelligent PPP dialer, which means that it dials a modem
and starts PPP in order to connect to the Internet. It is something
like the chat(8) program, except that it uses heuristics to guess how
to dial and log into your server rather than forcing you to write a
login script.

When wvdial starts, it first loads its configuration from
/etc/wvdial.conf and ~/.wvdialrc which contains basic information about
the modem port, speed, and init string, along with information about
your Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as the phone number, your
username, and your password.

Then it initializes your modem and dials the server and waits for a
connection (a CONNECT string from the modem). It understands and
responds to typical connection problems (like BUSY and NO DIALTONE).

Any time after connecting, wvdial will start PPP if it sees a PPP
sequence from the server. Otherwise, it tries to convince the server
to start PPP by doing the following:

– responding to any login/password prompts it sees;

– interpreting “choose one of the following”-style menus;

– eventually, sending the word “ppp” (a common terminal server com-

If all of this fails, wvdial just runs pppd(8) and hopes for the best.
It will bring up the connection, and then wait patiently for you to
drop the link by pressin CTRL-C.


Several options are recognized by wvdial.

–chat Run wvdial as a chat replacement from within pppd, instead of
the more normal method of having wvdial negotiate the connection
and then call pppd.

Override the Remote Name setting in the dialer configuration
section of the configuration file. This is mainly useful when
you dial to multiple systems with the same user name and pass-
word, and you don’t want to use inheritance to override this
setting (which is the recommended way to do it).

–config [configfile]
Run wvdial with configfile as the configuration file (instead of
/etc/wvdial.conf). This is mainly useful only if you want to
have per-user configurations, or you want to avoid having dial-
up information (usernames, passwords, calling card numbers,
etc.) in a system wide configuration file.

Don’t output debug information to the syslog daemon (only useful
together with –chat).

–help Prints a short message describing how to use wvdial and exits.

Displays wvdial’s version number and exits.

wvdial is normally run without command line options, in which case it
reads its configuration from the [Dialer Defaults] section of
/etc/wvdial.conf. (The configuration file is described in more detail
in wvdial.conf(5) manual page.)

One or more sections of /etc/wvdial.conf may be specified on the com-
mand line. Settings in these sections will override settings in
[Dialer Defaults].

For example, the command:
wvdial phone2

will read default options from the [Dialer Defaults] section, then
override any or all of the options with those found in the [Dialer
phone2] section.

If more than one section is specified, they are processed in the order
they are given. Each section will override all the sections that came
before it.

For example, the command:
wvdial phone2 pulse shh

will read default options from the [Dialer Defaults] section, then
override any or all of the options with those found in the [Dialer
phone2] section, followed by the [Dialer pulse] section, and lastly the
[Dialer shh] section.

Using this method, it is possible to easily configure wvdial to switch
between different internet providers, modem init strings, account
names, and so on without specifying the same configuration information
over and over.


“Intelligent” programs are frustrating when they don’t work right.
This version of wvdial has only minimal support for disabling or over-
riding its “intelligence”, with the “Stupid Mode”, “Login Prompt”, and
“Password Prompt” options. So, in general if you have a nice ISP, it
will probably work, and if you have a weird ISP, it might not.

Still, it’s not much good if it doesn’t work for you, right? Don’t be
fooled by the fact that wvdial finally made it to version 1.00; it
could well contain many bugs and misfeatures. Let us know if you have
problems by sending e-mail to .

Also, there is now a mailing list for discussion about wvdial. If you
are having problems, or have anything else to say, send e-mail to

You may encounter some error messages if you don’t have write access to
/etc/ppp/pap-secrets and /etc/ppp/chap-secrets. Unfortunately, there’s
really no nice way around this yet.


Configuration file which contains modem, dialing, and login
information. See

Serial port devices.

Required for correct authentication in pppd version 2.3.0 or

Contains a list of usernames and passwords used by pppd for
authentication. wvdial maintains this list automatically.


Dave Coombs and Avery Pennarun for Net Integration Technologies, as
part of the Worldvisions Weaver project. We would like to thank SuSE
and RedHat for adding a number of various cool features to Thanks guys!


wvdial.conf(5), wvdialconf(1), pppd(8), chat(8).

FAQ: http://www.dsb3.com/wvdial/

Worldvisions WvDial May 2001 WVDIAL(1)

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