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Working WiFi Configurations for the BeagleBone Black

Complete step-by-step guide to getting WiFi running for your BeagleBone Black. Note: The instructions should in general work for _any_ WiFi adapter (assuming that the correct driver is already present or has been installed). Review any WiFi-adapter specific instructions if they are listed here, otherwise continue with the General Instructions below.

Note: Graphical interface

If you wish to use a graphical interface, wpa_gui should be available (perhaps in the icon tray). It will be quicker than performing the General Instructions (which are typed in a terminal or console connection) below.

General Instructions

Perform steps 1 and 2 without plugging in the WiFi device. All steps are performed as root user:

1. Create file /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

WPA (this will be the usual case)

Inside the speech-marks, change my_ssid to be the SSID name, and my_psk to be the alphanumeric text key (not hexadecimal) of up to 63 characters.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

WEP (If you have an incredibly old network)

NOTE: Running WEP today is a very silly idea. Move to WPA.

ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
     ssid="you have been compromised already"

2. Identifying the interface name

First, type

ifconfig -a

Then, plug in the USB adapter, and again type:

ifconfig -a

Make a note of the new interface name. It may be 'wlan0' or 'ra0' or 'eth1' or similar.

3. Modify /etc/network/interfaces file

Place these four lines at the top of the file (change 'ra0' on the first and second line here to be whatever the interface name is for your WiFi adapter:

allow-hotplug ra0
iface ra0 inet manual
  wpa-roam /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
iface default inet dhcp

4. Final steps

With the USB WiFi adapter inserted, type (change 'ra0' to be your interface name):

ifup ra0

Then, power down safely (e.g. press switch S3 on the BBB), unplug the Ethernet cable and power back up. Log on to your router web page and check what IP address has been assigned to your BBB (in the DHCP assignments section).

The WiFi adapter while plugged in, will overide the Ethernet connection. Unplug the WiFi adapter to reuse the Ethernet connection.

UWN100 / UWN200

The interface name should be ra0

Tested with Debian image: BBB-eMMC-flasher-debian-7.4-2014-03-04-2gb.img

Work around a driver file location issue

Perform this before the General Instructions above.

Enter the following commands:

mkdir -p /etc/Wireless/RT2870STA

mv /etc/Wireless/RT2870/RT2870STA.dat /etc/Wireless/RT2870STA/RT2870STA.dat

Then continue from step 1 in the General Instructions above.