Saturday, August 16, 2014

Logic Supply’s Compact USB Wi-Fi Adapter for the Beaglebone Black

I wanted to put my Beaglebone Black onto my Wi-Fi network rather than running a network cable to it so I purchased Logic Supply’s USBWi-Fi adapter for the Beaglebone Black.   The only drawback I have found with the Wi-Fi adapter is the lack of instructions. This post will document how I setup the Wi-Fi adapter on my Beaglebone Black to hopefully assist others.

The package says that the latest release of the Beaglebone Black, with a Debian image, includes the drivers for the Wi-Fi module. I have been using the Angstrom distribution, mainly because the Bluetooth adapters work much better with it however if I have Wi-Fi I would not need the Bluetooth adapter.  So I decided to give the new Debian distribution another try with the Wi-Fi adapter.

Once I flashed the Debian image onto my Beaglebone Black (see instructions on how flashing the Beaglebone on the getting started page (http://beagleboard.org/getting-started)) I plugged the USB Wi-Fi adapter into the Belkin 7-Port USB Powered Hub that is connected to my BeagleBone Black.  Logic Supply strongly recommends that due to the Wi-Fi adapter’s power consumption, you use a 5 Volt AC adapter, rather than powering the Beaglebone Black from USB, when using this adapter.  I would say that is true with any USB Wi-Fi adapter, which is why connected the Wi-Fi adapter to the powered USB hub.

When I plugged the Wi-Fi adapter into the hub, I was hoping that the OS would detect the adapter and configure it then all I would have to do is to connect it to my Wi-Fi network.  Well I was a bit disappointed but that is OK because I like a good challenge and since there were no instructions (who actually reads instructions anyway) it was up to me to figure out how to get it working.

The first thing I did was to unplug the Wi-Fi adapter from the USB hub.  I then ran the following command to monitor any changes to the system log file and plugged the Wi-Fi adapter back in:

            tail –f /var/log/syslog

After plugging the Wi-Fi adapter back in, the log revealed that the OS setup the adapter with the device name ra0.  Once I had the device name, I open up the WICD Network Manager and went to the preferences to add the ra0 device name as the wireless interface.



I then clicked OK to go back to the main screen.  On the main screen I waited a couple of seconds and then clicked Refresh to refresh the list of networks.



I found my network and clicked Properties to set the network properties



And then I was on my Wi-Fi network.  I hope these instructions are able to assist others in configuring Logic Supply’s USB Wi-Fi adapter for the Beaglebone Black.


4 comments:

  1. Hi Jon, great to see you were able to get the Wi-Fi adapter up and working. Your shipment should have included a business card sized insert directing you to Inspire.logicsupply.com for instructions on installation (as well as a number of other tutorials). Our apologies if that card was missing. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us (Inspire comments are a great option) if you have any other questions. ~Darek (Logic Supply)

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    1. Thank you so much for the feedback. I did not get the card you mentioned with my adapter but that is alright because I like figuring things out :). There was a sticker on the outside of the package that said "The latest release of the BeagleBone Black, with a Debian image, includes the drivers for this WiFi module. If you are running Angstrom, supplied on earlier versions of the BeagleBone Black, please find driver information here: http://inspire.logicsupply.com/p/installing-wifi.html". I did not think about going to that site because I decided to use Debian on this board.

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  3. Hey, Your post is very informative and helpful for us. In fact i am looking this type of article from some days. Thanks a lot to share this informative article.
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    Thanks

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