Using pcDuino's WiFi Dongle With the Pi

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Contributors: jimblom
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Edit interfaces

There are two configuration files we need to edit to set up WiFi:

  1. /etc/network/interfaces -- Configures DHCP (or static) and tells the wireless utility where to look for your authentication settings.
  2. /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -- Stores your wireless network's SSID and authentication settings.

To edit both of these files we'll use Nano, Raspbian's default terminal text editor.

Open up LXTerminal to begin. Then, to open interfaces with the Nano editor, enter this command:

pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

That command will open interfaces in Nano. By default it should look like this:

Default interfaces

The default interfaces file layout.

First delete or (if you're a digital packrat) comment out the bottom three lines (iface wlan0 inet manual, wpa-roam /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf, and iface default inet dhcp).

Next, following line 4 (iface eth0 inet dhcp), add these six lines:

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
    wireless mode managed
    wireless essid any
    wpa-driver wext
    wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

All done! Save interfaces by pressing CTRL+O, keep the file name the same when it asks. Then exit with CTRL+X. Your new interfaces files should look like this:

Finished Interfaces

This is a fairly generic configuration that sets the Pi up to receive an IP address dynamically, through DHCP.

If your network requires that you statically assign an IP you'll need to use something like this instead:

iface wlan0 inet static
    wireless mode managed
    wireless essid any
    wpa-driver wext
    wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf    

Make sure to modify the IP addresses to match the needs of your network.

Now that our network interface is configured, the next step is to specify the SSID and authentication parameters, which we'll do in wpa_supplicant.conf.