Adding Wireless To The Raspberry Pi

For those of us who haven’t received their Raspberry Pis yet, it may come as a bit of a shock to realize the RasPi doesn’t have an on board WiFi adapter. While the Model B RasPi has an RJ45 Ethernet plug, but the Model A must rely on USB-bound networking dongles. [Mike] over at Mitch Tech put up a great guide to using a Realtek WiFi dongle with his Raspberry Pi.

Stock, the standard Debian install recommended by the folks at Raspberry Pi has the drivers for the Realtek WiFi adapter, but no firmware. [Mike] goes over how to get the firmware for this series of WiFi adapters to keep the kernel from complaining. Interestingly, [Mike]’s instructions also work for a slew of Realtek-based wireless dongles, so the installation instructions should work for a bunch of adapters available from DealExtreme or eBay.

[Mike] also has a guide for installing Quake 3 on a RasPi. Combine these two builds and you’ve got the perfect setup for a Raspberry Pi LAN party. Anyone want to host?

19 thoughts on “Adding Wireless To The Raspberry Pi

  1. Just got my Raspberry Pi the other day and will fire it up for the first time in a few hours. I got a wifi dongle and a small wireless keyboard/mouse/lazer pointer all in one for portability.

    1. Hmm that seems like a interesting idea. I have one as well, 8GB. But I don’t think it would be possible since the Wifi portion kinda of runs on its own. But that would be really cool. SD storage and Wifi adapter.

      I wonder if any of the small slim USB wireless adapter works.

      Wifi is definitely on my list of things to get for it among many other things like case and shield.

      $35 becomes much more very fast. Wonder how the linux plug computer compare?

  2. The recommended stock Debian image is an utterly unusable POS. Even if you are a Debian head, better (and much faster) results can he achieved with the Arch image and a whopping 47 seconds of googling the pacman reference.

    I wonder when the RasPi will get out of the “hm, this looks like a funny idea, let’s fire Altium up”-stage. No, the availability (and I am using the term very loosely) of the board is not that.

    1. The debian is nearly unsuable when using the desktop environment on the other hand debian it’s self if wonderful. It really is the “universal os” or whatever their tag line is these days.

      Arch has a major glaring fault, pacman, it’s awful. I hate apt and I HATE yum but they just have so much ground on pacman.

      Apart from that I don’t mind arch, it’s got it’s niche, but it looses out to slackware and gentoo in that niche IMHO.

  3. “it may come as a bit of a shock to realize the RasPi doesn’t have an on board WiFi adapter”

    So you’re one of those people who don’t read the specs of what you’re buying then.

  4. I’ve set mine up using a Ralink 2800 USB wifi dongle. I copied the firmware to /lib/firmware from Debian on my laptop and the driver is recognised OK, but I’m getting the error “wlan0: link is not ready”, so no connection. Any ideas?

  5. Find the chipset:

    For a ZD1211 Chipset wireless USB stick

    connected via wires
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install zd1211-firmware
    sudo apt-get install wpasupplicant

    /etc/network/interfaces file edited to be:

    auto lo

    iface lo inet loopback
    iface eth0 inet dhcp

    auto wlan0
    iface wlan0 inet dhcp
    wireless-essid myessid
    wireless-mode managed

    wpa-ssid myessid
    wpa-psk my-encryption-key

    — and it worked.

  6. Thank you for the wireless configuration in /etc/network/interfaces. I followed Peter Merchant’s instructions and my Rpi worked immediately with an Airlink 101, which is a wireless N150 I picked up on

  7. question… if did a tear down of my 15 inch 2008 or older (old body) mac book pro..can i some how connect that internal wifi the mac came with to the raspberry? i heard of people connecting their old internal mac isight cameras to the raspberry. so all in all im going for a wireless spy cam… possible?
    direct email with advice would be greatly appreciated (

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