BeagleBone Black WiFi Setup: Get BeagleBone Black To Connect to WiFi

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Why the BeagelBone Black is great for your next Wifi project

I have been working on a project recently using the BeagleBone Black as we released a full industrial temperature rated version that can be used in a ton of applications. 

BeagleBone Black USB WiFi Adapter

The project is creating a data dashboard that can stand alone and show off some fun stats I have in mind. One key to making this project stand alone was to minimize cable clutter so I was wanting to run a USB wifi adapter on the system. I used one I could get quickly based on the based off of the RTl8192/8188CUS Chipset from Realtek which is also used in the Adafruit 814 so my directions here should apply to it as well.

0116 BB Adafruit 814 In Article
The Adafruit 814 in all its glory. 

The Realtek chipset is fairly common in very small USB wifi adapters and they are used a lot in single board computer projects like the Raspberry Pi and the BeagleBone Black.

BeagleBone Black Debian WiFi & Ubuntu WiFi: Initial Trials

The very first board I got hooked up was actually a completely dead model being used for glamour shots by our photographers and that set me back a few hours as I took the time to diagnose it and try to get it working. That was a bit embarrassing but I got another board and booted quickly into Debian Wheezy 7.9. I knew immediately I was going to have issues as the “if -a” command did not list my wifi adapter. Playing with it for a bit I knew the device was showing as attached since it showed up in an “lsusb” command listing and after some searching it seemed that the driver being used is not great. I also tested with an image for Debian Jessie 8.2 and Ubuntu Trusty 14.04. Both of these images had issues as well with Debian 8.2 still not showing the device and Ubuntu Trusty showing it but struggling to connect and stay connected to a wireless network. 

0116 BB Black In Article
Our Industrial Temp BeagleBone Black. 

After reading all I could, I settled on updating the driver being used to get to a more stable setup. Thankfully some other people have run into the same issues and worked to package a new driver. I am using the packages put onto github by user "pvaret." These drivers are the official Realtek 8192CU USB WiFi drivers repackaged.

BeagleBone Black WiFi Driver Install

1. First you have to make sure you have the prerequisites installed to build the driver:

“sudo apt-get update” “sudo apt-get install git linux-headers-generic build-essential dkms”

2. Clone this repository from github to your local machine:

“git clone https://github.com/pvaret/rtl8192cu-fixes.git”

3. Set it up as a DKMS module so that the driver can be included in the kernel:

“sudo dkms add ./rtl8192cu-fixes”

4. Build and install the driver to the system:
“sudo dkms install 8192cu/1.10”

5. Refresh the module list:

“sudo depmod -a”

6. Blacklist the native driver that was causing the issues so the system doesn’t try to load it up:

“sudo cp ./rtl8192cu-fixes/blacklist-native-rtl8192.conf /etc/modprobe.d/”

7. To help prevent network dropouts you can disable the power management features preventing the wireless chipset from sleeping:
“sudo cp ./rtl8192cu-fixes/8192cu-disable-power-management.conf /etc/modprobe.d/”

Reboot and you should be up and running with a more stable driver for the RTl8192/8188CUS chipset.

 

Check out this article that covers the different operating system choices for the BeagleBone Black or see how the BeagelBone Black is made!

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