When developing on the Beaglebone Black (BBB), it’s handy to have the board on the network for when you want to SSH into it, install packages, etc. That said, you may not want to run an Ethernet cable from the BBB to a switch. Luckily, the BBB has support for a number of WiFi adapters1. I purchased the EDIMAX EQ-7811UN2 adapter and set about trying to connect a BBB to my local network. This article walks through the steps required to get connected. These instructions also apply to the BBB wireless variants (that is, those BBBs with a wireless chip).

Beaglebone Black WiFi Configuration

The steps below assume use of a supported WiFi dongle on an official BBB image and require root access.

  1. Boot the BBB with the WiFi adapter plugged into the USB port. The official BBB site recommends running off DC power when utilizing the adapter due the adapter’s current requirements.

  2. Run the command line network manager:

sudo connmanctl

You can ignore the Error getting VPN connections: The name net.connman.vpn was not provided by any .service files message.

  1. Enable WiFi:
connmanctl> enable wifi
  1. Scan for WiFi networks:
connmanctl> scan wifi
  1. Show available WiFi services:
connmanctl> services

If you don’t see any services, you can disable WiFi tethering and try again:

connmanctl> tether wifi off
connmanctl> services
  1. Turn on the agent:
connmanctl> agent on
  1. Connect to your WiFi/service. Replace WIFI_HASH with the string from step 5 that corresponds to your WiFi network:
connmanctl> connect WIFI_HASH
  1. Enter your WiFi password:
  1. Verify you have autoconnect enabled:
connmanctl> services

You should see *AO or *AR next to your network’s name.

  1. Exit connmanctl:
connmanctl> quit
  1. Verify you’re connected. Try pinging gnu.org:
ping gnu.org
  1. By default, connman will use DHCP to retrieve an IP. If instead you’d like to set a static IP, run the command below replacing the WIFI_HASH, IP_ADDR, SUBNET_MASK, and GATEWAY_ADDR with values corresponding to your network:
connmanctl> config WIFI_HASH --ipv4 manual IP_ADDR SUBNET_MASK GATEWAY_ADDR

  1. BBB elinux.org has a table summarizing what dongle/distro combos are officially supported. I have used the EDIMAX EW-7811UN adapter with success. ↩︎

  2. The EDIMAX EW-7811UN might be a little hard to come by these days. At the time of this writing, there’s still a couple up for sale on Amazon. ↩︎