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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

On 3:23 PM by Richard St-Pierre
UWN200 (antenna) UWN100 (compact) USB WiFi - Angstrom

BeagleBone Black Angstrom WiFi Installation and Troubleshooting Guide

WiFi installation on the BeagleBone Black is a popular project for anyone working with the growing ARM platform. Unfortunately it can also be one of the most challenging products due to the number of potential variables in play. From the brand and type of WiFi adapter, to the various idiosyncrasies of the various operating systems, we’ve heard from many BeagleBone users that WiFi installation can be frustrating. We’ve created this step by step guide to try and take the mystery out of the process.

For this tutorial we’ll look at installing the MT7601 WiFi adapter, the chipset found inside both the UWN100 and UWN200 WiFi adapters. Both have been tested and verified to work with Linux ANGSTROM on the BeagleBone Black.


(1) During operation (transmitting and receiving) WiFi adapters draw more power. The USB power alone may not be sufficient to power both the BeagleBone and the USB WiFi adapter and under-powering can cause a wide range of unpredictable problems. Because of this we recommend the use of a PW5V-2A high current ac-adapter during the WiFi installation process.

(2) Be sure to remove the the Ethernet (RJ45) network cable before installation.

(3) The latest ANGSTROM Linux distribution images can be found here.

(4) The Wireless modem/router being used to connect to the internet must be configured with WPA2 encryption (do not use WEP).

To view your version:

uname -a

You can view the revision in the ID.txt file in the removable drive that appears when you connect to the BeagleBone.

What You Will Need

STEP 1 - Verify That The WiFi Adapter and Driver are Present

The  Angstrom Linux distribution includes the MT7601 driver. This can be verified by booting the BeagleBone with the UWN100 or UWN200 USB Wifi adapter installed and the Ethernet cable removed.

Power the BeagleBone with the ac-adapter.
Connect to the BeagleBone using SSH(putty) or Serial Cable.

Login as root. Password: (enter)

To view the USB wireless adapter, type:


All is good, the driver is located and installed.

STEP 2 - Verify That the Adapter is Running


The "ra0" section indicates the device status. The presence of this "ra0"section indicates that the device and drivers are both working correctly. "ra0" means  Ralink adapter 0.

STEP 3 - WPA2 Encrypted Access (do not use WEP)

To connect to a WPA protected wireless network, first encrypt the WPA passphrase.

wpa_passphrase [SSID] [passphrase]

As an example:
root@beaglebone:~#if wpa_passphrase myhome mysecretpsw
Copy the output (psk=....), we will need it in a second.

Use nano to edit the Connman config file:

nano /var/lib/connman/wifi.config

and enter:

Type = wifi
Name = MySSID
Passphrase = YourEncryptedPassPhrase

1) Replace MySSID with your SSID name.
2) Replace YourEncryptedPassPhrase with the encrypted output you saved from above.
3) Do not put your SSID in quotes, even if it contains spaces.
Exit and Save: (Ctrl-X), Y, (enter)


shutdown -h now

NOTE: Ethernet cable must be disconnected from the BeagleBone for the wifi to automatically connect.

STEP 4 - Verifying Connection

Check that you have been assigned a connection:

ifconfig ra0

Look for inet addr: XX.XX.X.XXX this is your dhcp assigned IP address.

1) If you do not get an IP address assigned, repeat STEP 3 carefully once more.
2) Verify that you are using WPA encryption (modem/router) and NOT Wep.

Finally you can access the network.

STEP 5 - Network Access

(Ping Test)

STEP 6 - Web Access

Your SSH session can only display text. To browse the web from the BeagleBone Black, you can connect a monitor and keyboard directly or VNC into the BeagleBone.

Example VNC session.

Example Chromium Web Browsing. (Application->Internet->Chromium)

Troubleshooting Guide

  • Are you running (latest) Angstrom Linux?
  • Check for updates:
    opkg update && opkg upgrade
  • Are you using an (MT7601) UWN100 or UWN200 Wifi adapter (Step 1)?
  • Is the Wifi driver present and running (Step 2)?
  • (MT7601 driver is included in recent Angstrom distributions)
  • Is the Internet RJ45 cable removed and the Wifi adapter plugged in (before booting)?
  • Are you using a high current ac-adapter? (USB power may not be sufficient)
  • Did you enter the correct encrypted passphrase for this connection (Step 3?)
  • Do you have an IP address assigned (Step 4)?
  • If not, some common reasons are:
    1. Incorrect passphrase or SSID? (verify and re-enter data)
    2. Are you  using WPA2 encryption?  (do not use wep) 
    3. Ethernet cable plugged in to BeagleBone (remove from  RJ45)?
    4. Wireless device out-of-range? (try getting closer to wireless link)
    5. Adapter not installed before cold boot? (reboot with Wifi adapter installed)
    6. Use ac-adapter to power the BeagleBone and Wifi Adapter
  • Is your link up and running?
  • ip link
    Look for 'ra0' and the status reported.
  • Are you running WPA2 encryption ?
    WEP is an older security protocal, with security issues. Configure Modem/Router for WPA2.
    You can test your interface with:
    /usr/lib/connman/test/connman-test services
  • Are you in wireless range ?
    Indoor      50m-100m (Theoritical)
    Outdoor 100m-200m (Theoritical)
  • Have you tried booting Debian Linux (on microSD card)?