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Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 5:26 am
by Morshu9001
I've got a Rasbperry Pi Model A. It has no ethernet port. I have a Model B as well, just not with me right now.

The latest Raspbian supported my $5 Ralink USB wifi dongle out of the box; I just had to open the Wifi Config desktop shortcut and select it. I had to dedicate that to my Raspberry Pi Model B. Now, I have purchased a generic wifi dongle for $2.88 to use on my Model A, and Wifi Config cannot detect it at all. It works fine on my brother's Dell running Windows 7 and his eMac running Mac OS X 10.4.11. I can see it with lsusb, showing up as a Realtek device, so at least I know that I need some kind of Realtek drivers.

I don't know where to start when trying to install wifi drivers on a Linux computer. I can't find anything on Google except for a really outdated, non-working script to install the drivers. I don't necessarily need a full guide, just a push in the right direction. Even if there's a solution involving apt-get, I can't use apt-get because I have no Internet connection. I DO have a Model B, so if there's something I can just install with apt-get on it, could I transfer the SD card from my Model B to my Model A? Either way, copying something onto a flash drive would be a lot easier (especially since retrieving the Model B would involve a trip to my grandma's house).

P.S. In case anyone is wondering why I went even cheaper with the second wifi dongle when I could have just bought another of the first one, it's because I couldn't find the first one anymore. Cheap eBay products with zero branding and product numbers.

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 5:58 am
by fruitoftheloom
Open Terminal and run the following to identify the Wireless Chipset

lsusb

post output in reply, because you will need a specific driver.

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 10:31 pm
by Tarcas
Even if there's a solution involving apt-get, I can't use apt-get because I have no Internet connection. I DO have a Model B, so if there's something I can just install with apt-get on it, could I transfer the SD card from my Model B to my Model A?
Yes, software on both are the same, so cards are interchangeable between the A and B models.

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 11:07 pm
by Morshu9001
fruitoftheloom wrote:Open Terminal and run the following to identify the Wireless Chipset

lsusb

post output in reply, because you will need a specific driver.
It lists "Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0bda:0179 Realtek Semiconductor Corp."

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Thu May 15, 2014 11:09 pm
by Morshu9001
Tarcas wrote:
Even if there's a solution involving apt-get, I can't use apt-get because I have no Internet connection. I DO have a Model B, so if there's something I can just install with apt-get on it, could I transfer the SD card from my Model B to my Model A?
Yes, software on both are the same, so cards are interchangeable between the A and B models.
Thanks, good to know. I was just skeptical because of how badly Windows handles that.

I realized that since apt-get just downloads Debian packages and installs them, I could try saving the package and transferring it. I looked around and found this: "apt-get -d install <package name>", which saves the package to /var/cache/apt/archives. So if there's a package that installs the necessary drivers, I'll be set.

Update: I tried installing firmware-realtek using the method I described, and I still can't use my wifi dongle.

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 4:09 am
by fruitoftheloom
"Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0bda:0179 Realtek Semiconductor Corp."

Therefore the chipset model is not recognised only the manufacturer, the identifier shows a RTL8188EUS see

http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/searc ... rtl8188eus

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 5:05 am
by Tarcas
Thanks, good to know. I was just skeptical because of how badly Windows handles that.
As much as some people want it to be, you'll find that Linux is not like windows in a LOT of ways. Mostly good ways, but also sometimes irritating.

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 11:29 am
by MrEngman
Morshu9001 wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote:Open Terminal and run the following to identify the Wireless Chipset

lsusb

post output in reply, because you will need a specific driver.
It lists "Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0bda:0179 Realtek Semiconductor Corp."
And you can find info on drivers and installing it here and configuration info here



MrEngman

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 11:42 am
by Joe Schmoe
My experience with various OSes and hardware (specifically WiFi devices) is:
  • 1) With Windows, it never works out-of-the-box, but it (almost) always works once you find and install the right driver.
    2) With Linux, it usually works OOTB, but if it doesn't , you're screwed. I've never been able, in any realistic way, to install drivers and get things working on Linux.
    3) With Mac OSX, it is somewhere in between - occasionally, it works OOTB, but if it doesn't, then installing drivers sometimes works.

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 11:56 am
by fruitoftheloom
I always buy RTL8188CUS based WiFi Dongles, so much easier than searching for drivers / firmware in Linux

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 11:59 am
by GTR2Fan
Joe Schmoe wrote:My experience with various OSes and hardware (specifically WiFi devices) is:
  • 1) With Windows, it never works out-of-the-box, but it (almost) always works once you find and install the right driver.
That's pretty much the complete opposite of my experience with Windows. Nearly all WiFi dongles work straight OOB, and it's become very good at going and finding the drivers all by itself and seamlessly installing them for me with a friendly pop-up informing me when it's finished if they're not. That's assuming that you don't go out of your way to buy unsupported hardware and that your PC is connected to the Internet, obviously. ;)

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Fri May 16, 2014 12:51 pm
by Joe Schmoe
I'm assuming that by "works OOTB", you mean "once it has installed the drivers".

Which was my exactly my point.

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Sat May 17, 2014 8:29 pm
by Morshu9001
In Windows 7, my brother had to use the built-in driver search tool to get the drivers. It was very easy. That being said… he and I still hate Windows :lol: But it is definitely easier to use than Raspbian.

My experience with Linux is that if it apt-get won't fix it for you, you're hosed, even if you have tutorials to help you. Let's see if I can beat my personal record.

Re: Using a Cheap Wifi Dongle (Realtek) in Raspbian

Posted: Sat May 17, 2014 8:34 pm
by Morshu9001
MrEngman wrote:
Morshu9001 wrote:
fruitoftheloom wrote:Open Terminal and run the following to identify the Wireless Chipset

lsusb

post output in reply, because you will need a specific driver.
It lists "Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0bda:0179 Realtek Semiconductor Corp."
And you can find info on drivers and installing it here and configuration info here



MrEngman
Thanks, I'm trying this as soon as possible and will report back with the results. EDIT: Maybe I did something wrong, or it's the wrong driver for this device, but it's not working. If the driver is working, my wifi card should show up in WiFi Config (the program on the desktop), right?