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How to install TP-Link Wireless USB Adapter on Raspberry Pi

How to install TP-Link Wireless USB drivers on #RaspberryPi the easy way.

I bought a Raspberry Pi recently, and have been slowly gathering all the hardware pieces I need to build something with it. One of those pieces is the TP-Link Wireless USB adapter, similar to the one shown here.

It’s like this, but the numbers are different

Unfortunately this particular adapter doesn’t come with generic drivers that the Raspberry Pi can use on first plugin, so you have to install them manually.

I’ve now done this a few times, manually for 3.10.25+ Raspbian and with the method described below for 3.12.19+, in this case build #684.

First, credit where credit is due…

Raspberry PiThere is a post over on the Raspberry Pi forums describing this method, and has all the details (just not in a step-by-step order that I will offer).

Now, on to the walk-through.

I decided to use a Chrome Extension called Secure Shell to do the commands here, since I intend on using my Chromebook (cr-48) and Chrome OS to interact with my Raspberry Pi. These screenshots are using the Chrome Extension on Windows 8.1. Tools like PuTTY, Linux command line, or any other SSH connection (or Raspberry Pi command line itself) will work just fine.

Installing the TP-Link drivers

curl for the .tgz file
curl for the .tgz file

First, make a curl request to the dropboxusercontent share with this command:

pi@tsnPi ~ $ curl -s | tar xz
ls for the file (in green)
ls for the file (in green)

Then check to see if the file unzipped properly. You should see

pi@tsnPi ~ $ ls
using the -l option to list supported builds
using the -l option to list supported builds

Now list the supported build numbers in the file with

pi@tsnPi ~ $ ./ -l
use uname -a to get your build number
use uname -a to get your build number

If you don’t know it already, get your build number (#xxx) with…

pi@tsnPi ~ $ uname -a

My particular build number is the latest, after running an rpi-update: #684

Install the driver for your build number
Install the driver for your build number

Now you’re ready to install the driver with the -k option…but be sure to substitute your build number for #xxx below…

pi@tsnPi ~ $ ./ -k #xxx
do an iwconfig to see the wlan listing
do an iwconfig to see the wlan listing

Then disconnect your ethernet cable, and check your wlan listing with

pi@tsnPi ~ $ iwconfig

You should see your wlan0 listed, however if this is the first time you’ve installed the drivers, it probably won’t automatically be connected.

You’ll want to do a reboot before you set up your network, just to make sure the drivers take (I know I had to reboot before it would connect to the internet).

pi@tsnPi ~ $ sudo reboot

I’m sure there are tutorials online for how to get your network configured on your Raspberry Pi. Special thanks to the folks at the Raspberry Pi forums and LaFambe (who I assume wrote the script).

“Raspberry Pi” and its logo are trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation

By [[Neo]]

I am a web programmer, system integrator, and photographer. I have been writing code since high school, when I had only a TI-83 calculator. I enjoy getting different systems to talk to each other, coming up with ways to mimic human processes using technology, and explaining how complicated things work.

Of my many blogs, this one is purely about the technology projects, ideas, and solutions that I have come across in my internet travels. It's also the place for technical updates related to my other sites that are part of The-Spot.Network.

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