Sunday, 5 May 2013

Set up Wi-Fi on Xbian

This is to help people using Xbian configure their device to be used wirelessly. I've gone through this process many times, travelling to friends and family homes to help them configure their Xbian setup. I thought the easiest thing to do was to write it all down here then point them to this blog.

Over time Xbian appear to have simplified the process, and there is a quick, easy way of setting up Wi-Fi connectivity within the main menu. In the past I had to ssh from another computer into the device whilst it had a wired connection to the network. I then learned how to access the command line config menu and make the same configurations without the need of a network connection or another pc.

Here I will show you two methods, the simple one first. If you have trouble connecting that way, move on to the second. Both ways don't require your device to have a wired connection to the network already. You will need a USB keyboard for both so you can navigate the menu during initial configurations.

Before powering up your device. Have both your USB Wi-Fi adaptor and keyboard plugged into the 2 USB ports so the system recognises them when booting up. If you usually connect using an Ethernet cable to the Internet, unplug this cable from the device. I feel this helps avoid confusion as to wether you are receiving your connection wirelessly or through the ethernet cable.

Power up your device as normal. You should see the Xbian load screen then the default confluence home screen. Take note of the time and date in the top right hand corner of the screen. It is a good indicator of Internet access and should be incorrect meaning you are currently not connected to the Internet. Now, you will use the keyboard to navigate the menus. Arrows keys to move around, enter to select and the escape key to go back a page etc.

Method 1

>Highlight System, use the arrow keys to highlight Settings and press enter.

>Go to Xbian and press enter.

>Highlight System, use the right arrow key to highlight the Network settings.

>Highlight Interface, use the left/right arrow keys to highlight the up/down buttons next to eth0.

>Press enter to cycle through the Interface options, we want Wlan0. If the USB Wi-Fi adaptor has been recognised Wlan0 should be an option.

>Move down to Mode and highlight the up/down buttons next to Static, press enter to cycle through to DHCP, the option we want. This way every time you power up your device, the router will automatically give it an IP address.

>Highlight Ssid and press enter, Xbian will now scan for available wireless networks.

>Highlight your chosen network and press enter. If your Wi-Fi network is password protected it will now ask you to enter the password. You can use either your keyboard, or the arrow keys and enter to navigate the on-screen keyboard. As soon as your password is authorised it will return you to the network screen. Here you will now see your chosen network in the Ssid field and the Status will be UP confirming you are now connected to the internet wirelessly.

Have a look at the time and date again these should now be correct. If the date looks correct but the time does not, this just means the Timezone country is incorrect and is easily changed within Xbian.

Just go to:
System > Settings > Appearance > International
Change the Timezone country to your location. Notice that the clock will change instantly to the correct time. Also, whilst here change the Region to your preference of a 12 or 24 hour clock. Once set correctly use the escape key to save your settings and return to the main menu.

Another way to check you have Wi-Fi connectivity is to go to:

System > System info > Network
If connected this will display all your network information such as your IP address, Subnet mask and Gateway as well as an Internet status: Connected.
If you don't have connectivity these fields will all be blank as well as an Internet status: Not Connected.

That's it!. Xbian will now connect automatically via Wi-Fi every time you power up.

Method 2

Highlight the power off button in bottom left-hand corner and press enter. This will load up further options, we want the top one, exit. Highlight exit and press enter.

Be patient, it may look like nothing is happening but it takes a minute or two for the login screen to load. You should now be presented with a black screen.

>Xbian Login:xbian (using the keyboard type xbian and press enter)
>Password:raspberry (type raspberry and press enter - the password will not show up on screen)

You should now have access to the blue Xbian GUI config screen.

>Highlight the second option "Settings" and press enter.
>Highlight "Network" and press enter.

If the USB Wi-fi adaptor has been recognised, you should have two interface options,
Eth0 and Wlan0.

>Highlight "Wlan0" and press enter.

>Highlight "DHCP" and use the space bar to place a star in the brackets to the left of DHCP. Now press enter.

>Highlight "Scan" and press enter.
Xbian will now scan for available wireless networks then list them on the screen.

>Highlight the network you want to connect to and use the space bar to place a star in the brackets to the left of your chosen network. Now press enter.

>Highlight "Key" and type in the password for you wireless network.
Please note passwords are case sensitive and I've found the Caps Lock doesn't work on my keyboard at this stage. If this is the case, hold down the shift while pressing a letter key to turn that letter into a capital letter.

Once you have correctly typed in your wireless password press enter. You will get a screen saying "WLAN credentials successfully updated". Press enter again to close this screen.

The WLAN interface will now restart and take you back to the "Setttings" menu.

>Highlight Return at the bottom and press enter to go back to the main "Config" screen.

>Highlight Exit at the bottom and press enter.

You should now see in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen a command line prompt:

xbian@xbian~$ sudo reboot (type sudo reboot and press enter)
This will reboot the device and may take a minute so be patient.

Once Xbian has loaded you will be greeted with the default Confluence home screen and now have Wi-Fi connectivity.


Anonymous said...

Great great great tuto. Thanks
Please just add the information that when you type the xbian password (it stays empty but it is normal) :-)

It has helped me a lot.

TechBMC said...

Done, thank you for the comment. I'm glad it helped you!

Anonymous said...

thank you thank you thank you awesome it worked

Anonymous said...

thanks it worked

Anonymous said...

Great instructions. THX a lot!
Just a little hind for people using a German keyboard: To get the y in raspberry you have to type in z ;)

Anonymous said...


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