CubieBoard WiFi Made Simple (TP-Link TL-WN725N)

Today I went out and picked up a MicroSD card.  After all of yesterday’s frustrations, I wanted to have more options, and I figured an 8GB card would be more than plenty to store an OS with both XBMC and a web development server.

Chances are, it’ll never actually be getting used as both at the same time.  If I’m watching TV, I’m probably not working on PHP code, and if I’m working on PHP code, I’m probably not interested in watching TV.

I’ve restored the NAND flash back to the latest Android (it’s highly unlikely that I’ll ever really want to play with Android, but it’s not doing any harm, and it’ll give me something to do on those rare days when I just get curious), and I’ve installed Cubian (I’m using R7 for the A10) onto an 8GB MicroSD card.

The official instructions (for Windows) say to unpack and rename the .img file with a .raw extension and use the SUSE Studio Image Writer, but it worked just fine with Win32 Disk Imager as a .img file.

So, Android restored, Cubian on the SD, pop it in the slot and power it up.  Lights flash, stuff comes up on the TV, it does its thing, and then reboots, starts up again and I’m faced with a login prompt.

It’s wired into the network while I set it up, but I did have my TP-Link TL-WN725N WiFi dongle plugged in.  Out of curiosity I did a quick ifconfig, and it listed it (albeit without an IP address).

Surprised?  You bet.  I figured “What the hell?” and went ahead and edited /etc/network/interfaces and added the following lines.

auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless-essid MY_NETWORK_SSID
wireless-key MY_NETWORK_KEY

I then promptly issued a “sudo reboot”.

Fully expecting to torment myself for thinking it would be so easy, the thing rebooted, I login, type ifconfig, and both interfaces (wired and wireless) have an IP address!

I unplug the ethernet cable, reboot again, and when it comes back up, wlan0 STILL has an IP address!

Surprise doesn’t even begin to describe it any more.  Happy, relieved, definitely, but surprised is an understatement given all the hassle I went through for nothing last night.

A quick “df -h” reports 6.4GB free on the MicroSD, which should be more than plenty for X, XBMC, Apache, PHP, MariaDB and all associated bits.

I won’t need masses of storage for web content, and XBMC will be pulling everything it needs off another machine on the network (which is the way the Pi in the bedroom currently works).

If I do ever decide that I need more space, well, I can just jump to a larger MicroSD card (they’re not exactly expensive if you order online) and it does have that SATA slot!

TL;DR If you’re using a CubieBoard with a TP-Link TL-WN725N WiFi dongle, get Cubian.