BB/BBB - Different boards, same problems

I just got the BBB yesterday, wanted to upgrade from original BB. Again, had to troubleshoot with Angstrom and Ubuntu for hours with configs of simple things like vnc, wifi and other issues. Always have to find tutorials and they never work the first time you try. I have many microcontrollers and small computers (Cubieboard, Odroids, RasPi, Arduinos, Maple…) and this thing gives me the worst hard time. The unsigned drivers for Windows 8 for a start… Now all works, I’m satisfied and will tinker with it, but it is very frustrating to have to go through mountains of tutorials just to get it working. I’m not whining for nothing I guess. Yes, I always have to troubleshoot something in my day job with all kinds of computers. But I find to troubleshoot simple things for simple features is a big waste of time. I usually don’t buy 55$ of trouble… I just wonder how you can distribute 60000 BBB’s with major problems just to get it working. What do you think ?

There are advantages to having only one distribution to worry about. And working with an old kernel

But, we allow many distributions to be run on these boards and we are using a brand new kernel. Oh, and that i snot the same Kernel as on the original BeagleBone.

We are 3 months into our launch, so there are some learning curves on this new kernel. Sorry about that. The jump form 3.6 to 3.8 was a major change. Sorry, I can’t apologize for that one.

So this is the price one pays for being on the newer side. We offer the 3.2 kernel versions if you would rather go that route. There are other distributions as well, although they are also on a newer kernel as well. Sorry about that again.

What do I think? Well I wish it were better. maybe we should have taken all the orders, waited 6 months to actually ship and worked out all of these issues. But, by then there would be a newer kernel and things would change again. If we wait for the final Kernel, then we would never ever ship.

Agree. It is safer to work on old kernels and old features. I think we need to look at moving to the 2.6.32 kernel so everything works. Now, finding someone willing to work on that old kernel, that is another story.


Thanks for your response. If you guys (mostly engineers I guess) are having trouble getting this fixed and can’t get through, just think about newbies or an average hobbyist like me. I will try other distros later, but like I said, I guess having a working and stable WiFi dongle that works out of the box with other devices/Linux is out of question. Will keep LAN connection anyways. I will try my LCD3 cape (one reason to use Angstrom) tonight and see if I will have to troubleshoot again for hours. It surely doesn’t work out-of-the-box. Thanks again for your info.

I do not see you mentioning which WiFI dongle this is?

I'm guessing one of those $12-ish really small usb ones???


I would suggest that as a newbie and hobbyist, you take a look at that Linux thing. Do not underestimate its importance in all this. It is open and can be fixed, changed, or modified by anyone That is its appeal. With that a certain level of chaos exists and will always exist. But, it does get better.

Think of it this way. In the PC works there is Intel and AMD. In the ARM world there are at release more than two. Not to mention A8, A9, A15, single core, quad cores, Some have VGA. Some HDMI, Some and LCD, 4.3", 7", or 10"

And on top of that there are all those different companies that make these devices and most more than just one device…

Just imagine getting everyone aligned behind one code base. You can’t expect that to work on day one. So, it happens one release at a time. A little here and a little there.

Just know that there are a lot of people working on this to make it better. And a little encouragement always helps.


I have tried different kinds of WiFi dongles; small ones, medium, with or without an antenna, different chipsets, etc that work with no probs or simple driver install with other Linux distros. I’m not complaining here for nothing. WiFi is supposed to work normally, without having UNIX ninja wizard knowledge… Something is missing ! I know the team is working hard, etc. Keep up the good work !


Did you check the Wiki?


Yes, checked it yesterday… Will have to BUY another dongle ??? Again ! I already have lots of dongles, I have 3 different with the rtl8192cu chipset. Will retry tonight and post results before I buy a suggested one. Thanks again !



Those rtl8192's are crap.. I have a half dozen of them in a shoe box
that i've tested, only one kinda works..

I've always had the best luck with Atheros.. (they actually have a
linux kernel team that maintaines there in-kernel drivers..)


Patrick, as one hobbyist to another( i am guessing you’re a hobbyist anyhow ), I would agree with you that things are not perfect. However, with some time, and determination, all problems I have run into are solvable.
For me, this involved moving away from Angstrom. Yes, Angstrom is the “supported” distro, but Linux is Linux. The main thing for me personally, is that I know Debian much better than most distro’s, and for what I do not know off the top of my hand. I know how/where to search for Debian related problem solving. Mostly, using google, and going to the links displayed as a result.

The key here is that it does not matter in this respect if the instructions you follow are for the beaglebone, or for a PC. There are some differences sure, but if a package exists for ARM, it will most likely work. The file system is essentially , if not exactly the same . . . etc etc.

Anyway, I am not trying to talk you into using Debian, I just mean to say that perhaps you’ll feel more comfortable with another Linux distribution. Then if not, it will take you some time to get proficient with Angstrom. Just like learning any other distro or OS.

Rest assured, you do have a lot of learning to do, but you’re not alone. I have been using Debian since the 90’s, and programming for slightly longer. However, I have never written applications for / on Linux, and embedded Linux is still relatively new to me. I learn much each day I spend time working with my BBB, and I expect to learn much more before I am done. In the end though we’re much better off, because we understand how the hardware, and software work.

Tried the TL-WN722N with Atheros to no avail. Will retry tonight with USB hub, as the dongle draws lots of power. Yes that D-Link hub is in fact working. Thanks for your suggestions ! PS: I always have the 5V 2A adapter plugged in.

Yes, checked it yesterday… Will have to BUY another dongle ??? Again ! I already have lots of dongles, I have 3 different with the rtl8192cu chipset. Will retry tonight and post results before I buy a suggested one. Thanks again !



Patrick, one thing you need to learn about Linux. If you buy hardware for a Linux system, you never impulse buy. You have to do research and see what is supported, and what hardware may have potential issues.

Realtek has been known to have issues in many distro’s, not just for wifi, and for a very long time now. Sure it may work, but usually theres some form of a hassle getting it to work, and then when it does work, it may not work reliably.

I agree wtih Robert about Atheros, Intel used to have some decent stuff too, but most of my experience there is on Windows.

Humm.. That's the exact model i've been running 24/7 on one my test bbb's...


Thanks for your response,

What I am trying to say at first was that; OK, I am very familiar with Debian and most current distros, but troubleshooting with Angstrom… it mostly fails at the end ! Always feels like wasting my time… No fun. You can argue what you want, but so far, from what I read in the forum, official or not, I can see you guys are not using it either ! I have big time fun with my Cubieboard, because even with a “100 page tutorial”, at the end, it works and that is what I was expecting from the BeagleBone Black.

Thank you, I will try Debian for sure.

No one said you have to use Angstrom, in fact at least two people ( including myself ) have stated you can run more than Angstrom on the BBB.

Debian, Ubuntu, Gentoo, Fedora, ARCH/Linux. All these and more run fine on the BBB in addition to Angstrom. The fact that you do not know this already has me wondering how hard you’re really trying to make it work. Obviously, you’re not very committed.

You can more information on the support Wiki, the one listed on the little white card that came in the box with the board.

Menu option 11 “Software Resources”


Thank you, yes I tried many other OS, I’m all good now, did the same with the first BeagleBone… I’m just sorry about not enough “commitment”… I’m a paying customer, have a day job and have many other things to tinker with.

Try the EdiMax EW-7811Un, it’s $9.95 on Amazon. Follow the adafruit tutorial:

Worked first time for me on a stock BBB.