Recycle your old netbook to a wireless ethernet bridge for your Raspberry Pi

Instructions with more detail and less prose follow below…

In the last few weeks I have been looking for a solution to get my Raspberry Pi connected to the internet without extensive cables trailing around our home. And, as a Yorkshire man, I have been trying to do it on a budget.

As a result, home-plugs or Ethernet bridges weren’t an option. And due to the layout of our house, neither was discreet cabling. Setting up a windows network bridge, or using internet connection sharing didn’t work either, for reasons I don’t fully understand. Trying to follow the readily available instructions on the internet for turning your Linux installation into a router simply hurt my brain.

And then I found that, quite simply, when the Raspberry Pi and Ubuntu were networked, they both willingly worked out IP addresses, and when the wired connection was enabled to be shared, surely enough, it made the internet available too. Beautiful and parsimonious.

So I thought it might be good to have something operating as a permanent server to deliver my wireless connection to hard-wired devices in my room. So I drew my old Eee PC; now 5 years old most modern software is virtually useless. Loading up a terminal only version of Lubuntu and the most basic edition of Lxde seemed to do the trick. Using the terminal I installed Network manager, to share and configure the wired connection, and now with a simply CAT5 cable linking it to the Pi, it enjoys unrestrained access to the net.

But I wasn’t finished there! To get more out of this newly available hard wired connection in my room, I plugged in a router, which took and ip address perfectly from the Eee, and relayed it to my Xbox, RasPi, iPad and Laptop giving me all the connectivity I ever wanted to play about with, having my devices no longer strangled from the internet due to a lack of wlan cards. And it worked fine with our Virgin Media 30meg broadband connection relaying HD video for half an hour on the Xbox.

More Detailed Instructions

1. Download the Lubuntu Alternate Iso here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Lubuntu/Alternate_ISO

2. Copy the ISO to your USB drive following these instructions: http://elinux.org/RPi_Easy_SD_Card_Setup (Scroll down to the heading ‘Copying an image to the SD Card in Linux (command line)’ or find another way of flashing an ISO to a USB stick)

3. Get LXDE by typing:

sudo apt-get install lxde

Note: what I did then was type ‘startx’ at the command prompt which told me another command to type in. This command installed a package to let Lubuntu boot on into LXDE from then on in. I think it was another sudo apt-get install thing. Now it’s done I cannie really repeat it, but it was simple enough.

4. Boot into LXDE, then run from the terminal:

sudo apt-get install network-manager

5. Load LXDE, press the LXDE start button equivilant, select ‘preferences’ and then ‘Network Connections’

Click on your wired connection that will be sending to the Eee PC, click Edit at the right, and click on the IPv4 settings tab. In the Method drop down box, select “Shared to other computers” and click ‘Save’. Note: If you find you cannot reach the save button with your mouse due to the screen being to small, hold down ALT and drag the window up with the mouse to access the button.

6. Connect your Eee PC to your Raspberry Pi, or Xbox or whatever, and reboot it. Once the logon screen is showing, boot the Raspberry Pi. You should then have access to the internet over the Eee PC.

Please note I haven’t yet set up a Gui for the wireless network, it simply loads as the system boots. The details are still stored within from the installation

Do please comment if you have any questions, or to tell us it works. Thankyou!

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