RaspBMC: USB Wifi with RTL8188CUS


I recently built up my second RaspBMC box and due to its location this one really has a need for wireless network connectivity.  Taking a quick look on ebay this is actually a very cheap thing to achieve – indeed, a tiny USB wifi adapter at $4 (including postage) is cheaper than buying a network cable.

The one draw-back is that I have read many forums posts about people having issues with certain chipsets not being supported by RaspBMC out of the box.  In particular was Realtek’s RTL8188CUS, which seems to be by far the most popular (if not completely ubiquitous) chip in these cheap usb wifi sticks.  Most of the posts seemed to me to be a number of months old and in that time the RaspBMC project has come a long a lot in terms of updates.  So, although I have not read anything to say that this problem has gone away, I thought I would commit the measly funds required to buy one regardless and see what would happen.

And so the point of this post… I have tried it with RC4 and the RTL8188CUS chipset works totally fine without the need to install any additional drivers.  The Network Manager add-on was required, however, to get everything configured and connected.  And it’s worth noting that if initial wired network connectivity is a problem there are some pre-built images available which come with this add-on already installed.

Hopefully this post will let others know that it appears that bog-standard ebay adapters are now fine after all and the search for less widely available chipsets is no longer required.


6 Responses to RaspBMC: USB Wifi with RTL8188CUS

  1. Eathernet says:

    Thanks, I just pulled the trigger on a 7 dollars adapter with the 8188CUS chipset. Not the end of the world if it doesn’t work, but this post gives me some hope 🙂

  2. Mark says:

    Thanks. I’m a noob. I’m going to set-up my Pi with RaspBMC, and an adapter with a 8188CUS chipset once everything arrives. You say the network manager is required. Would you put a step-by-step guide on here to help with that process. It would be greatly appreciated

    • philw4rd says:

      Yep, no worries. Select Programs from the home screen. Then select ‘get more’ -> ‘Network-Manager’ -> ‘install’. Wait for it to download and enable.

      Go back out to the home screen, select ‘Programs’ -> ‘Network-Manager’. Up will come the ‘Wifi Connections’ menu. From there things should be fairly straight forward as you select ‘add’, choose your network and fill in the passwords, etc.

      Hope this gets you on your way!

      • Mark says:

        Hey that’s smashing thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

        I’ll give it a bash as soon as I can.

        Great work with the blog


  3. roninio says:

    Hi, for me it doesn’t work. i do not see access points available. empty list

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