December 2, 2012

Ethernet

Posted in Hardware Adventures at 7:24 am by sdjf

Friends have been trying to get me to install Ethernet on my sl6000 Zaurus for years, and I had no reason to do so before now. But, now that I am getting a Raspberry Pi, and that the only way to perform the initial boot to set up the Raspberry Pi’s operating system without an external monitor is via Ethernet, the time has come!

First, I am taking the easy way out and using the built in Network GUI on my Tosa to configure LAN Ethernet.

I tried setting Ethernet up with no Proxy and to auto-detect everything, but of course this has been a somewhat useless exercise until I get an Ethernet adapter and something to connect it to. Ethernet has been configured on the Zaurus, but does not show up in the Connections Menu because there is no Ethernet device attached. The GUI works the same way for my Dialup connections: dialup services have been configured, but there is no GUI for connecting unless my modem is plugged in to the Zaurus.

It will be interesting to see how the Zaurus GUI handles two different types of networking devices being attached to it at the same time.

I will soon find out, because the StarTech USB to Ethernet Adapter, Model USB2106S that I have purchased will be here very soon. This adapter expects to plug into a standard female USB port, and the Tosa’s USB ports are definitely not standard, full-sized USB ports. However, I have plenty of USB adapter cables of various types lying around, and a few that are perfect for this purpose, so I do not think I will need to buy any additional special USB adapter cables.

In planning the hardware configuration, I initially was very confused about what hardware I would need for connecting the Pi and my Zaurus via Ethernet, getting different advice from different people. It was clear I would need an Ethernet adapter. And most people were telling me I had to have a router or switch or crossover cable. However, while one of those might be needed if I want to plug more than just my Zaurus SL6000 into the Pi, I think they are definitely not essential for the task. Helpful folks at the Raspberry Pi forum explained that the Raspberry Pi can automatically detect whether it is an Ethernet Host or Client, and that the Raspberry Pi can assign itself it’s own Ethernet IP address during the initial boot if configured
to do so.

But, long before getting this much clarity, on
the assumption that I would need one in any event, I had already purchased a short USB patch
cable, since it seemed I was likely to need that to connect the Ethernet adapter to my Raspberry Pi. So, that is cable is already waiting here for the arrival of my Pi and Ethernet Adapter.

And, while waiting for my Pi to arrive, I am going ahead and working on modifying the settings in the boot partition of the SD card which I have already prepared with Arch Linux Arm for the Raspberry Pi.

For more technical information about the steps
I am following to set up Ethernet on both my Zaurus and my Raspberry Pi, see my page about Setting Up Ethernet.

sdjf

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