I want to develop my Pi project at various coffee shops around town. Given a laptop and headless Pi, how can I get networking setup? I'm assuming I need to connect the Pi to the coffee shop network, but how do I do that without a monitor connected to the Pi?

I have a couple of ideas, including: - modifying a noobs image on the spot on the laptop (but I'm not sure what will happen when the network asks the Pi to "accept" their terms and conditions) - use Bluetooth to connect to the Pi and set up the network settings through that

How have others solved this? Any ideas are most appreciated!

  • What do you mean by ' when the network asks the Pi to "accept" their terms and conditions'? – joan Dec 19 '15 at 16:10
  • This won't really affect connecting to the Pi over ssh, but if the Pi needs to make http calls, I'm concerned the call will be blocked (unless I can figure out how to "accept"). – Todd R Dec 19 '15 at 16:23
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    USB Serial console is a great way to get into the command line without anything but two wires. – Patrick Cook Dec 19 '15 at 16:49
  • It doesnt really work like you think it works.In order to be redirected a "login page", the DHCP DNS needs to point to the Pi. The Pi then redirects all traffic to itself if a new user is connected. Authorisers, then in the firewall sets proper DNS for that client. But that is easily bypassed by changing the DNS on the client machine, and just bypasses your "login page" - The proper way to do it, is make the Pi the Gateway. DHCP, DNS and outbound. The proper way to do it required 2 ETH. One dedicated to router and one to LAN. The technique uses RADIUS. Not so simple... – Piotr Kula Dec 19 '15 at 17:43
  • Hello Todd, I think that your question needs some clarification. The two answers and the comments show that everybody understands something very different. Could you please elaborate a little more? – Ghanima Dec 19 '15 at 21:18

Does the Pi have to be accessed over WiFi? If not, you can SSH to it via USB OTG after enabling SSH. I believe it's IP over USB so other networked services should work and if properly configured. The Zero should have internet access through the laptop's WiFi connection. Using this method should eliminate the tedium of connecting two seperate devices to a variety of free WiFi hotspots, especially a headless pi.

Here is one example of this solution: https://desertbot.io/blog/ssh-into-pi-zero-over-usb


Are you trying to use your Pi as if you are a customer who comes into the shop and want to use their "Free" WiFi whilst you drink your coffee as someone else with (only) a laptop or smart-phone or tablet might do? In the same way as some authors write whole books in Coffee Shops there are Software developers who work the same way - and if you are working with a Pi you may even get an audience who wonder what that little box with the lights on it is for...

Plugging the Wifi Dongle of the Pi into the laptop (disabling any other built-in to the PC) temporarily and logging into the Wifi (and accepting the Sign-in Web-page that comes up in the PC's browser) will teach their system the dongle's MAC address, if you then deactivate the dongle (probably via a PC system tray icon) you should then be able to un-plug it and move it to the Pi and start that up. Some Free Wifi places like that allow more than one device to be associated with your free account, and if you are lucky they may allow more than one of them to be active at the same time in the same place. However you will probably want to have a VPN set up between your devices as such Wifi systems are not considered "secure" - e.g. Windows Firewall has special setting for "Public" Wifi setups so that things that you might share with other hosts on your home LAN are locked down on a public one.

Whether you will get twice as many adverts sent to you via EMail as the price of this remains unclear - there is no such thing as a Free Lunch (and Free WiFi may have its costs as well!)

EDIT: Silly me, forgot that properly set-up with the right keys shared between hosts SSH will provide a secure link between your Pi and Laptop. Also you will probably need to do the Windows equivalent to the Linux sudo nmap -sP | awk '/^Nmap/{ip=$NF}/AA:BB:CC:DD:EE:FF/{print ip}' (replacing with something that describes the LAN that the units are on and AA:BB:CC:DD:EE:FF with the MAC address of the Pi's Wifi dongle) in order to find the IP address to use to SSH into your Pi...


Note: This answer assumes a wired connection.

The coffee shop has a DHCP server such as a ADSL router. Just set up the Raspi as described and connect it the Ethernet network.

The network is normally Windows network and only the netbios hostname is published.

To do this on Debian you can install samba on the Raspi

sudo apt-get install samba

and if your /etc/hostname is set correctly this will show up in the network without a restart. Just ping it from from a Windows box to get the ip or Putty to it with the hostname.

This also works for BeagleboneBlack and as far as I can remember also with Ubuntu.

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    Great, but I'm not sure how this helps me at a coffee shop. – Todd R Dec 19 '15 at 16:38
  • This doesn't answer the question.. because you are new I will not downvote you. Please update your answer or remove it. This answer makes no sense. – Piotr Kula Dec 19 '15 at 17:45

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