I'm teaching a class on the Raspberry Pi so I will have a bunch of Pis connected to a single access point. I'm trying to figure out how I can make sure the student is SSHing into the correct Pi.

My Ideas:

  • Mac Address
    • I'm under the impression that the mac address isn't printed on the Rpi3 or the box is comes with so I couldn't use that to identify it.
  • Change the hostname
    • This would work because I could use ssh pi@<hostname>.local but it seems you can't change this with the config text. You can only change the hostname once you're SSH'd into the Pi.
  • SSH over USB
    • This should work without issue however I feel like it would be over complicating things for people who have never used linux / RPi before.
  • Reboot Pis
    • Very slow and dumb idea but I could just have people watch the power indicators of the Pi and I can SSH them one by one turning them off.

How can I an easily way to identify a user's Rpi on network with many Pis?

  • 2
    Can't you change the hostnames in advance?
    – Brick
    Jul 26, 2017 at 20:03
  • Second question: Can you log into the access point to get the IP addresses assigned to the Pis?
    – Brick
    Jul 26, 2017 at 20:05
  • @Brick Not sure what you mean by in advance but I'm under the impression you have to be connected to the Pi in order to change the hostname. I have full access to the router
    – Nick
    Jul 26, 2017 at 20:14
  • I meant you set up the Pis before the students arrive, doing each Pi one at a time.
    – Brick
    Jul 26, 2017 at 20:22
  • Nope, they are bringing their own hardware
    – Nick
    Jul 26, 2017 at 20:23

1 Answer 1


Based on what you said, I suggest this:

  • Log into the router.
  • Have the students connect their Pis one at a time.
  • As each Pi is connected, note the IP address assigned to it.
  • Have the students log into their Pi by IP address the first time.
  • First lesson is how to change the hostname!

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