Setting up a Wi-Fi Hotspot using the Network Manager GUI on the NVIDIA Jetsons is simple, but there is a trick. Looky here:
Being able to access your Jetson through a wireless hotspot is a useful feature. The Jetson can act as a wireless router to share a wired Internet connection with other devices such as phones and computers. You can also use the hotspot to access other machines and servers on the same network.
Of course, you’ll need a wireless Network Interface Controller (NIC). You will find that these types of NICs are also referred to as Wi-Fi cards. Some of the Jetson Developer Kits have built in wireless. Others, such as the Jetson Nanos, add them separately. Here’s how to install a wireless card in a Jetson Nano.
Configuration is simple through the Network Manager GUI. The video walks through a couple of ways to do this. The first is through the System Settings->Network dialog. It’s almost as simple as clicking the ‘Use as Hotspot…’ button.
Unfortunately, this does not work with many recent wireless cards. In the video we are using an Intel 8265NGW Wi-Fi card.
The ‘Use as Hotspot…’ button creates a wireless connection with a default mode of ‘ad-hoc‘. Typically ad-hoc networks are mesh networks where machines connect together without a central control point. Windows 10 quit supporting these types of networks, so the wireless NIC card manufacturers followed suit. The result is that even though you can set the mode to ad-hoc, the Jetson will not connect to it if you have that type of NIC card when you try to create the network.
Instead, setting the connections mode to ‘Hotspot’ creates a network similar to that of a wireless router. Also, note that this method assigns a default password to the network using WEP encryption.
Create Hotspot from ‘Scratch’
The second method is to create a new connection using the ‘Edit Connections…’ menu item from the Network menu in the status bar.
There may be terms with which you are not familiar. One, SSID (Service Set Identifier) can be thought of as the name of the network other devices will see. Follow along in the video to get a feel how to setup the Hotspot.
This method allows a little more control over how you setup your Hotspot, including a wider variety of encryption.
Sharing an Internet Connection
One of the examples in the video is sharing an Internet connection with other devices. The Internet connection to the Jetson is through a wired Ethernet connection to a cable modem. The important point is that the Internet connection is through the wired Ethernet; it is not coming from a Wi-Fi connection. The Wi-Fi NIC is creating the wireless network, it cannot connect to the another device at the same time.
Using the Network
The other example is simply using the wireless network to connect with other computers. In the example, we connect to the Jetson via SSH. Note however that we can do the regular computery stuff. For example, we can have a private web server running on the Jetson and serve pages on the network. In the example, we start up Robot Operating System (ROS) server on the Jetson and launch control nodes for a robot.
Command Line Tools
There are several command line tools that you can use to configure a Hotspot. For example, there is a command line version of the Network Manager named nmcli
The tool iw is the replacement for the earlier iwconfig tool. One very useful command of iw is the list command:
$ iw list
Which lists the capabilities of attached wireless devices. These radios are complicated, being able to see all of their capabilites is useful.
There is also hostapd which is a popular configuration tool.
If you are configuring the wireless access point at this level, there are many things to take into consideration depending on usage. But if you need it, you need it.
The equipment in the video:
- NVIDIA Jetson Nano B01 Development Kit
- Intel 8265 NGW NIC card and antennas
- L4T 32.6.1, Ubuntu 18.04
- JetPack 4.6