The Raspberry Pi is a truly versatile piece of technology. With a Pi we can learn to code, build robots, work with complex sensor data and even turn an old printer into a web enabled device. If you have an older Raspberry Pi, gathering dust, then we have a quick and simple project to add extra Wi-Fi connectivity for no extra outlay.
The latest Raspberry Pi OS release saw a beta of Network Manager, a tool new to the Raspberry Pi that replaces dhcpcd as a means to manage networking on the Pi. This new tool provides us with a simple, GUI based means to configure a spare Raspberry Pi as a wireless access point. If you need to extend a networking setup, add Wi-Fi to those hard to reach places, then this is for you.
We’re going to go through the steps necessary to configure a Raspberry Pi as a wireless access point, and have the access point start whenever the Pi is booted. Best of all, this project will work with the Raspberry Pi 3B, 3B+ and the latest Raspberry Pi 4.
Setting up Network Manager for Wi-Fi Access Point
The Network Manager application is a new addition to Raspberry Pi OS, at the time of writing this is still a beta, requiring a few extra steps in order to switch from the older dhcpcd application to Network Manager.
In this section we detail the steps necessary to configure your Pi to use the new networking tool.
1. Set up a Raspberry Pi if you don’t have one already. See our guide on how to set up a Raspberry Pi.
2. Connect your Raspberry Pi to an Ethernet connection. Our Pi will become a wireless access point, but our connection to a router will be via Ethernet. This provides the strongest connection and ensures the highest speed possible.
3. Open a terminal window on the Pi or an SSH connection to the Raspberry Pi.
4. Make sure your Raspberry Pi is up to date, by running the latest update commands. This isn’t strictly necessary, as the latest Raspberry Pi OS release will already be fairly up-to-date. Consider this a best practice.
sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y
5. Use raspi-config to edit the configuration of your Raspberry Pi. The network manager option is currently only available via raspi-config, and not via the GUI editor.
6. Using the cursor keys, navigate to Advanced Options and press Enter.
7. Navigate to Network Config and press Enter.
8. Select Network Manager and then click OK.
9. Click on OK.
10. Click Finish.
11. Select Yes to reboot.