Installing the Tenda W311U Mini Wireless USB Dongle

Installing the Tenda W311U Mini Wireless USB Dongle

This install guide was completed on the latest stable release of Debian Squeeze, but it should work on later releases, such as Wheezy. This guide will give a step by step overview of how to install the Tenda W311U MiniWireless USB Adaptor.

Requirements: Make sure you have a decent power supply for the Pi (we use 2000mA adaptors to stop any low power cut-outs), in addition to a USB hub. Like most wireless dongles, the Tenda adaptor requires more power than the Pi USB ports can provide, so it will need to be plugged into a powered hub.

Also, make sure that you are connected to the internet via a LAN cable.

1. Firstly, we need to check that the OS we are using has a 'non-free' component:

sudo grep non-free /etc/apt/sources.list

Which should reveal:

deb squeeze main non-free

Or similar. If this is not the case, you've really buggered something up (or you're super smart). Anyway, if it doesn't say that, you'll need to change it to the above (or your local Debian ftp server), or simply format your SD card and start again with the OS.

2. We can now install the Ralink drivers.

Change the directory to where we want the drivers to go:

cd /etc/apt

And install them:

sudo apt-get install firmware-ralink

3. OK so we've installed the drivers, plug the dongle into a spare port on the USB hub and we'll query it with the lsusb command:


This should reveal a list of the installed usb devices, including the dongle:

Bus 001 Device 005: ID 148f:3070 Ralink Technology, Corp. RT2870/RT3070 Wireless Adapter

4. As a double check, we can check the system log to see if it's registered the dongle.


This will check the system log, and the most recent log should be the successful installation of the wifi dongle:

usb 1-1.3: new high speed USB device number 5 using dwc_otg
usb 1-1.3: New USB device found, idVendor=148f, idProduct=3070
usb 1-1.3: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
usb 1-1.3: Product: 802.11 n WLAN
usb 1-1.3: Manufacturer: Ralink
usb 1-1.3: SerialNumber: 1.0
cfg80211: Calling CRDA to update world regulatory domain
usb 1-1.3: reset high speed USB device number 5 using dwc_otg
ieee80211 phy0: Selected rate control algorithm 'minstrel_ht'
Registered led device: rt2800usb-phy0::radio
Registered led device: rt2800usb-phy0::assoc
Registered led device: rt2800usb-phy0::quality
usbcore: registered new interface driver rt2800usb

Cool, it’s now been installed! Now we need to install a network manager to get on-line! There's a variation of network managers to choose from. But we have selected gnome as an example:

5. Let’s just make sure everything is up to date:

sudo aptitude update

6. Next lets install the network manager:

sudo aptitude install network-manager-gnome

It should come up with a warning saying that you will use SD card space, just say yes.

7. After it's installed, it's probably worth restarting your Pi. 

Now unplug your LAN and boot your Pi. 

Start up the GUI with:


You should now have the network manager in the corner of the screen, next to the time. Click on this and connect to your wireless network!

Easy Peasy!

Author: Neil Ronketti 

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