There are a few ways to get wireless working on an install from the XBMC Live CD (which is what I run), but as far as I can work out, this is the easiest. This will also work on Ubuntu if you're running XBMC as a session rather than a desktop application or when you're not running a desktop environment at all.
What I'm going to show is how to install wicd, a wireless daemon that runs on your system and provides easy wireless configuration.
Get your XBMC machine to a terminal
With your XBMC machine turned off, power on the machine and hold down the SHIFT key as the BIOS screen ends. You should get a GRUB screen offering XBMC or XBMC Safe Mode. Choose Safe Mode and hit enter. The machine will boot to a root terminal.
Get the packages
If you can get a temporary wired internet connection to the machine, you can grab the packages from the repositories. This is the easiest way to install wicd and the following line will install all the required packages in one go.
apt-get install wicd-curses
Note: when prompted if you want to add any users to the netdev group, add your local user account (this is the one you specified during installation)
If this has worked, go to Configure Wireless. Otherwise keep reading...
So, you don't have a wired connection. Don't worry, generous as I am, I've created a tar file with all the required files and a simple install script. Download it from here:
Expand the files from the tar and copy them to a USB key, plug it into the XBMC machine and mount it:
mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt
dmesg | tail
Now your device is mounted, navigate to where you put the files:
Now you need to install the packages, and configure your wireless:
If you got any errors saying that wicd couldn't start then you've probably got network-manager installed. Otherwise, skip this section.
We can stop any existing network managers ready to start wicd. You should only need to do this if you've been playing about with the wireless before.
service network-manager stop
apt-get remove network-manager
service wicd start
Nearly there now
Finally, to configure your wireless, type the following line. If you're running the install script, this will be run for you.
From here on it's pretty simple. You should get a basic interface with a list of networks your wireless adapter can 'see'.
- Highlight the one you want to connect to and press the right cursor key to configure it
- Scroll down and check 'Automatically connect to this network'
- Scroll down to the botton and enter the wireless key
- Press [F10] to save. You should be back at the list of networks with your network highlighted
- Press shift and c (capital C) to connect to the network
- Once connected (check status in the bottom left), press q to quit
When you're happy your wireless is working (try pinging http://www.google.com or your router) reboot the machine
Congratulations, you now have wireless networking!
(sorry, I couldn't get a screenshot of a machine with wicd at the moment, but I'll try and get one and upload it)