Tags: Raspberry, Pi, Official, UK, &, EU, development, board, zero, w

Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless)

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    • Product Code: Digital
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    Now with WiFi! Not to be mistaken with the standard Raspberry Pi Zero, this new model has WiFi and Bluetooth built in!The ultra-small and ultra-slim Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) is the smallest form factor Raspberry Pi on the market now incorporating WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity on board. It is..

    Now with WiFi! Not to be mistaken with the standard Raspberry Pi Zero, this new model has WiFi and Bluetooth built in!

    The ultra-small and ultra-slim Raspberry Pi Zero W (Wireless) is the smallest form factor Raspberry Pi on the market now incorporating WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity on board. It is 40% faster than the original Raspberry Pi but measures only 65mm long by 30mm wide and 5mm deep. The Raspberry Pi Zero W supports mini connectors to save on space and the 40 pin GPIO is unpopulated provding the flexibility to use only the connections your project requires.


    DeviceRaspberry Pi ZeroRaspberry Pi 1Raspberry Pi 2
    CPU1GHz ARM11 Broadcom CPU700MHz ARM11 Broadcom CPU900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU from Broadcom
    GPUVideocore IVVideocore IVVideocore IV
    StoragemicroSD card slotSD card slotmicroSD card slot
    Connectivity1 x microUSB, mini-HDMI, an unpopulated composite video header4 x USB, HDMI, Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack4 x USB, HDMI, Ethernet, 3.5mm audio jack
    OSLinuxLinuxLinux, Windows 10 IoT core
    ConnectorsUnpopulated 40-pin GPIO header, SPI, I2CCamera interface (CSI), GPIO, SPI, I2C, JTAGCamera interface (CSI), GPIO, SPI, I2C, JTAG

    How To Setup Raspberry Pi Zero W Headless WiFi

    The following instructions will work anytime, you don't necessarily have to follow them for the first boot - this is just a very convenient way to get your Raspberry Pi onto a network without using any plug-in peripherals like a keyboard, mouse or monitor.


    A computer setup without a monitor is said to be running headless. You might want to do this if you're installing your Pi into some project, or want to keep power-usage and cost minimal. This kind of setup is what the Pi Zero W was built for. The idea is that you can still access your Pi's terminal interface over your network using a protocol called SSH.

    All we need to do is get our Pi set up with the right WiFi credentials and we'll be able to remotely access it through a terminal program, as if we were using the terminal Pi's own desktop. What's more, we'll get our Pi connected to WiFi without ever having to plug in a monitor, keyboard or mouse to configure it.


    • A Raspberry Pi with WiFi on-board - I'm using a Raspberry Pi Zero W but the steps will be the same for Raspberry     Pi 3 Model B.
    • A micro SD card with SD adapter. A power supply for your Pi; we recommend the official supply.
    • A computer connected to the same network you wish to connect your Pi to.
    • Raspbian Jessie or Jessie Lite, download from the RPi foundation (they have a complete installation guide if you       runinto trouble) PuTTY, a free SSH program.
    • If you're on OSx or Linux, you can already SSH from your terminal.


    Insert your SD card with Raspbian into it into your computer and open the SD card from your file explorer - the drive will be labeled boot


    Within the boot directory, Right-Click > New > Text Document and rename the document to wpa_supplicant.conf - Make sure that you change the file extension from .txt to .conf - You will be prompted to confirm the extension change.


    With the empty file created, Right-Click on it an select open. You may be prompted to select a program you'd like to open the file with - just choose Notepad.

    This is where we enter our WiFi details. Enter the following text into the file, replacing the placeholder text with your own details, including country.

    ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev

    SSID is the name of your WiFi network, and psk is your WiFi password.



    By default, the current version of Raspbian has SSH disabled. We're going to enable it here. 

    Create an empty file in the boot directory called ssh

    Make sure that the file has no file extension, i.e. remove the .txt if you created the file by selecting New > Text File.



    Your Pi is now ready for startup. Eject the SD card from your computer and insert it into your Pi. Power up your Pi (we recommend an official power supply) and wait a few moments for the initial boot to complete. On your computer, open up PuTTY. We know that the default hostname (the name of the machine) for a fresh Raspbian install is raspberrypi, so in the Host Name (or IP address) field enter raspberrypi.

    This searches for machines on that name on the local network. Once a connection is established, you'll be prompted by PuTTY to accept the connection to the new machine. You should see a black terminal prompting for a login. Enter the default username: pi and the default password: raspberry If you get an error saying the host does not exist, try the troubleshooting steps.



    It's not a clever idea to leave everything at their defaults - for instance, everybody knows the default username and password for Raspbian. What's more, if you want to deploy another Pi onto your network, it'll have the same default hostname as your first one. How will you know which Pi you're connecting to?  This is a good opportunity to run sudo raspi-config and at least change the hostname. Once you've saved these changes and rebooted your Pi, save the SSH details within PuTTY - enter the new hostname in the Host Name field and in the Saved Sessions field and click Save. Now you can quickly connect to your Pi, and keep track of multiple Pis from within PuTTY.

    Here I changed the hostname of my Pi to devpi-1, so I'm creating a PuTTY session to reflect that.



    If PuTTY tells you that the host does not exist, and your Pi is powered and the WiFi configured correctly:

    • Make sure you don't have any other Raspberry Pis on your network with the hostname raspberrypi.
    • Try connecting to raspberrypi.local
    • If the previous step doesn't work for you, proceed with the following.
    • Windows: open command prompt as an administrator:
      • Windows 10: press Windows-Key + X to bring up the power-user menu. Select Command Prompt (Admin)
      • Earlier versions: Start > Accessories > Command Prompt (Admin)
    • Execute the command ipconfig /flushdns

    If you want permanent SSH access, but it's disabled after you reboot the Pi and you have to recreate the "ssh" file again to get it back:

    • Create the "ssh" file again as described above
    • Run the command sudo raspi-config
    • Go to 5 Interfacing Options and press enter
    • Select <Yes> and press enter
    • Select <Finish> and press enter
    • Reboot your Pi to ensure it worked

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