How to setup mDNS lookups on the Raspberry Pi

I’ve got the new Raspberry Pi 2, and was setting it up the other day. The first thing that annoys me with vanilla Debian installations is that they don’t have mDNS/zeroconf/avahi enabled by default. This technology is very useful, since it helps you to advertise services on you local network, lets you resolve host names without the need for setting up a DNS server and much more.

Especially the convenience of not having to remember IP-addresses for your machines is worth the work to set this up. With DHCP you might not even get the same IP for every machine every time.

For this to work, I asked a question over at the Linux & Unix StackExchange. So parts of this blog entry are taken from there.

First, you might want to install avahi on your RasPi;

sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon

This should help with the Pi being resolvable by name from other machines — which also have to support mDNS. For example Macs will come with mDNS-lookup enabled. So you should be able to ping your Pi just by using its name plus the local-domain:

ping raspberrypi.local

Next, you want to install the client side name service support for mDNS:

sudo apt-get install libnss-mdns

Make sure that the /etc/nsswitch.conf contains this line:

hosts: files mdns4_minimal [NOTFOUND=return] dns mdns4

There is probably already a line starting with “hosts:”, which you can simple comment out with the #-sign.

For added convenience, you may want to add the sshd to the advertised services of avahi. Simply add a file /etc/avahi/services/ssh.service containing the following lines:

<?xml version="1.0" standalone='no'?><!--*-nxml-*-->
<!DOCTYPE service-group SYSTEM "avahi-service.dtd">
<name replace-wildcards="yes">%h</name>

This should let you use mDNS on you Pi, see the advertised services on you other machines in the local network. If you are using Plex Media Server (see this great post), it will also utilize avahi to advertise its services.

How to setup an OpenWRT router as a WiFi bridge to an Ethernet router

You can use an OpenWRT router or access point to connect WiFi enabled devices to a router, which only has wired Ethernet. For this to work, I am assuming you already have an access point or router running OpenWRT, in this case version 12.09, Attitude Adjustment.
Log into your router, using the LuCi frontend, and go to the Network/Interfaces tab:

There you should see your LAN device. Edit it to have an appropriate IP address from your local subnet. Most often your network will be and your existing router will have the IP But your mileage may vary…

Lets put in a static IP address, so we can find our router in case something goes wrong. Also make sure to set the netmask (in this case, gateway and DNS server (both probably should point to your router,

Now go to the Physical Settings tab. Here, it’s important to check “Bridge interfaces” and to select both the ethernet adapter, most likely eth0, and the wireless network. One of the ethernet devices will say “wan”, if your are using a router instead of an access point for this. You don’t want that device.

Hit “Save & Apply” when you are ready. And be sure to have the de-bricking guide ready, if something goes wrong…