Setting Up Jackal’s Network

Jackal is equipped with a combination Wifi + Bluetooth wireless module. On currently-shipping units, this is an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235. If this is your first unboxing, ensure that Jackal’s wireless antennas are firmly screwed on to the chassis.

First Connection

By default, Jackal’s wireless is in client mode, looking for the wireless network at the Clearpath factory. In order to set it up to connect to your own network, you’ll have to open up the chassis and connect a network cable to the PC’s STATIC port. The other end of this cable should be connected to your laptop, and you should give yourself an IP address in the 192.168.131.x space, such as Then, make the connection to Jackal’s default static IP:

ssh administrator@

The default password is clearpath. You should now be logged into Jackal as the administrator user.

Changing the Default Password


All Clearpath robots ship from the factory with their login password set to clearpath. Upon receipt of your robot we recommend changing the password.

To change the password to log into your robot, run the


command. This will prompt you to enter the current password, followed by the new password twice. While typing the passwords in the passwd prompt there will be no visual feedback (e.g. “*” characters).

To further restrict access to your robot you can reconfigure the robot’s SSH service to disallow logging in with a password and require SSH certificates to log in. This tutorial covers how to configure SSH to disable password-based login.

Connecting to Wifi Access Point

Jackal uses netplan for configuring its wired and wireless interfaces. To connect Jackal to your wireless network, create the file /etc/netplan/60-wireless.yaml and fill in the following:

    # Replace WIRELESS_INTERFACE with the name of the wireless network device, e.g. wlan0 or wlp3s0
    # Fill in the SSID and PASSWORD fields as appropriate.  The password may be included as plain-text
    # or as a password hash.  To generate the hashed password, run
    #   echo -n 'WIFI_PASSWORD' | iconv -t UTF-16LE | openssl md4 -binary | xxd -p
    # If you have multiple wireless cards you may include a block for each device.
    # For more options, see
      optional: true
          password: PASSWORD_GOES_HERE
      dhcp4: true
        send-hostname: true

Once configured, run

sudo netplan apply

to bring up your wireless connection. Running ip a will show all active connections and their IP addresses.

Remote ROS Connection

To use ROS desktop tools, you’ll need your computer to be able to connect to Jackal’s ROS master. This can be a tricky process, but we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible.

In order for the ROS tools on your computer to talk to Jackal, they need to know two things:

  • How to find the ROS master, which is set in the ROS_MASTER_URI environment variable, and

  • How processes on the other computer can find your computer, which is the ROS_IP environment variable.

The suggested pattern is to create a file in your home directory called with the following contents:

export ROS_MASTER_URI=http://cpr-jackal-0001:11311  # Jackal's hostname
export ROS_IP=                           # Your laptop's wireless IP address

If your network doesn’t already resolve Jackal’s hostname to its wireless IP address, you may need to add a corresponding line to your computer’s /etc/hosts file: cpr-jackal-0001

Then, when you’re ready to communicate remotely with Jackal, you can source that script like so, thus defining those two key environment variables in the present context.


Now, when you run commands like rostopic list, rostopic echo, rosnode list, and others, the output you see should reflect the activity on Jackal’s ROS master, rather than on your own machine. Once you’ve verified the basics (list, echo) from the prompt, try launching some of the standard visual ROS tools:

roslaunch jackal_viz view_robot.launch
rosrun rqt_robot_monitor rqt_robot_monitor
rosrun rqt_console rqt_console

If there are particular rqt widgets you find yourself using a lot, you may find it an advantage to dock them together and then export this configuration as the default RQT perspective. Then, to bring up your standard GUI, you can simply run:


Reconfiguring the network bridge

In the unlikely event you must modify Jackal’s ethernet bridge, you can do so by editing the Netplan configuration file found at /etc/netplan/50-clearpath-bridge.yaml:

# Configure the wired ports to form a single bridge
# We assume wired ports are en* or eth*
# This host will have address
version: 2
renderer: networkd
  dhcp4: no
  dhcp6: no
    name: eth*
  dhcp4: no
  dhcp6: no
    name: en*
  dhcp4: yes
  dhcp6: no
  interfaces: [bridge_en, bridge_eth]

This file will create a bridged interface called br0 that will have a static address of, but will also be able to accept a DHCP lease when connected to a wired router. By default all network ports named en* and eth* are added to the bridge. This includes all common wired port names, such as:

  • eth0

  • eno1

  • enx0123456789ab

  • enp3s0

  • etc…

To include/exclude additional ports from the bridge, edit the match fields, or add additional bridge_* sections with their own match fields, and add those interfaces to the interfaces: [bridge_en, bridge_eth] line near the bottom of the file.

We do not recommend changing the static address of the bridge to be anything other than; changing this may cause sensors that communicate over ethernet (e.g. lidars, cameras, GPS arrays) from working properly.