[Techtalk] USB wireless as an AP?

Carla Schroder carla at bratgrrl.com
Tue Apr 29 22:10:18 UTC 2008

On Tuesday 29 April 2008 12:14:44 pm Elwing wrote:
> Chix,
> I haven't ever tried using a USB wireless device under Linux, but I'm  
> looking to create a separate wireless network off of my firewall  
> (Debian w/IPtables), and "overcome" some of the rather poor design  
> decisions of my current AP (Belkin).
> What I'm not sure of is if I can even find a good 802.11g (n whatever)  
> USB wireless device that works under Linux, will I be able to  
> configure the firewall to act as an AP?

Linux makes a dandy full-featured wireless access point, which the smart 
owners of the Linux Networking Cookbook know. :) In fact I've been rolling my 
own WAPS for years, because the commercial ones are overpriced under-featured 
suckpits. You need a WIC that supports all wireless modes, not just the 
client modes, and as far as I know that is only Atheros-based interfaces. I'm 
not up on USB WICs, so you're on your own there. So the short story is, find 
the right WIC and you can build yourself a good stout WAP that outperforms 
most commercial models.

Another option is to flash your Belkin with DD-WRT or OpenWRT, which are both 
open source firmware replacements for Linksys, Belkin, and other 
consumer-level broadband routers/WAPs. The hardware in these little boxes is 
generally OK; it's the software that they should be ashamed to let other 
people see. Both sites have tables of supported devices.

Carla Schroder
check out the shiny new Linux Networking Cookbook!
Chock full o' step-by-step howtos for network admins!

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