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I have an industrial PC that I want to have communicate with a remote device (say, a tablet) through a web page. The PC itself may or may not be connected to the Internet.

Is there a device which can plug into the PC’s USB port and serve a wireless network that only allows talking to a specific port? (The one that would be used to serve the webpage.)

The tablet would connect to the PC’s network and it would only be able to access that page (not the world wide web).

I’m not sure if a USB wifi adapter can do this, and I’m hoping for something smaller than a standard router.

If so, any pointers on configuring the device to create such a network?

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  • I also don't know if it's possible, but it's certainly an interesting idea! Jan 8, 2023 at 4:40
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    Windows 10 has a "hotspot" feature that lets you host a network instead of connecting to one. Almost any WiFi adapter should work. Limiting it to a specific port has nothing to do with WiFi, that has to do with the PC's firewall settings.
    – Romen
    Jan 9, 2023 at 21:49

2 Answers 2

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I have done this with a raspberry Pi 4, and some usb wifi adapters support access point mode.

However, linux on any PC will work.

I don't know of any equilavants for windows.

Apache or nginx will host the web page for you.

The software is hostapd In /etc/hostpad.conf you setup the SSID,password, and etc.

You may or may not want to turn on ip_forwarding You will also need a DHCP server, isc-dhcp-server, or use static IP addressing.

If it is connected to the internet you will want a dns server such as bind or dnsmasq

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It is easily done via hardware, with a < $20 usb wifi adapter or usb wifi dongle you can buy off amazon or elsewhere. You would want to choose the correct wifi frequency to have between both devices, 802.11ac is most common currently... both devices must support the wifi standard chosen.

At the hardware level this is rather easy to answer your basic question of Is there a device which can plug into the PC’s USB port and serve a wireless network. Yes, a cheap usb-to-wifi adapter.

To have wifi security and only allow specific devices to connect, that would be done in software on the hosting device, setting up WEP or WPA and an SSID with password to connect.

Like was mentioned in the comment, one of the computers having window10 or later you would make use of the mobile hotspot, which creates the wifi network and will allow the other device(s) to connect to it. How that would be done in linux I don't know.

that only allows talking to a specific port?

hardware-wise, no, everything is built around the OSI model. To restrict ports that will be done in software on the wifi hosting device, typically via the firewall, and doesn't have anything to do with the hardware aspect of the usb-to-wifi adapter.

5 Router OS's that turns Old PC Into High Performance Router And Enterprise Network Switch

https://www.geckoandfly.com/24015/router-os-enterprise-network-switch/

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