I want to make an AP from a Linux PC with an USB Wi-Fi adapter.

My attempts until now weren't really successful; either the driver missed the AP capability feature, or the signal strength was negligible even from the next room.

I would be really glad to reduce the costly buy-try-throw cycle, anybody has a good experience with such a thing?

If it is impossible (for example the power is not enough on the USB bus), PCI card would be also okay (I've tried one with an Atheros chipset, but the signal strength was with it also negligible).

If it needs a little bit of SW/HW hacking, it is not a problem.

  • It sounds odd that you'd find a PCI card with a "negligible" signal strength. So I suspect your notion of what is a good signal strength might need to be described in more details. In most cases the signal strength mostly depends on the antenna more than the card itself.
    – Stefan
    Nov 18, 2015 at 15:32
  • 2
    @Stefan Ok. From around 50cm distance it has the same signal strength as the wifi of my neighbors (they are 10m distance, behind at least one concrete wall). I use the antenna I've got from the manufacturer with it, have a direct visibility with the device, and I've tried the antennas in every possible orientation. Maybe it is a bad card, but if it is so, it would be sooo happy if I shouldn't buy a similarly bad hardware again. These buy - doesn't work - throw out - money lost loops are very, very embarrassing. Warranty isn't always applicable, and has also administrative / postal costs.
    – peterh
    Nov 18, 2015 at 18:10
  • @K7AAY It does not depend on the distro, specifying the distro would be an uneeded (misleading) part of the question. But I use Debian (Buster now and probably Stretch at the time). It depends on the kernel. I use recent stable kernels. My current experience is that the station mode works pretty well, but the AP mode still don't. Meanwhile I used other solutions for the problem, however I am still quite interested, what is going on the AP front in the Linux kernel. In my opinion, an AP should be able to do everything what we can do on an ethernet cable.
    – peterh
    Mar 18, 2020 at 20:59
  • vitux.com/make-debian-a-wireless-access-point is excessively cheery to a skeptic, but have you tried it? And, when you refer to PCI, are you aiming at a mini-PCIe card to mount in a laptop, or a PCI bus card for a desktop? What WiFI HW do you have at present, BTW?
    – K7AAY
    Mar 18, 2020 at 21:14
  • @K7AAY At the moment I use an old belkin usb (050d:845a). Earlier I tried numerous devices and the results were... well... not very good. I had luck if station mode worked. Many devices did not even have a working driver. Now the case is much better (nearly all the devices can work in station mode). The old belkin usb uses the staging driver r8712u, I have the most hope in it, although the driver does not yet follow the 80211 api in the kernel (it was developed by the manufacturer before that api appeared and nobody ported it to that).
    – peterh
    Mar 18, 2020 at 22:37

2 Answers 2



This is a list of USB wifi adapters tested by the community.

Part of the same website but a specific list


Each one has extensive notes that are too long to copy and paste here.


I recommend reading all the information before going out and buying anything.

Also contributing your experience to them so no one else buys bad devices.


The devices that have been tried are client devices. They have small low-power antennas/amplifiers as compared to WAPs which have high power/gain antennas/amplifiers. Which is why a hotspot from a mobile is not going to reach the next room reliably.

  • That is right and I know it. Although "next room" is a bit of relative thing: 1) there is still huge difference in the power of the client antennas 2) also the walls might be very thick or not, or being built from brick or reinforced concrete. Anyways, my home project is to build a mesh from an ad-hoc self-organising topology in l3 level of my home devices. It would be very funny and useful and... honestly... the fact that I simply can not set it up in any of my devices, despite that the hardware could do that... I can not say any really polite on my this experience.
    – peterh
    Nov 25, 2023 at 9:47
  • I am suggesting that the hardware can not do it. The amplifier for receiving and transmitting will not have enough gain. Nov 26, 2023 at 4:44
  • The essence of my comment is that yes, it can.
    – peterh
    Nov 26, 2023 at 10:53

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