How To: Turn Your Linux Box Into a WiFi Hotspot
Have you ever wanted to use your Linux computer as a wireless hotspot? It’s actually pretty easy. This article will get you started and it really isn’t all that difficult. We will actually be cribbing a bit of this article from the software’s homepage, but with some more information given.
Make a Linux WiFi Hotspot
For many years, I used my own router that I had made. It was built on Linux. The preceding version ran on BSD, but that’s not important right now. Today, you can get a NUC or Pi for dirt cheap and so making a new router is back on my list of things to do.
All of the varied software and hardware components are already there, but I want to enable wireless connectivity and that’s what we’re going to look at today. The tool we’re going to use is called ‘linux-wifi-hotspot‘ Which is a great tool, complete with GUI if wanted, written by lakinduakash. It has only been around for a few years, but it’s spoken of very highly and it just works and works well.
The software is easy enough to install. If you’re using Debian/Ubuntu, just add the PPA and install the software. To add the PPA, you just run:
[code]sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lakinduakash/lwh[/code]
On a modern OS, you shouldn’t need to do this, but you might want to go ahead and run a quick update with:
[code]sudo apt update[/code]
Then you can install the software. To do that, it’s just:
[code]sudo apt install linux-wifi-hotspot[/code]
If you want, you can visit the link above, click on releases, and download the .deb file for the current release and just install it with gdebi.
If you’re using Arch (or Arch based distros) it looks like you can just go ahead and install it with:
[code]yay -S linux-wifi-hotspot[/code]
It should be noted that I did not actually test that very well. I gave it a quick test in Manjaro and it said it couldn’t find all the required packages. Manjaro is not Arch, but based on it. I don’t have an Arch VM configured without doing some serious digging through my backups, so I am unable to confirm it.
Then, you can go ahead and start it. You can also go ahead and make it start at boot, which would be prudent if you intended to use this to make your own router. It’s really self-explanatory and without specific questions for using it, I’m just going to refer you to the man page and the information at the project page.
But, before you can even do all of this, you need to know that your wireless adapter actually supports doing this. To find out, you need to know if your wireless adapter supports “AP” mode. AP obviously meaning ‘Access Point’.
To check this, you need to run the following command:
[code]iw list | grep AP[/code]
The project page is noticeably silent with this, but it’s a necessary step. See, you need to know if your hardware actually supports it before you even bother trying. Come to think of it, I probably should have put this closer to the top of the page! I ain’t editing that!
Anyhow, the output should contain one or both of the following lines:
Device supports AP scan.
Driver supports full state transitions for AP/GO clients.
So long as you see one or both of those, you should be all set to proceed. If you don’t see either of them, there’s no software solution and you’ll need to get hardware that supports AP mode. In many cases, that’ll mean doing a bunch of research and may even mean contacting the vendor or OEM.
Nobody appears to have compiled a list of hardware that supports AP mode and I don’t think I’ve ever bought wireless adapters that explicitly stated they do on the box. As near as I can tell, more modern adapters support it just fine, so you’ll probably be alright.
Alright, there’s your article for the day. I have no idea if you want to make a WiFi hotspot for your Linux box, but now you know how. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter. Also, if you rate the articles I’ll be able to see the kind of content you prefer. That’d probably be beneficial.