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USB Wifi card for Linux that can do Master Mode, USB and external Antenna

Posted on 2011-10-31
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I am looking for a Wifi card for Linux that is:

A) USB
B) Can go into Master Mode (AP mode)
C) Works with Linux ie "iwconfig wlan0 mode master"
D) Has an external RP-SMA antenna

I got burned a few times buying cards with a chipset that the kernel said works, but refuse Master Mode. Suggestions?
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Question by:pzkhan
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by:Jelcin
ID: 37057646
On the page below you can see the various wireless chipsets and their modes including the bus type... If an device has an external RP-SMA antenna you will have to check on manufacturers website.

http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Drivers

here another listing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_open_source_wireless_drivers#Driver_capabilities

also pay attention to that manufacturers switch chipsets without switching the model number...
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Expert Comment

by:Hugh McCurdy
ID: 37058407
Your luck might vary depending on distribution.  Sometimes you'll find support for RHEL or Ubuntu but only for those platforms (and they don't allow you to change the kernel).  Sometimes you'll find support for Linux on non-US sites.
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Author Comment

by:pzkhan
ID: 37058920
Jelcin,
I am using the Ath9k driver, yet cannot go into Master mode.
Unless I am doing something wrong, I doubt the information on those links.
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Expert Comment

by:Jelcin
ID: 37059049
If you don't mind you could provide more information about your wireless cards  chipset, driver version, kernel version, distribution....
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by:pzkhan
ID: 37060196
Sure

Backtrack 5 Release 1
root@bt:~# uname -a
Linux bt 2.6.39.4 #1 SMP Thu Aug 18 13:38:02 NZST 2011 i686 GNU/Linux

I am using two Wifi cards:
A) AWUS036H - The chipset is RT8187
B) AWUS036NHA - The chipset is Atheros AR9271

I have tried Kernel 3.1, and LinuxWireless claims the second card works in AP mode from Kernel 3.1, but I still get the same error. Its possible the mistake is on my end though.

Here is the error:

root@bt:~# iwconfig wlan1 mode master
Error for wireless request "Set Mode" (8B06) :
    SET failed on device wlan1 ; Invalid argument.

If it makes any difference, I am running this on WMware player, so the card comes up as wlan0, not ath0.

Please advise.
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Expert Comment

by:Jelcin
ID: 37080236
Hi, i never used VMWARE but it's an additional layer between your Wireless Hardware and your target OS which could probably cause problems. To go 100% sure you need to test it without VMWARE. Why don't you just boot directly some live CD to try it on?



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Author Comment

by:pzkhan
ID: 37083713
I tried it using the BackTrack live boot CD, same problem.
Do you recommend any CD-based distros of Linux that use kernel 3.0?
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by:Jelcin
ID: 37086390
I would try the latest Ubuntu or Knoppix Live CD.
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Accepted Solution

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Jelcin earned 2000 total points
ID: 37091796
If you did not succeed maybe it is because of the fact that most WLAN chipsets in routers are connected via mini-pci or mini pci-e.

There is only one possibility to deal with this problem... a pci to mini pci card in your computer like the one below..

http://shop.varia-store.com/product_info.php?info=p458_Adapter-PCI-to-MiniPCI.html

or this USB to mini pci-e adapter like the one below

http://www.ebay.de/itm/UMTS-Wireless-USB-Mini-PCI-E-Card-Adapter-GENIAL-/370555964392?pt=PCMCIA_Cards&hash=item5646db4be8#ht_960wt_907

and the two links below are cards with mini-pci and mini-pci-e chipsets from Atheros that should be able to do AP mode since they are beeing used in commercial routers...

http://www.ebay.de/itm/JJPLUS-MR6-Atheros-AR9220-802-11N-ABG-800mW-Minipci-/110740226981?pt=PCMCIA_Cards&hash=item19c8a1c3a5#ht_5559wt_1141

http://www.ebay.de/itm/JJPLUS-MR6-Atheros-AR9220-802-11N-ABG-800mW-Minipci-/110740226981?pt=PCMCIA_Cards&hash=item19c8a1c3a5#ht_5559wt_1141

also check please check the links below for mini-pci and mini-pci-e cards - all are embededd systems solution provider

http://shop.varia-store.com/

http://soekris.eu/shop/index.php

https://shop.tronico.net/

http://routerboard.com/

http://www.jjplus.com/?page_id=62


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