Would you like to make an old laptop or Raspberry Pi into a WiFi Hotspot? It’s quite easy to do using hostapd.
It’s very light work running a WiFi Hotspot, even an old single core Intel Atom CPU or Raspberry Pi 1 will be fine.
If you have any of these listed things then you’ll be able to follow this guide and set this up for yourself.
- Computer/Laptop with a WiFi device that supports Access Point mode
- Raspberry Pi 1/2 with a USB WiFi dongle
- Raspberry Pi 3 using internal WiFi
This guide will presume you’re starting with a clean install of Debian or Raspbian without a desktop environment and with root permission. Don’t forget to do an ‘apt-get update’ before proceeding.
Install & Configure Hostapd
Install hostapd with this command:
root@hotspot:~ $ apt-get install hostapd
Now, using your editor of choice open ‘/etc/default/hostapd’ and change the line ‘#DAEMON_CONF=””‘ to ‘DAEMON_CONF=”/etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf”‘
root@hotspot:~ $ vim /etc/default/hostapd
Create the file we just pointed to
root@hotspot:~ $ vim /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf
This is the config file we’ll use for hostapd, here you’ll need to input things according to what you want. If ‘wlan0‘ isn’t the right name then change it accordingly.
interface=wlan0 bridge=br0 driver=nl80211 # COUNTRY CODE country_code=AU # SSID (NAME) ssid=DIYFI hw_mode=g # WIFI CHANNEL channel=6 ieee80211n=1 wmm_enabled=1 wpa=2 # PASSPHRASE HERE wpa_passphrase=1234567890 wpa_key_mgmt=WPA-PSK wpa_pairwise=TKIP rsn_pairwise=CCMP auth_algs=1 macaddr_acl=0
Here is a working config to get you started. The main ones you’ll want to change are country code, SSID, passphrase and possibly channel. You can run WiFi Analyzer on a smartphone to see what channel is least used.
Creating a Network Bridge
Now we have to create the network bridge by installing ‘bridge-utils‘ and editing the ‘/etc/network/interfaces‘ file.
root@hotspot:~ $ apt-get install bridge-utils
root@hotspot:~ $ vim /etc/network/interfaces
In the config file I’ll be presuming ‘eth0‘ is your wired connection and ‘wlan0‘ is going to be your access point. If they aren’t then change the names accordingly. You may also have to change the IP according to your setup.
source-directory /etc/network/interfaces.d auto lo iface lo inet loopback allow-hotplug eth0 iface eth0 inet manual allow-hotplug wlan0 iface wlan0 inet manual auto lo br0 iface br0 inet static bridge_ports wlan0 eth0 address 192.168.1.2 network 192.168.1.0 netmask 255.255.255.0 gateway 192.168.1.1 dns-nameservers 192.168.1.1
You’re ready to reboot now! Just type ‘reboot‘ and when it’s back on the login screen you’ll be able to see the hotspot.
If you have any trouble please post a comment and I’ll try to help.