XOs cannot act as WiFi access points

T Gillett tgillett at gmail.com
Fri Mar 20 16:57:41 EDT 2015

Some information here on devices we looked at as part of the VT project.

(scroll to the bottom of the page)

There are several Ralink chips used in these devices, but the RT3070 and
RT5370 seem to be the most common and work quite well.
We tested some of these with 25 XOs connected concurrently.

Unfortunately, many of the devices available cheaply on eBay etc are not
branded, and even the branded ones can change chipsets between batches. So
you need to be a bit careful when buying.

We found that some devices (specifically some Atheros based units) have a
hard limit (eg 8) set for the number of concurrent wifi connections they
will support in AP mode. This is probably to guarantee correct operation
and prevent overloading as seen in some commodity routers which start to
drop connections when 10-15 client devices are attached. Something else to
watch out for.

Some of the devices (eg Alfa Networks) have a metre or so of USB cable that
allows you to mount the device away from the host, which can be useful to
allow better wifi connections from clients eg outside the building.

Some devices have built in panel antennas that provide a useful 6-10dB of
directional gain.


> Anyone know the best such cheap USB-insertable WiFi hotpot/AP to buy for
> XOs?  Ralink-based presumably?
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