I have a project in which I need to configure a Raspberry Pi Zero W to run both wireless AP and Client mode at the same time.

I've seen the tutorials and methods others have used on Raspbian Stretch, but they don't seem to work on Raspbian Buster.

I'm following this tutorial at the moment on Buster.

When I follow the steps in that tutorial I get an error saying that Device "ap0" doesn't exist

sudo ifdown --force ap0
Cannot find device "ap0"
Device "ap0" does not exist.
Cannot find device "ap0"

I'm thinking that it's because the tutorial is trying to create a virtual AP device using udev by modifying /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules.

However, Raspbian Buster doesn't seem to have that file, so I created it.

But still ap0 isn't created / can't be found. The wireless client mode connection works however. The AP mode isn't.


  1. Is there a better technique to use to enable AP + client mode on RPi Zero W using Buster?
  2. Is there a modification to the tutorial that will make this work on Buster?
  3. There must be some networking setup/configuration difference between Buster and Stretch that cause this tutorial to not work, correct?

1 Answer 1


There are many quirks with creating the virtual interface ap0. You have to follow exactly a sequence, otherwise it won't work. If other applications bind to the wifi port it cannot be set.

  1. create a virtual interface ap0 for the access point
  2. start access point daemon hostapd using interface ap0
  3. start wpa_supplicant for wifi client using interface wlan0

Many tutorials I have seen does not respect this and will fail with error messages like yours, in particular when systemd is used. Then the order of starting services without dependencies isn't defined and may vary from installation to installation. To respect this you should also use systemd-networkd. How to do it you can look at Access point as WiFi router/repeater, optional with bridge. This will also answer all your three questions.

  • Thank you Ingo! I'm assuming those instructions in the answer you linked to will work with the current (as of today) update of Buster lite?
    – Chimera
    Nov 6, 2019 at 21:44
  • I will test this out and when it works I will accept this answer. I appreciate your help.
    – Chimera
    Nov 6, 2019 at 21:44
  • 1
    @Chimera as noted in the setup I have tested it on a Raspberry Pi 4B with Raspbian Buster Lite 2019-07-10 updated on 2019-08-13. You can also find a setup tested with Raspbian Stretch Lite. If you run into problems with latest Buster update I will also verify it but I'm confident that it works.
    – Ingo
    Nov 6, 2019 at 22:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.