I was thinking of using a Raspberry Pi as a substitute for my wireless router that is coming to the end of its lifespan. The wireless adapter would be a dual band usb 2.0 adapter supporting up to 802.11n.

Would this setup perform better than a router in the same price category (considering the price of the pi + the wireless adapter, around same price as the pi)? I don't really care about a nice user interface you usually get with your router, I am just concerned about the speed.

3 Answers 3


a good router has dedicated router hardware, that's optimized for the specific task. a good radio module, correctly matched antenna, optimized software.

if you're going to replace this with a cheap media player, connected to the USB whistle, that has antenna smaller than my fingernail, guess what kind of performance you may expect.

the range will suffer a lot, the speed would be quite slow, security of your setup would most likely be very poor and don't forget the need to re-image SD card every once in a while.

all in all, I'd keep using old router or get a new one. raspberry pi is designed for completely different tasks.


I wouldn't use the USB for wifi either. Not the best of network speeds. However… …having the raspi run some of the basic parts of your network protocols, and stacking it up with other nodes… …depending on the size of your network, you might get some better results by mixing it with a few cheap wireless routers.

Basically, have your routers play the throw, catch game and have them handle only the wireless portions of things… …but set up your raspi to hold the primary dhcp databases for connections, and have them failover to others as necessary. Connect the raspi to the network via ethernet. By decentralizing a network in this fashion, several capabilities can be built. Floors of buildings can have subnetworks of their own, broadcasting across different channels, but pointing to the same internet gateway. This way, you shouldn't see much network drop, and you'll be able to quickly connect to services like printing on different floors without having to figure out exactly which printers you are supposed to select, so long as you set up an AirPrint capable printer or use the raspi hack to enable AirPrint over usb.


Yes it is. Not one answer fits all; depend on your need and expectations. RPI3 changed a little bit the playfield.

On my case the Wi-Fi router I needed was to cover a couple of rooms. For example your outdoor BBQ area or the blind spot that your master router is not covering.

Perhaps on performance is not the best but, if you are looking for simplicity, this is a great option. If you need better coverage a dongle with a large antenna works fine.

I have a 'Zero' working as VPN server, sure is not bullet proof, but you get a lot for your bucks. I forwarded ports 1723 and 47 from my vendor router to the 'zero'. Works great when out of the country when you need a local IP address.

Another great use is RPi as a Wi-Fi to Ethernet converter: I'm streaming to a Wi-Fi less TV and works perfectly.

  • The RPi3 is currently far beyond its capabilities, because none of the available OS supports the 64-bit mode.
    – ott--
    May 2, 2016 at 16:57
  • The line, if you are looking for simplicity, this is a great option is nonsense. There is no way you can honestly describe the RPi as simple for this task. Especially considering how plug and play a modern router is.
    – Jacobm001
    May 2, 2016 at 21:13
  • @ott: far beyond its capabilities. You mean, well below its capabilities? far beyond means it's gone farther than it should be able to.
    – Jacobm001
    May 2, 2016 at 21:14
  • You may disagree; but you are giving opinions and not facts based on your own experience. I have 6 units working, on different tasks around me. About simplicity, just a search will give you multiple how-to. Sure any comercial device can do this task, but, without the fun. My RPi router is handling streaming and two SIP phones.
    – fcm
    May 3, 2016 at 2:37

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