I'm wondering if it is possible to setup a Raspberry Pi (a basic Linux box) with a USB Wifi Dongle to both connect to a Wifi network as well as be a Wifi Access Point?

What I'd like to do is:

  1. Have the Raspberry Pi broadcast its own Wifi network
  2. Connect to the network with my laptop and obtain the Raspberry Pi's IP address
  3. SSH into the Raspberry Pi and have it connect to a Wifi network
  4. Raspberry Pi remains broadcasting its own Wifi network

The reason for doing this is because the Raspberry Pi is going to be physically locked up in a way that I cannot access it. I want to be able to SSH into the Raspberry at any time to update files on its system. If anyone has a better idea as to how to access the Raspberry Pi remotely without physically connecting to it, I'm open to ideas!

I haven't looked into VPN – but doing some research into it.

  • It's usually easier to do this sort of thing with a second WiFi adapter (or Ethernet backhaul), though not necessary, it's reduces the chances of "oops" moments. Running WiFi Mesh might also be appropriate, but you haven't given enough details about your network to say. I can say what you're asking for is very odd, and I've never seen a reliable/professional network setup this way.
    – Chris S
    Jun 7, 2013 at 13:20
  • I had already posted this question in Raspberry Pi stackexchange, but they said it made more sense to be placed in Serverfault. Jun 7, 2013 at 13:28
  • The simplest is an Ethernet cable connection. Is that an option? Jun 9, 2013 at 7:08

3 Answers 3


This is easier with two network interfaces as Chris S said. You'll also need to be quite careful in selecting the wifi adapters you want to use. Most wireless adapters won't run in the right mode for an access point under linux, and many of the ones that do have relatively high power requirements that may not be suitable for the Raspberry PI which is itself powered over USB.

Depending on the physical requirements of your situation, it would be easier, (and no more expensive) to hook your raspberry Pi up to a WIFI access point via ethernet, whether or not you use USB WIFI for the other network.


It's possible with some Atheros USB sticks, however I haven't tried them yet. I just used 2 RT5370s to broadcast as an access point and connect to a wifi network.


I have done this with a combination of TP-Link and Edimax nano USB adapters. Two work-arounds were required:

  1. I had to download drivers for the TP-Link for every kernel upgrade on the RPi. The drivers are not in the Raspbian repository. I have to plan ahead for updates.

  2. I had to download a version of hostapd modified to support infrastructure AP mode on the Edimax adapter.

Now that I've figured this out, I have 2 RPi 2Bs configured with two wifi adapters each, plus wired. I found all the relevant bits with a bit of googling. It just took patience to put them all together.

  1. I connect to the RPi for basic configuration using the Edimax in AP mode.

  2. Once connected, I configure the RPi as a wireless client to connect to the local wifi network, which changes from location to location, so can't be configured beforehand.

  3. Once connected as a wifi client to the local office network, I can ssh into the RPi and configure eth0 to work on the test network.

Note that I have routing OFF for this. Each connection terminates on the RPi. I don't want to introduce unwanted routes between networks.

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