Wireless router?

Manolis Kiagias sonic2000gr at gmail.com
Mon Dec 22 22:19:34 UTC 2008

Nerius Landys wrote:
> I have a PC with FreeBSD set up as a router (NAT). The PC has several
> network cards and I'm grouping the internal-facing network cards as a
> bridge (promiscuous mode for the interfaces).  Everything works well.
> Now I'd like to extend my wired network to include wireless.  I really
> have no experience with wireless networks.  I have a couple of
> computers that are wireless-ready (a laptop and a Playstation 3 that I
> won in a raffle).  Is it possible to somehow add some hardware to my
> FreeBSD router PC to make it into a wireless router?  What kind of
> hardware would I install?  What is it called?  The PC only has PCI
> slots, can you recommend a brand and model of "wireless server
> equiptment" if such a thing exists?  Would a normal wireless card
> suffice?  What model should I get? 

Yes, a supported Wireless net card would suffice. It can be configured
to work in "Access Point" mode, essentially what a cheap wireless router
would. Instructions in section 32.3.5 here:


While I haven't used FreeBSD in this mode,  from my experience
atheros-based (ath(4)) cards work well.
I have no less than three Dlink DWL-G520 cards and never had any
problems.  This is a rather older model now, newer atheros cards may
need a newer HAL than the one currently in the source tree (e.g. the
Aspire One uses a newer atheros, and needs a custom kernel with some of
the original files replaced. I believe -CURRENT has the newer HAL though).
I recently also got a Linksys WMP 54G that is based on a Ralink chipset
(ral(4)). This also works nicely.

>  I would prefer to set up static
> internal IPs for my wireless network at home, would this be possible?

Sure. I am using static IPs in all my wireless clients.

> Or is DHCP the way to go (I hesitate at the thought of configuring a
> DHCP server).

Configuring a DHCP server is very easy. I've only used it with wired
ethernet though. Have a read at  this:


> Another way to go is to hook up a standalone wireless router appliance
> to my FreeBSD machine's network interface (one of the interfaces).  I
> already have such a device, I think it's made by Linksys.  But then, I
> would be NAT'ing both through the FreeBSD machine and through the
> wireless router.  So it would be a double-NAT so to speak.  Is there
> anything wrong with that approach?

I've used something similar and it worked. Don't know about possible
drawbacks, cause it was only a toy for me. My setup was something like this:

Wireless standalone router (built in NAT) --> FreeBSD system as wireless
client of the router + wired ethernet card --> FreeBSD NAT using pf /
ipfw --> Wired internal ethernet (with DHCP server) --> Wired client(s)

So I guess your approach is also possible.
> So in a nutshell, I have a wired FreeBSD router with multiple ethernet
> jacks at home, and I want to extend it to include wireless network.
> Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks.
Probably multiple solutions exist, start up by buying a cheap but
supported wireless card.

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