Half-Height (Mini-PCIe/PCI) Wireless NIC/Dongle (with HOSTAP Support) Recommendation

Roland Smith rsmith at xs4all.nl
Wed Aug 27 23:06:36 UTC 2014

On Wed, Aug 27, 2014 at 11:03:13PM +0100, Jasvinder S. Bahra wrote:
> Everyone,
> I have a system which acts as a network router/internet gateway.  I would 
> like to add a wireless NIC to it so as to allow authorised devices to 
> wirelessly connect to the network/internet.
> I've had a read through of the Wireless Networking page of the handbook, and 
> I have determined that I will be setting up a 802.11 network in 
> infrastructure (BSS) mode.  I would like the system to act as an wireless 
> access point using WPA with EAP-TLS or EAP-PEAP (note that i'm aware that 
> this is massively overkill for a small home network but *shrugs* that's what 
> I would like to do).
> There are some additional requirements...
> 1) The wireless NIC must slot into either a half-height Mini-PCI Express 
> slot or a half-height PCI slot.  Alternatively, some kind of dongle or 
> external unit that can be plugged-in into a USB port would also be 
> acceptable.
> 2) The wireless NIC must support HOSTAP mode (a requirement for the system 
> to act as an access point)
> I've checked some of the driver documentation, but the cards listed on the 
> man pages don't appear to be available anymore.
> Can anyone point me in the direction of something that meets all these 
> requirements?

The most important thing about a card is finding out which chipset is used.
Because that determines which FreeBSD driver to use.

So look at the FreeBSD manpages for wifi chipsets (you can find most of them
in the SEE ALSO section of wlan(4)) for those that fit your requirements.
Then find a card that uses one of those chipsets.

Unfortunately most no-name brands don't list it in the specs or on the box
because they tend to grab whatever is available.

But if you find a card that you like, you can download the windows driver and
unpack it. Then you can usually see which chipset is used from the .inf file.

R.F.Smith                                   http://rsmith.home.xs4all.nl/
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