Attaching a WiFi Adapter to the USB Port on a Router...

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AnotherBrickintheWall
DD-WRT Novice


Joined: 17 Jun 2019
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:29    Post subject: Attaching a WiFi Adapter to the USB Port on a Router... Reply with quote
I'm considering building a DIY high-gain WiFi antenna (e.g. cantenna, WokFi, etc...). Many, if not most, of the plans incorporate a USB-attached WiFi adapter into the antenna itself, both to simplify construction and to eliminate signal degradation that would otherwise occur with a WiFi adapter/radio located some distance from the antenna.

Many commercially-available WiFi routers have one or more USB ports. I'm aware that people have used these to attach storage devices and the like.

Questions for you about this:

Q1: Is it possible to utilize the USB port on a commercially-available router for a USB-attached WiFi adapter?

Q2: If this is possible, is it possible with only certain specific models of router, or is it possible with any router that has a USB port?

Q3: Would utilizing a USB-attached WiFi adapter require hardware modifications to the router, and if so, what are those modifications?

Q4: Can DD-WRT be configured to recognize and use a USB-attached WiFi adapter that is connected to a USB port on a commercially-available router?

Q5: Are there specific models of USB-attached WiFi adapters that will work with DD-WRT? If so, what are those models and what drivers would be needed?

Q6: I understand that there is a build of DD-WRT for x86. Is it possible to install DD-WRT on an old PC and make use of a USB-attached WiFi adapter that is connected to that PC?

Many thanks...


Last edited by AnotherBrickintheWall on Fri Jul 05, 2019 16:37; edited 2 times in total
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d0ug
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 31 Jul 2015
Posts: 749

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 3:55    Post subject: Re: Attaching a WiFi Adapter to the USB Port on a Router... Reply with quote
AnotherBrickintheWall wrote:
I'm considering building a DIY high-gain WiFi antenna (e.g. cantenna, WokFi, etc...). Many of the plans for doing this include incorporating a USB-attached WiFi adapter into the design of the antenna itself, not only to simplify construction but also to eliminate signal degradation that would otherwise occur when the antenna is located some distance from the WiFi adapter/radio.

Many commercially-available WiFi routers have one or more USB ports. I'm aware that people have used these to do things like attach storage devices and the like.

Questions for you about this:

Q1: Is it possible to utilize the USB port on a commercially-available router to attach a USB-attached WiFi adapter?

Q2: If this is possible, is it possible with only certain specific models of router, or is it possible with any router that has a USB port?

Q3: Would utilizing a USB-attached WiFi adapter require hardware modifications to the router, and if so, what are those modifications?

Q4: Can DD-WRT be configured to recognize and use a USB-attached WiFi adapter that is connected to a USB port on a commercially-available router?

Q5: Are there specific models of USB-attached WiFi adapters that will work with DD-WRT? If so, what are those models and what drivers would be needed?

Q6: I understand that there is a build of DD-WRT for x86. Is it possible to install DD-WRT on an old PC and make use of a USB-attached WiFi adapter that is connected to that PC?

Many thanks...


This is honestly something I have never thought of. I attempted to plug in one of the official raspberry pi wifi adapters I had laying around into my WRT1200AC running ddwrt and it does not appear to pick it up. I see nothing in dmesg about it after rebooting nor an extra adapter when I run ifconfig. Most likely support for USB wifi adapters was probably never compiled into the kernel.

If your router has a USB port, I don't see why any hardware mods would need to be made. You probably just need a kernel with support for the adapter compiled in.
kernel-panic69
DD-WRT Guru


Joined: 08 May 2018
Posts: 1496
Location: Texas, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:50    Post subject: Reply with quote
The only adapters that work on USB that i know of are 3G/4G modems (if you're lucky). I know for Broadcom usb bus wi-fi adapters, they will not work whatsoever because BS could never get the drivers to work. I don't know of any other hardware platform that uses usb bus wi-fi hardware off the top of my head, so likely, the same thing applies... but maybe as long as it's not a Broadcom usb adapter, you might get lucky...
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