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#1 2013-12-06 09:35:40

avojevlavo
Member
Registered: 2010-05-27
Posts: 40

[SOLVED] Arch/Linux friendly PCI/PCIe 802.11ac adapter

Good day everyone,

I am thinking of building a dedicated arch box to act as a Gateway/VPN/WiFiAP/Firewall server. I currently got for free a HP dc7800 small form factor Core2Duo with 2gb ram and 1000 on-board network card, so I would really like to use it instead of buying a dedicated router/WiFiAP (although RT-AC66U looks nice for sure but it costs 150€)

I have found myself a nice Intel PRO/1000 GT Desktop Adapter Low Profile for 25€ so I can spend 100€ on that PCI/PCIe Wifi adapter which will act as an access point for wireless devices and still be better of financially than buying dedicated WiFi/ap router with a half of computing speed of that dc7800

What I need is arch friendly (drivers in kernel) PCI/PCIe Wifi adapter (low profile if possible). I am sure there are plenty of them but I am willing to spent 100€ or even more if it has 802.11ac support and both 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

I have found some Compex 802.11ac adapters that are said to work with ath10k drivers http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Drivers/ath10k
notably Compex wle900vx http://www.compex.com.sg/productdetaili … cc1Panel=1
but I have no idea where to buy it (located in central europe), whether it will work or how to install it since on the picture I dont see any standard antennae output.

my setup is gonna look like this:

ISP <-> cable modem <-> (VPN starts here) archbox <-> my workstation

these are all wired connections (hence the second 1gbit ethernet adapter - that one will connect archbox to my workstation or maybe in the future to a switch for more wired connections)

So I guess I have two main questions:
first is there any arch friendly PCI/PCIe Wifi adapter with 802.11ac support
and secondly is it possible to make Gateway/VPN/WiFiAP/Firewall archbox without too much of a hassle (I am willing to do advanced configuration, but not much of custom compiling and such)

Any other suggestions are welcomed as well.

a.

Last edited by avojevlavo (2013-12-09 09:57:17)

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#2 2013-12-06 12:08:59

Gusar
Member
Registered: 2009-08-25
Posts: 3,604

Re: [SOLVED] Arch/Linux friendly PCI/PCIe 802.11ac adapter

It seems there's only two internal 802.11ac devices available in Europe, both Asus: http://geizhals.at/eu/?cat=wlanp&xf=529_802.11ac. BCM4360 chipset, only works with the proprietary broadcom-wl driver. Might work fine, but might not, the wl driver can be flaky at times.

If you go usb there's a bit more choice. The kernel doesn't yet support the chipset a lot of these things use (Realtek 8812au) but the driver Realtek provides reportedly works: http://geizhals.at/eu/?sr=961710,-1

Does it absolutely have to be 802.11ac? Too bad those Compex thingies aren't in Europe yet, the ath10k driver is in the kernel already and is being constantly improved by Atheros. BTW, the particular one you linked to is a mini-PCIe device. The antennae connectors are the three small thingies at the top, they're standard IPX (U.FL Hirose) connectors you'll find on all mini-PCI(e) devices. There's IPX to SMA cables so you can connect the usual antennas.

Last edited by Gusar (2013-12-06 12:28:53)

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#3 2013-12-06 13:16:50

avojevlavo
Member
Registered: 2010-05-27
Posts: 40

Re: [SOLVED] Arch/Linux friendly PCI/PCIe 802.11ac adapter

Thank you,

you said:

Gusar wrote:

BTW, the particular one you linked to is a mini-PCIe device

can I put it in PCIe 1x or PCIe 16x slot?

That dc7800 have these two ports. Is that "mini" different technically or it is just about size of the card. I am bit confused about this since I know that mini is used for notebooks. I would guess its compatible because Wikipedia says:
PCI Express Mini Card edge connectors provide multiple connections and buses:
PCIe ×1, USB 2.0, SMBus, Wires to diagnostics LEDs for wireless network (i.e., Wi-Fi) status on computer's chassis, SIM card for GSM and WCDMA applications. (UIM signals on spec), Future extension for another PCIe lane, 1.5 and 3.3 volt power

No it doesnt have to be ac (i would prefer it to be) but i rather have a/b/g/n on with free drivers than proprietary ac. Any recommendation for a good a/b/g/n card?

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#4 2013-12-06 14:07:47

Gusar
Member
Registered: 2009-08-25
Posts: 3,604

Re: [SOLVED] Arch/Linux friendly PCI/PCIe 802.11ac adapter

avojevlavo wrote:

can I put it in PCIe 1x or PCIe 16x slot?

There's adapters for this. I found these two, they even come with antennas (hmm, I think they're actually the same product smile): click, click.

avojevlavo wrote:

Is that "mini" different technically or it is just about size of the card. I am bit confused about this since I know that mini is used for notebooks.

Yes, mini is used in notebooks. It's not just about the size of the card, the connector is different too. Putting a mini device into a regular PCIe slot requires an adapter like those I linked above.

As for a good a/b/g/n card, anything with Intel or Atheros chipset, the TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 looks nice (ath9k driver). I'd rather go with that than messing around with trying to get an 802.11ac card going.

Last edited by Gusar (2013-12-06 14:16:27)

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#5 2013-12-09 09:56:18

avojevlavo
Member
Registered: 2010-05-27
Posts: 40

Re: [SOLVED] Arch/Linux friendly PCI/PCIe 802.11ac adapter

Thanks Gusar,

I guess Il post the second part of my question in "and secondly is it possible to make Gateway/VPN/WiFiAP/Firewall archbox" in networking section.

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