Raspberry Pi ZeroW as a WiFi Router

I do plan to add an external antenna. With RF anything is possible, but in theory I don't think that should increase the risk, and if the Pi needs to use less power or do fewer retransmissions, that may help prevent overheating in relative terms.
Well I know that this is simplifying things, but I currently get < 300KBytes/s speed with 3G mobile broadband (poor reception, I do hope to increase that with 4G and the better antenna, but I do alright with it). USB2 can in theory manage 60MBytes/s, so if you have 300KBytes going in to the Pi from the modem (granted there will be some extra handshaking data going to/from the modem as well, but presumably not that much), then there's a lot of bandwidth still there for getting the data to the WiFi interface.
Using OpenWRT (which I am already) at least means that if something breaks after an update, there should be clear instructions on how to get it working as a router again. On the update side of things the Pi is a big advantage as well, because currently updating the OpenWRT firmware requires wiring up the serial port via a level converter, remembering how to start/configure the tftp server software (my traditional stumbling point) while the router is connected to a PC via an ethernet cable (NOT a broken one - kept me confused for quite a while last time), then hoping that it doesn't get interrupted mid-way and brick the thing (which is why I especially like having the spare (actually spares)).
For the Pi I can just write an SD card image, and keep an old card with the previous install in case it doesn't work. Heaven!
Granted there may be easier processes with some other routers (though the ones that I found when choosing last time were mostly harder).
That said, using OpenWRT means that configuring my HTTP - HTTPS proxy will be a lot harder. Still much easier than trying to keep all of my preferred software and hardware compatible with HTTPS though.
Reply to
Computer Nerd Kev
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OK, but it's range rather than bandwidth that was my real concern.
I'll admit that I've been lazy and haven't compared the FCC data for USB WiFi adapters yet. But I've seen that there are some designed for longer range, so I'm hopeful that there will be something equivalent to the transmission power of my existing router, if the Pi ZeroW's onboard WiFi doesn't prove powerful/reliable enough.
Reply to
Computer Nerd Kev
An impedance mismatch between the RF chip and the antenna can cause significant impact to the power dissipated by the chip. (And mismatches are pretty easy to get at 2.4GHz.)
Reply to
Michael J. Mahon
Cutting pcb lines and soldering on your own component? That will be hard if not impossible to make work; the antenna is actually part of the pcb (it still has connecting lines, of course).
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Reply to
A. Dumas
No, there's a resistor (probably 0ohm) that connects it and you can move it to instead connect with a footprint left for an antenna connector:
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Reply to
Computer Nerd Kev
Well I was going to pull a WiFi antenna out of another old router. Are they all likely to be close enough, or should I look into the figures properly?
I've hapily connected any convenient WiFi antenna to PCI WiFi cards in the past without concern for impedance differences, and got away with it so far.
Reply to
Computer Nerd Kev
Oh, right! That's great.
Reply to
A. Dumas
On Sun, 21 Apr 2019 02:53:40 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@telling.you.invalid (Computer Nerd Kev) declaimed the following:
60MBps is the maximum signal bit rate, yes... But that ignores overhead in USB control signaling (turn around between polling the bus to find devices with data to transfer, requesting the transfer, length of packet transferred -- shorter packets will involve more overhead -- ack/nak of packet, encode/decode time [checksum or CRC, and USB3 at least uses an encoding that takes 10bits per byte, to ensure state changes occur often enough to keep the sender/receiver in sync -- no runs of eight 0 bits, for example]...).
The effective max is around 30MBps -- and that probably assumes a single client per host controller. With more than one device on the bus, the host will have to poll each device, then determine which gets to transfer data.
Reply to
Dennis Lee Bieber

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