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Using Hostapd with dnsmasq to create Virtual Wifi Access Point in Linux

NOTE: This is an alternative branch off from my previous Hostapd guide, which I really recommend going through before this.

In my previous hostapd guide, I used dhcpd to assign IP addresses to the clients connecting to the access point. While this works fine for most scenarios, it is an overkill to use dhcpd for such situations where normally the number of clients is 2-3, or around 20 at max. For such cases, dnsmasq is a better option.

Installing

Install dnsmasq from somewhere

# Arch Linux
sudo pacman -S dnsmasq
# Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install dnsmasq

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Hostapd : The Linux Way to create Virtual Wifi Access Point

NOTE: Although this guide should work in most cases, it is not flawless and still requires few minor modifications to make the process bug-free. Please do point out corrections and changes.

(After you are done with this post, please do checkout my Python Hostapd Client)

I was recently looking into ways to use my laptop’s wifi adapter as a wireless access point to enable my phone (Nokia E63) and playstation portable to connect to the internet through it. Ad-hoc feature may be used to share internet through wifi, but it doesn’t work with many phones and my PSP. I found connectify and virtual router for Windows which served this purpose, unsatisfactorily. Other than the reasons like Virtual Router not detecting my 3g modem and Connectify (free version) not allowing me to set desired ssid for my virtual access point, the biggest issue with these two was the limited modes available for the access point. Both the programs offered only WPA2-PSK encryption for infrastructure mode and WEP and open encryption for ad-hoc modes. Many devices connect only through infrastructure mode and support for WPA2-PSK is absent in few devices (including the PSP). Also, since I am a Linux user, I needed something else.

This is where hostapd kicks in.
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