Raspberry Pi WiFi Access Point

Important function for:

  • RPi3 as a gateway for a private wireless -> ethernet connection, managing security.
  • RPi0W as a standalone private wireless network server, mostly for 'home automation' applications.

Raspberry Pi Org Method

Verbatim ...

Setting up a Raspberry Pi as an access point in a standalone network

The Raspberry Pi can be used as a wireless access point, running a standalone network. This can be done using the inbuilt wireless features
of the Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi Zero W, or by using a suitable USB wireless dongle that supports access points.

Note that this documentation was tested on a Raspberry Pi 3, and it is possible that some USB dongles may need slight changes to their settings. 
If you are having trouble with a USB wireless dongle, please check the forums.

To add a Raspberry Pi-based access point to an existing network, see this section.

In order to work as an access point, the Raspberry Pi will need to have access point software installed,
along with DHCP server software to provide connecting devices with a network address. Ensure that your Raspberry Pi is
using an up-to-date version of Raspbian (dated 2017 or later).

Use the following to update your Raspbian installation:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Install all the required software in one go with this command:

sudo apt-get install dnsmasq hostapd

Since the configuration files are not ready yet, turn the new software off as follows:

sudo systemctl stop dnsmasq
sudo systemctl stop hostapd


Dnsmasq provides network infrastructure for small networks: DNS, DHCP, router advertisement and network boot. It is designed to be lightweight and have a small footprint, suitable for resource constrained routers and firewalls. It has also been widely used for tethering on smartphones and portable hotspots, and to support virtual networking in virtualisation frameworks.

Note: Good doc, but may not be RP version.

Hostapd (Host access point daemon) is a user space software access point capable of turning normal network interface cards into access points and authentication servers.

Configuring a static IP

We are configuring a standalone network to act as a server, so the Raspberry Pi needs to have a static IP address assigned to the wireless port.
This documentation assumes that we are using the standard 192.168.x.x IP addresses for our wireless network, so we will assign the server the IP address
It is also assumed that the wireless device being used is wlan0.

First, the standard interface handling for wlan0 needs to be disabled. Normally the dhcpcd daemon (DHCP client) will search the network
 for a DHCP server to assign a IP address to wlan0. This is disabled by editing the configuration file:

sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf

Add denyinterfaces wlan0 to the end of the file (but above any other added interface lines) and save the file.

To configure the static IP address, edit the interfaces configuration file with:

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

Find the wlan0 section and edit it so that it looks like the following:

allow-hotplug wlan0  
iface wlan0 inet static  

Now restart the dhcpcd daemon and set up the new wlan0 configuration:

sudo service dhcpcd restart
sudo ifdown wlan0
sudo ifup wlan0

Configuring the DHCP server (dnsmasq)

The DHCP service is provided by dnsmasq. By default, the configuration file contains a lot of information that is not needed,
 and it is easier to start from scratch. Rename this configuration file, and edit a new one:

sudo mv /etc/dnsmasq.conf /etc/dnsmasq.conf.orig  
sudo nano /etc/dnsmasq.conf

Type or copy the following information into the dnsmasq configuration file and save it:

interface=wlan0      # Use the require wireless interface - usually wlan0

So for wlan0, we are going to provide IP addresses between and, with a lease time of 24 hours.
 If you are providing DHCP services for other network devices (e.g. eth0), you could add more sections with the appropriate interface header,
 with the range of addresses you intend to provide to that interface.

There are many more options for dnsmasq; see the dnsmasq documentation for more details.

Configuring the access point host software (hostapd)

You need to edit the hostapd configuration file, located at /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf, to add the various parameters for your wireless network.
 After initial install, this will be a new/empty file.

sudo nano /etc/hostapd/hostapd.conf

Add the information below to the configuration file. This configuration assumes we are using channel 7, with a network name of NameOfNetwork, 
and a password AardvarkBadgerHedgehog. Note that the name and password should not have quotes around them.


We now need to tell the system where to find this configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/default/hostapd

Find the line with #DAEMON_CONF, and replace it with this:


Start it up

Now start up the remaining services:

sudo service hostapd start  
sudo service dnsmasq start  

Note: assuming channel 7 or any fixed channel number might lead to a conflict. They say that non-IMHO ( 802.11 a, b, or g ) should use channels 1, 6, or 11. Any possibility auto scan ?

Using a wireless device, search for networks.

The network SSID you specified in the hostapd configuration should now be present, and it should be accessible with the specified password.

If SSH is enabled on the Raspberry Pi access point, it should be possible to connect to it from another Linux box (or a system with SSH connectivity present)
as follows, assuming the pi account is present:

ssh pi@

By this point, the Raspberry Pi is acting as an access point, and other devices can associate with it. 
Associated devices can access the Raspberry Pi access point via its IP address for operations such as rsync, scp, or ssh.

Using the Raspberry Pi as an access point to share an internet connection

One common use of the Raspberry Pi as an access point is to provide wireless connections to a
wired Ethernet connection, so that anyone logged into the access point can access the internet, 
providing of course that the wired Ethernet on the Pi can connect to the internet via some sort of router.

To do this, a 'bridge' needs to put in place between the wireless device and the Ethernet device on the
access point Raspberry Pi.   This bridge will pass all traffic between the two interfaces.
Install the following packages to enable the access point setup and bridging.

sudo apt-get install hostapd bridge-utils

Since the configuration files are not ready yet, turn the new software off as follows:

sudo systemctl stop hostapd

Bridging creates a higher-level construct over the two ports being bridged. It is the bridge that is the network device, 
so we need to stop the eth0 and wlan0 ports being allocated IP addresses by the DHCP client on the Raspberry Pi.

sudo nano /etc/dhcpcd.conf

Add denyinterfaces wlan0 and denyinterfaces eth0 to the end of the file (but above any other added interface lines) and save the file.

Add a new bridge, which in this case is called br0.

sudo brctl addbr br0

Connect the network ports. In this case, connect eth0 to wlan0.

sudo brctl addif br0 eth0 wlan0

Now the interfaces file needs to be edited to adjust the various devices to work with bridging.

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces make the following edits.

Change the wlan entry to manual if it not already so, and remove any other entries e.g. any static address.

allow-hotplug wlan0
iface wlan0 inet manual

Add the bridging information at the end of the file.

# Bridge setup
auto br0
iface br0 inet dhcp
bridge_ports eth0 wlan0

The access point setup is almost the same as that shown in the previous section. Follow the instructions above to
set up the hostapd.conf file, but add bridge=br0 below the interface=wlan0 line, and remove or comment out the driver line.


Now reboot the Raspberry Pi.

There should now be a functioning bridge between the wireless LAN and the Ethernet connection on the Raspberry Pi,
 and any device associated with the Raspberry Pi access point will act as if it is connected to the access point's wired Ethernet.

The ifconfig command will show the bridge, which will have been allocated an IP address via the wired Ethernet's DHCP server.
The wlan0 and eth0 no longer have IP addresses, as they are now controlled by the bridge. It is possible to use a static IP address
for the bridge if required, but generally, if the Raspberry Pi access point is connected to a ADSL router, the DHCP address will be fine.

Is there some quick and easy way to switch machine between configurations for !Wifi client and WAP2 server ? Python script ?


Another take on hostapd.conf and dnsmasq.conf, with small differences.

Also has examples for changing the interface and IP Forwarding via iptables.


# This is the name of the WiFi interface we configured above

# Use the nl80211 driver with the brcmfmac driver

# This is the name of the network

# Use the 2.4GHz band

# Use channel 6

# Enable 802.11n

# Enable WMM

# Enable 40MHz channels with 20ns guard interval

# Accept all MAC addresses

# Use WPA authentication

# Require clients to know the network name

# Use WPA2

# Use a pre-shared key

# The network passphrase

# Use AES, instead of TKIP


interface=wlan0      # Use interface wlan0  
listen-address= # Explicitly specify the address to listen on  
bind-interfaces      # Bind to the interface to make sure we aren't sending things elsewhere  
server=       # Forward DNS requests to Google DNS  
domain-needed        # Don't forward short names  
bogus-priv           # Never forward addresses in the non-routed address spaces.  
dhcp-range=,,12h # Assign IP addresses between and with a 12 hour lease time

Does internet sharing required bridge-utils rather than iptables ? Is iptables compatible ?

Adafruit Method

Similar to, but uses isc-dhcp-server rather than dnsmasq.

Install software by lady ada

Next up we install the software onto the Pi that will act as the 'hostap' (host access point) You need internet access for this step so make sure that Ethernet connection is up!

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install hostapd isc-dhcp-server

(You may need to sudo apt-get update if the Pi can't seem to get to the apt-get repositories)


 (text above shows udhcpd but that doesnt work as well as isc-dhcp-server, still, the output should look similar)

Also install a nice iptables manager with

sudo apt-get install iptables-persistent

Etc. etc.

... ISC DHCP is open source software that implements the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for connection to an IP network. It offers a complete solution for implementing DHCP servers, relay agents, and clients for small local networks to large enterprises. ISC DHCP solution supports both IPv4 and IPv6, and is suitable for use in high-volume and high-reliability applications.

Seems to be more robust and probably fairly involved but reportedly works well and allows iptables forwarding. Adafruit instructions seem easy enough.


sudo nano /etc/default/isc-dhcp-server

and scroll down to INTERFACES="" and update it to say INTERFACES="wlan0"

Or whatever the name of your wifi adapter is!

It may be called INTERFACESv4 and v6 - in which case add wlan0 to both

Something I'm missing ???

... Run the following commands to create the network translation between the ethernet port eth0 and the wifi port wlan0

sudo iptables -t nat -A POSTROUTING -o eth0 -j MASQUERADE
sudo iptables -A FORWARD -i eth0 -o wlan0 -m state --state RELATED,ESTABLISHED -j ACCEPT
sudo iptables -A FORWARD -i wlan0 -o eth0 -j ACCEPT

Some people recommend the Adafruit method over, more compatible with iptables.. Maybe better performance ? Maybe more complicated ?

Last modified 14 months ago Last modified on 10/30/2017 11:44:01 PM