Something about cheap devices

Please delete. Sorry for wasting your time.

Have you looked at an ESPRESSObin? Think it costs around 50$, which seems quite fair in relation to what it offers. The only conceivable problem I could see with it would be the fact it doesn't have a case (that I know of)

Some alternatives:


A couple things to consider as you wade through the huge number of inexpensive devices available today:

  • Broadcom wireless is still very poorly supported in open-source firmware
  • USB 2 devices and even many USB 3 devices may not have enough current to drive power-hungry devices like wireless adapters or spinning hard drives

Personally, I'd insert a powered USB hub if you're drawing more than a Watt from USB, total. It looks like there are a few powered, USB 3 hubs from "recognizable" manufactures available on Amazon US for under $20.

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Trouble with wi-fi sticks I think is the name stays the same but with every new Vx comes a new chip inside while the plastic case reads the same. Sometimes they switch without a new Vx. I first started using a ALFA AWUS036NHA 802.11n Wireless-N Wi-Fi USB Adapter High Speed Atheros AR9271 and that was an easy buy because the AR9271 indicates the chip it uses and OpenWRT has the driver for that chip or at least there is a driver in the OPKG directory. The device was spoken negatively of due to drop outs but I have good luck with mine but only after using a short cord with 22AWG cable of 6' or less. Powered USB hub will not help much unless you have the USB with the fatter power cable inside and that is one marked 22AWG. I notice that 22AWG in the mini size plug which this adapter uses is no longer being sold by Amazon or Monoprice. Seems the popularity of the new micro USB cables that fit smart phones and tablets has run the old thicker 22 AWG mini USB cables off the market. What I would try if you can't find the mini 22 AWG is to use a micro 22 AWG and then put a micro to mini adapter on the end attaching to the Alpha.

In contrast last week I went looking for what you are, a supported USB Stick and I was provided a list of favorable USB wifi sticks, one of which was the Alfa AWUS036ACM Long-Range Dual-Band AC1200 Wireless USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter w/2x 5dBi External Antennas: 2.4GHz 300Mbps/5GHz 867Mbps-802.11ac & a, b, g, n . I installed this one on the EspressoBIN and while I could get it to receive in client mode it would not transmit in AP mode. Was using the kmod-mt76 driver but something else is awry. I installed in on my GLI-net 300M which was working well with the older Alpha with the known chip I just mentioned and the older Alpha worked but not this new one that is supposedly supported.

Otherwise I travel a lot and mostly use the GLI-net AR-150 with antenna with a USB cell modem and SIM chip with pay as you go in the country I visit and it serves as my ISP source. On these I used the slightly modified image of OpenWRT standard build called Rooter from

I don't see a lot of people having a great deal of luck with USB wifi dongles otherwise. If you prove me wrong, please give me a bump.

***Disclaimer - OpenWRT minimal experienced user only - NO DEVELOPER


Otherwise in my book the TP-Link WR703N is a good buy if the non-antenna radio will suffice and if 4M will be workable, and while realizing not many if any USB drivers or additional PKG files can be added ($20US). My standby at the moment is the GLI GL-AR150 is a good USB experimental router and it can be found for around $22 without an antenna jack and $28 with antenna jack and antenna (last time I checked) The advantage to the GL-AR150 is the flash is 8M and the antenna is detachable for a different style. And while both of these are economical and have USB connectors, the GL-AR150 is a better choice because of these reasons. In my camper I have a GL-AR150 with Rooter (moded OpenWRT) and cell modem in waterproof box on antenna pole pulling in a cell data signal, using PoE to power it and inside my camper I have the WR703 serving as an AP. I just added a MeCool Android TV box (CoreElec) to my camper LAN and am also working on trying to configure EspressoBIN to host a drive as a media server (thanks to some helpers on this forum).

** I just added a GL-AR300M to my arsenal which is the one I use for my travel package setup. The only reason I ordered it over the GL-AR150 was because it was a little more hefty in the storage and speed department (and basically I was curious about playing with it). In my travels as speed of 2-5M is common and 20M unheard of so I don't really need more speed for my applications. It might be good if I ever wanted to add OpenVPN client, however. As with everything it seems, I discovered a "gotcha" too late after purchasing which from what I've read the 128M ram can't be accessed with the existing OpenWRT due to something about a NAND memory, which they are missing a driver for or something to that order. I just filed this under "look at another day" and stamped on the file "it's always something". With the GL AR-300M the firmware comes with a hokey front end where you can seque to swapping interfaced to an older version of OpenWRT but there appears no easy way to upgrade it to more recent that what GLI net offers. So in other words the GL AR300M is OpenWrt V or so and the GLI net logon is an alternative interface to OpenWRT. If the wiki is correct one can't take advantage of the NAND chip if you install OpenWRT which limits you to 16M which is quite frustrating.

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I will bet on a decent 12V device that support openwrt, though some 5V USB powered devices sounded tempting.

If going forward with a 5V devices such ones from GL-inet with another USB wifi dongle, like what other contributors have suggested, look out for good USB cables and also main USB current should be > 2A.

Have no idea whether this might prematurely damage some components or damage a USB port, but my experience once was a smoking USB cable when hooked to a Senao USB wifi adapter rated at 400mW.

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With 4 MB of flash, you are wasting your money. Already too small for a minimal system in many cases. The lack of RAM will also bite you. The 400 MHz CPU is underpowered, by today's standards as well.

With 16/128 devices on QCA/Atheros chips available starting at under US$20, I would seriously rethink. The GL.iNet AR300M-Lite is one such device at US$17 and I impressed by its build quality and the software it ships with.

The RAM is just fine on this device. What's up is that the device has two flash chips, one is NAND and not supported, the other is a smaller NOR device and supported. The Lite version of this device leaves the NAND out at substantially lower price.

To use your device just force it to fail booting the NAND three times, basically you plug and unplug the power for a couple seconds, after three fails it boots the NOR and you can install OpenWrt and run normally from there.

On the NAND memory, the ath79 platform on master now has the patches in place for Linux 4.19 which has upstream support framework for this type of flash (the reason the NAND patches weren't accepted by upstream Linux, and, as a result, by then OpenWrt project). Work is already underway.

Of course, there is also that current GL.iNet firmware is very close to OpenWrt 18.06.02, primarily with the addition of GL.iNet's travel-router packages and UI in addition to "vanilla" LuCI as their "advanced" UI. Their source tree builds just like OpenWrt, including package feeds. I've got an AR750S "Slate" that is still running OEM firmware and find it to be robust and, if I'm SSH-ed into it or using LuCI, effectively indistinguishable from OpenWrt 18.06.

I’m very impressed by my AR-300M-Lite, as well as the quality of firmware GL.iNet produces. Their current version is basically 18.06.2 with their UI and travel-router features in addition to LuCI (“advanced” menu). Enjoy!

(Note, if you cross-grade to 18.06.2, retain settings or you won’t be able to connect as its single Ethernet port comes up as “WAN” and wireless is disabled. Resolved in master early this year with the ath79 AR300M-Lite device.)

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Test points, not connectors.

Some of the AR300M variants have 16 MB of NOR flash and 128 MB of NAND flash. The -Lite has only NOR.

With 16 MB of flash, you’re probably ok with 18.06.2 and packages as needed. For building source the build system is needed. The image builder just assembles a downloaded kernel and packages into a ROM.

@stm Please don't delete your original post and rename your topic... people contribute here so that not only your question can be answered, but we develop an archive of answered questions that people can search.


There was no waste of time answering your original questions. Vandalizing the thread by removing your posts has now made that a waste of time.

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