What about USB to PCIe adapter + PCIe WiFi card?

Hi, my motherboard that I'm trying to use as base for my router-project has no pcie slot. Just USB2/3 and M.2. I didn't think that my by problem, because I saw many M.2 wifi cards on amazon. There is alos plenty of USB adapters.
Unfortunately, I didn't know that all these adapters are just for client mode, and cant work as AP.

It looks that only adapters that can work as AP are supplied as PCIe cards (big and small).

And now the question:
I found on amazon devices like that:

Can I use one of them with mPCIe wifi card? Will that work? Did anyone tested that?

No for both.
First is used for connection of SATA SSD in M.2 formfactor to USB host.
Second is used for connection of 3G/4G modem in mini PCIe formfactor to USB host.

Hi! i've also using x86 router. I'm also looking for a wi-fi adapter! I've bought two from local reatail, first based MT7601U, second based MT2870, both don't work as AP no matter i did, in win 10 works perfectly, don't do my mistakes. And NEVER BUY MEDIATEK TRASH.

Too late :frowning:
Mediatek RT5572 is on the way. Someone wrote on forum that only working are Atheroes and Mediatek.
I didn't find any Atheroes USB nor M.2 that would support 5GHz network, only what I found is that Mediatek:

Link 1

On their page here they say there is Linux AP Driver for it.

Also if you search Quesions on Amazon page that I linked, someone posted that AP mode worked for him on CentOS 7.2

Perhaps this particular one will work, I did not have it on such a microcircuit. Will be great if you post here update after arrival!

I will.

IMHO It would be much easier if people would write more about their experiences - not only problems. Not only because of others. But for themselves. Imagine you spent hours setting something up, and it worked. And after time you need to do it again, but you don't remember how it was done on first time. If you share your experience on forum, you can always search for your own post.


OK, so adapter has arrived, I can say it works, but it's not way straight forward to get it work and I'm not 100% sure if it will be usable.

Thing is that device first was diecovered as one radio and easily I got it working on 2.4Ghz as AP.
Clients connected, all was good. But I was hoping to switch to 5Ghz. So I disconneted, switched to 5Ghz mode, to right channel etc. And after restart, device didn't work. Radio interface was still down.
Last hour I spent reseting, changing settings, plugging it to another USB port etc. There were moments of success. I got it working as 5Ghz AP and I connected clients. But after another settings adjustments it stopped working. Apart of that, somewhere in the middle, second radio appeared - one was for 2.4GHz second for 5GHz. Then one disappeared and there is only one again.
Basically this looks like nightmare, and I dont believe it is caued by adapter itself. I think there is settings issue + probably bug somewhere in the driver.

For me OpenWRT is horribly unintuitive and messy. Normally I would use documentation but it that is inaccurate and often outdated.
Unfortunatelly it is only available OS that theoretically has all features that I need.
I could use Ubuntu Server, but I think that configuring it would be even worse than OpenWRT.

The M.2 (NGFF) slot as well as the miniPCI-E slot offer both PCI-E and USB connectivity, devices can chose which they will use.

For example, most 3G/4G modems will only use the USB port of the mini-PCI-E or M.2 connector, thus you can attach them to any USB port with just a passive adapter as from Link 2.

The adapter in Link 1 is a USB to mSATA controller, basically the same as any external hard drive enclosure, that allows to attach mSATA disks to a USB port.

WiFi cards usually use the PCI-E lanes only, while Combo cards will additionally use USB for Bluetooth and PCI-E for wireless.

To attach a WiFi card to an M.2 slot, you would need an adapter from M.2 to PCI-E, e.g.:

(the 12V supply is most probably not needed :sweat_smile: 5V supplied by M.2 should also be enough)

Curiously I couldn't find a direct M.2 -> miniPCI-E adapter, so it might be a little cumbersome to add one of these to support miniPCI-E cards:

My (gaming) laptop has a RivetNetworks Killer AC1535 M.2 card which is based on Atheros and supports AC1200 (i.e. 2 streams on 2.4 and 5 GHz simultaneously apparently only one at a time), works quite well on desktop ubuntu and should run just as fine with OpenWRT, turns out they are around € 10 on ebay these days, since it's not the latest model anymore....

OK, so I think I found what's going on.
Before I installed AR5572, I was playing with Netgear WNA1100 which is bgn only (2.4GHz).
So RT5572 has only 1 radio which means it cant oparate two frequencies, a time.
For now, I plugged both adapters in, and I have set two radios up and both works.

Unfortunatelly I discovered an Issue that may disqualify both devices (specially Netgear) - low power.
They can do only 100mW (Netgear) and 200mW (Mediatek/Ralink). My current router LinksysEA6900 can do 400mW and anyway I have to use Range Extension.
I will have to do some tests, but I'm afraid it may be not enoug and I will have to use 3rd device, which makes whole case just waste of time.