Project idea: Second WiFi

It would be great to have a good secondary wifi card for penetration testing or doing some other interesting things (like a permanent AP for raspberry pis to connect to for SSH).
Some ideas for specifications:

  1. Switchable between an external antenna via SMA connection and antenna on PCB trace (see note A below). Maybe even a directional antenna. Open to ideas from others about improving range beyond the internal antenna.
  2. USB 2.0 interface may not be suitable for faster data rates but it has the simplest connection via the USB-c connector see (note B below)
  3. a good driver that allows Promiscuous mode on Linux (See note C)

Note A
This is a PCB trace antenna for 868-915mhz but maybe they could lend their expertise. Not sure if a PCB trace antenna is even a good idea for this presumably it would just be shorter since it wifi is 2.4 or 5 Ghz. I believe they publish their design files on github for this.

Note B
Looks like the Wikipedia (ref below) claims the newest wifi [IEEE 802.11ax (aka Wi-Fi 6)] goes up to 11 Gbit/s :astonished:

USB 2.0 (simplest for circuit design) is only 480 Mbit/s. This speed would be almost fast enough for IEEE 802.11n (aka Wi-Fi 4) at 600 Mbit/s.

All this info from here: List of interface bit rates - Wikipedia

Note C
Looks like a good USB dongle that is known to work for this application is the Alfa AWUS036ACM (faq [Aircrack-ng]) but I’m not sure of the chip set. Could be a good starting point.

Generally, I would identify the chipset via the method here until I found a chipset I could find on digikey or mouser and go with that.

Digikey publishes KiCad libraries for some of their parts but I don’t think its comprehensive.
Looks like mouser does the same but they claim its their designs are compatible with many different ECAD software.

That’s all the thoughts I had for now. Just wanted to get that first bit of research out there. I am a busy grad student so I probably won’t have much time to check this but I can give advice if I have the time.


I like this, but I think I’d still rather an entire pineapple on a card. :-p

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