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Update: While it may still work, AP-Hotspot is abandoned. That's because there are too many things that depend on the hardware and since I can only test it on one device, that makes the script unreliable for others and for me, pretty much impossible to fix some issues.

A wireless hotspot enables a computer to serve as a router over Wi-Fi. Ubuntu lets you easily create a wireless hotspot by using the Network Manager, but it uses an ad hoc network and most Android and Windows Phone devices can't connect to such networks.


For this reason, I've created (in collaboration with Satya) a script called AP-Hotspot that automatically creates an infrastructure (Access Point mode) wireless hotspot in Ubuntu that should work with Android and Windows Phone devices. The script uses hostapd and dnsmasq and it requires Access Point mode support for your wireless card - AP-Hotspot checks for this automatically and won't run if your wireless card doesn't support it.

So far, we've tested it in Ubuntu 13.04 with a Dell Inspiron 1545 (Wireless Card: Broadcom Corporation: BCM4312 802.11b/g LP-PHY) and a Dell XPS L702X (Wireless: Intel Centrino Wireless-N 1030) and the Android devices we've used have successfully connected to the Wi-Fi hotspot, unlike using the Ubuntu built-in hotspot feature. Because this depends on the wireless card / drivers you're using (and I can only test it with one card / driver), I can't offer any guarantees that it will work for you, so the package is offered as is, without any support! If it doesn't work for you, there's nothing I can do!

AP-Hotspot is based on THESE instructions (which by the way, you can use if you don't want to use our script), however, using the script should be a lot easier to set up an Access Point mode wireless hotspot because it automatically checks if all the requirements are met: the wireless card supports AP mode, if the WiFi is turned on but not connected to any network (without this, the hotspot doesn't work) and so on. Also, the script tries to configure everything automatically so in most cases, the configuration should take just a few seconds.

Another script feature is that it displays notifications: when the hotspot becomes active and when a device connects or disconnects from the hotspot.



Install AP-Hotspot in Ubuntu


Important: AP-Hostpot doesn't work with Realtek RTL8192CU chipsets because Hostapd doesn't support this out of the box (you need to a custom Hostapd build and newer drivers for this but since it's so complicated, I didn't add support for this to AP-Hostpot).

AP-Hotspot is available in the main WebUpd8 PPA (note: there are some other packages in the main WebUpd8 PPA which you can see HERE) for Ubuntu 13.10, 13.04, 12.10 and 12.04, however, because this can't be tested in VirtualBox, it has only been tested on Ubuntu 13.04 and 13.10. The script requires Hostapd 1.0 which is available by default in Ubuntu 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10 - for Ubuntu 12.04, you can use a PPA to install Hostapd 1.0.

Reminder: Because this depends on the wireless card / drivers you're using (and I can only test it with one card / driver), I can't offer any guarantees that it will work for you, so the package is offered as is, without any support! If it doesn't work for you, there's nothing I can do!

That said, let's proceed with installing AP-Hotspot:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ap-hotspot

Update for Ubuntu 14.04: the hostapd version in Ubuntu 14.04 is buggy and doesn't work properly. To get AP-Hotspot to work with hostapd in Ubuntu 14.04, you need to downgrade hostapd and use apt to hold the package so it's not upgraded (thanks to spupuz for the tip!). To do this, use the following commands:

64bit:
cd /tmp
wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/w/wpa/hostapd_1.0-3ubuntu2.1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i hostapd*.deb
sudo apt-mark hold hostapd

32bit:
cd /tmp
wget http://archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/pool/universe/w/wpa/hostapd_1.0-3ubuntu2.1_i386.deb
sudo dpkg -i hostapd*.deb
sudo apt-mark hold hostapd

If you're not using Ubuntu or don't want to add the main WebUpd8 PPA, you can get the script from HERE (but it has only been tested in Ubuntu). If you're not using the deb, make sure you also install the following packages, required by the script: hostapd, dnsmasq and iw.



Usage


To start AP-Hotspot, use the following command:
sudo ap-hotspot start

The first time you run the script, it tries to automatically detect which network interface is connected to the Internet, the wireless network interface and so on, however, if the detection doesn't work correctly, you can enter these manually:


Then, you'll have to enter the desired hotspot Access Point name and password:


If later on you want to run the configuration again, use the following command:
sudo ap-hotspot configure

To stop the wireless hotspot, use:
sudo ap-hotspot stop

Or, if you want to restart it, use:
sudo ap-hotspot restart

To see all the supported commands, simply type the following in a terminal:
ap-hotspot

The default SSID is "myhotspot" and the default password is "qwerty0987".
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