RV Smart Wifi – Enhance Raspberry Pi Wireless Interface

This is a follow-up post to RV Smart Wifi – Raspberry Pi Wifi Router

Augmenting the Wireless Capabilities


The Problem


Not long after putting my RasPi wifi rig in the coach I started noticing some shortfalls and I quickly knew that I would have to Enhance the Rasberry Pi Wireless Interface.  Network dropping out, slow speeds, and random reboots to name a few.  Now I work from home and I am in the telecommunications industry so my data resources are rather important.  That being said the issues were serious enough that I had to find a solution.

The Solution – Enhance Raspberry Pi Wireless Interface


After a lot of troubleshooting and pouring over log files I came to the conclusion that the issue was with the on-board Wireless NIC.  There was no over usage of resources and the overall machine is pretty quick running NEWBS.

From the eth interface running a speedtest, with a handy CLI application called “speedtest-cli,” I was getting 20-25 MB down.  Anything connected to the access point was getting 1-5 MB (obviously this leaves a lot to be desired).  So I picked up a killer little USB Wifi adapter, the Netgear Nighthawk. 

Once I got it unpackaged and plugged in (it comes with a cool dock as well) I noticed an exceptional lack of any lights flashing on the interface.   After running a quick lsusb I see that the RasPi is not even recognizing the mfg info.  It did not take me long from there to recall that historically RasPi’s have a very limited amount power to the USB ports. So I needed to get a powered USB hub.

At the time I really had a difficult time finding one and ended up spending an hour just to get to a Fry’s Electronics.  Amazon to the rescue as usual though I wish I had bought this here. 

From there you will have to determine if you want to rename your NIC’s or just reconfigure the other applications (iptables, dhcpd, hostapd, dnsmasq, etc).  I opted for reconfiguring the applications, mainly because renaming the interfaces was taking me way to far down a rabbit hole!

Wrapping Up…


You can reflect back on the previous post for details on where you would have to change the iface name in the configuration files.

Once all was said and done I saw HUGE improvements (check out the speedtest below). The goal has been met we were able to greatly Enhance the Raspberry Pi Wireless Interface.  If you have any questions on this set up please comment below.