Dear RPi Users

This is an open letter to people who have written things about making a WiFi AP with a Raspberry Pi.

Dear Tutorial Writers,

First of all; thank you for what you’ve done for the community as a whole. Without your efforts, tons of people would be completely utterly clueless about how to do things. But I have to say, some of the advice you give

is really fucking stupid.

First off, let me point out the differences between a Wireless Access Point and a Wireless Gateway.

You see, a wireless access point is a wifi radio that gives me access to the network it’s plugged in to. My device connects to it, and I get dropped on to my LAN. Simple, right?


On the offchance there was something funky about the RPi’s internal Wifi; I started looking at what others had written about doing this. Your titles proudly proclaim you’re making a WiFi AP, you go about explaining it, then you use dnsmasq as a requirement. Why is this a problem?

Because that is not a wireless access point.

When you start talking about using dnsmasq and NAT; you’re not making JUST an access point; you’re making a gateway…or a router. You are effectively cutting off the wifi clients from the network they want to connect to.


Why are you doing this to people? Why are you telling them one thing but then explaining another? Do you realize in a traditional wireless AP; there’s none of that. There’s no routing, there’s no NAT…there’s a wifi radio and a network bridge.

Now you may be saying “but hold on, my other WiFi AP’s do this”. They’re not strictly APs. They’re routers. They’re a router, firewall with NAT, and wireless AP rolled in to one single device. These are three seperate items.

I don’t think the person trying to make a Wifi AP out of a Pi on thier home network doesn’t need the headache of double NAT. Why? Why why why? Why are you stooping to their same level of misunderstanding? You’ve got a chance to educate people about how things really work; and you take the lowest common demonitor way out.

Every single tutorial I read did not explain how to make a wifi access point; they explained how to make full routers/gateways. The devices you connect won’t be on your network; they will be on your own network. All access will be gated through the Pi. It’s no wonder I read comments of people complaining about problems related to double NAT when following them…wondering why it didn’t work.

You need to do a better job of explaining what you say; and explaining to people what they’re doing. You want to know what it takes to make a basic wifi AP in Linux?

hostapd to put the wifi in to master mode; and a network bridge containing your LAN and WLAN interfaces.

That’s it. There’s ZERO need to have dnsmasq issue IPs; the network likely has a DHCP server on it. The only reason you need to NAT is because you (incorrectly) told someone how to make a gateway.

Please stop shoveling this kind of shit. It’s bad enough I think the RPi is a pretty lousy platform; the bad tutorials make it impossible for me to recommend it for any use outside of very specific cases.

Posted on: 13-NOV-2022