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I would like to extend a WiFi signal. I could buy a WiFi repeater, but a much cheaper solution would be using an older Android 4 device, which I own and don't use. The Android device is capable of creating a WiFi AP. So if I bought an external WiFi USB adapter for it, with a large antenna used as the receiver and the Android device itself as the AP, I could bridge the network.

The hardware should be possible. But how about the Android software? Will there be any issues, or any considerations I need to take note of?

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There are several wifi tethering apps, some even don't need rooting. Guess where you can search. – ott-- Jan 8 '13 at 12:33
@ott-- you misread the Q probably, this isn't solely about creating an AP, it's about a wifi-to-wifi bridge/repeater mode using an additional external USB wifi dongle. There's no app on play... – ce4 Jan 9 '13 at 1:48
@ce4 Indeed, I was thinking of a repeater, but I learned that this is not possible. – ott-- Jan 10 '13 at 10:52
up vote 3 down vote accepted

That's not worth the trouble.

It's not supported out of the box by Android and you would have to (re)compile and configure and script many things. The dedicated router is the more reasonable and stable solution (and it's also cheap).

Reasons are the following. You would need:

  • USB host support
  • finding a USB wifi module that's supported by linux
  • Compile a kernel module or a new kernel (to support the USB module)
  • bridge utilities (maybe), bridge module in linux
  • a working wpa_supplicant binary for the new USB dongle
  • time
  • 17EUR+ costs (Wifi USB dongle (starting around 12EUR) + USB OTG cable (5EUR))

In contrast to this the cheapest repeater-mode wifi router I found on Amazon was 18EUR and requires null additional fiddling (plus has a better antenna).

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Bluetooth tethering might also be a solution.

That truly works out of the box on Android 3.0+ (and with 3rd party apps on 2.2+). It'll be just fine if you can tolerate the low data rate (BT 2.0 offers 2.1MBit data rate) and the distance between phone + bluetooth-tether client is not too far. In this mode the wifi operates normally and the 2nd (client) connection is done via bluetooth PAN profile, look here for more info:

I have done this in blind spotted hotel rooms: put the phone in a good spot and then BT tether.

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It needs two android devices. First device (which is connected to wifi AP) enables bluetooth tethering and second device connect to the first device through bluetooth tethering. And enables wifi-hotspot on second device and uses the second device as wifi bridge. Then you can use old android device as a wifi bridge without any additional device and s/w.

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