I have a range of WiFi dongles I use with my various RPi projects, which I thought I’d share as my choices have evolved as my requirements got more refined.
First off is the Edimax Nano dongle – an absolute cracker – tiny, yet supports soft AP (WAP). The only reason I moved on from here is the drone needs 360 degrees line of sight meaning I wanted a dongle with antenna to achieve better reach and signal strength.
That led me to these Edimax EW-7612UAn V2 dongles. They support soft AP (WAP) although I didn’t have that requirement yet. They worked great, until I realized that when in flight, even with the antenna, the signal would be poor due to its position on the drone blocking line of sight to the controller. It also suffered during the couple of gravel crashes the drone took. So I needed a detachable antenna that I could attach between the drones legs.
Which brought me to the EDUP range – my first purchase was the EP-MS150N. A cracking dongle with a small body, small USB connector, 150m range and detatchable antenna allowing for a separate wired antenna. Lovely jubbly – except they seemed to vanish from Amazon and ebay shortly after I found them (partly my fault), and they don’t support soft AP / WAP. So when I came to setting up my test WAP, these didn’t work.
On the plus side that did lead me to the EDUP site and to the EP-MS15003 – a cracking dongle – like the MS150N but double the range and with soft AP support. But unavailable outside of China / HongKong – shame.
Which finally led me to the EDUP EP-MS1537 – also 300m range, soft AP support, and available on ebay (from HongKong), so I ordered a couple and they’re on there way now from China.
But I’m impatient, and liked the white colouring of the EP-MS15003, it’s smaller size and cropped USB plug, so carried on grubbing around on google and found these guys in Hong Kong stocking the EP-MS15003, and offering DHL delivery at a sensible price meaning delivery within a week rather than a month. Sorted!
One week later, it’s arrived and installed and running the drone WAP like a dream.
P.S. All the above dongles use the Realtek chipset, so, where soft AP is supported, can be used as a WAP using these instructions if you need a bridge to the internet, or mine, if you want your WAP to be in a completely isolated secure network like I want for the drone.