M.2 2230 WiFi NIC - or USB NIC for guest WiFi?

  • I've decided to build my own router/firewall for home use.  The reasons for my decision are not pertinent to this discussion.

    After much searching on this forum, I haven't found the answer to my questions.

    I plan to use an ASUS H110T/CSM motherboard (Intel H110 chipset).  It has two NIC's… one is a Realtek 8111H, the other is an Intel I219V.  As far as I can tell, both of these are supported by the version of FreeBSD used in pfSense 2.3.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    I plan to use my existing router (ASUS RT-AC66U) as an AP.  The AP will be connected to the pfSense machine via an unmanaged switch, which is also connected to the wired clients in my home.

    If, at some point in the future, I decide to setup a "guest WiFi", I would like to know what hardware will work in my setup.

    The motherboard has a connector for an M.2 2230 (E key) WiFi adapter.  It also has several USB connectors.

    My choices, as I see them, are:

    1. Find a compatible USB NIC, and connect it to a second AP.
    2. Find a compatible M.2 2230 WiFi NIC, and add antennae to my rig.

    Please give me hardware recommendations for either of the above.

    Cost, of course, is a big factor in my decision.  The ability for future expansion is also important.

    Thanks for your help.

  • WiFi support in FreeBSD is no so good, so I would forget about option 2 - i.e. don;t put a WiFi card into the system.

    USB NICs are also going to be a hassle in general for making sure they really will work reliably.

    I would take option 3) get a small VLAN-capable smartswitch, then run 2 VLANs - 1 for your own network and another for the guests. Put an AP on each with different SSID/authentication.

    I guess you could also find an AP that already supports multiple SSID with VLANs in its backend, then you would not need 2 separate APs.

  • Thank you for your advice.  It seems that VLAN's are the way to go.

    Another user recommended this inexpensive managed switch:


    My current router (ASUS RT-AC66U) is capable of VLAN's as a router.  Not sure if it can do that as an AP.  I can install open source firmware if needed.

    Anyone know if DD-WRT, Tomato, or OpenWRT support VLAN's as an AP… and route "guest WiFi" clients via one VLAN... and all other wireless clients via a separate VLAN?

  • Banned

    I would imagine that it would VLAN as an AP just fine?

    Making a SOHO router an AP just means turning off DHCP, NAT, DNS, NTP, ACLs, QoS, (basically all optional services it provides that pfSense does instead).

    I wouldn't think that turning those off disables VLANs, but then I've never tried.

    I'd say back up the working config on your current router, then try to get it working as an AP with VLAN's, worst case just restore it to a working config and buy a switch that works.

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