Ubuntu – Enable AP Mode on WiFi hotspot sharing

This tutorial is trying to help those who want to create AP wifi hotspot in Ubuntu Laptop but stuck at “Wifi Hotspot: Access Point Mode Is Not Supported By This Device” error message.

I’ve written three tutorials about how to turn Ubuntu Laptop into a wifi hotspot for Android, and Windows phones. Access Point Mode does not support issue is one of the most asked questions from my readers. Below I will show how to fix it using Broadcom bcm4313 as example.

1. Press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run the command below to tell your wireless chip information:

lspci | grep -i Network

In my case, it outputs:

02:00.0 Network controller: Broadcom Corporation BCM4313 802.11bgn Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)

The chip id is BCM4313, manufactured by Broadcom.

2. Check the below table. Find out the driver that works for your wireless adapter and support AP mode.

For Broadcom, there are three drivers that support AP mode, but only brcmsmac(check link page for supported chips) support wifi chip BCM4313.

Driver Manufacturer Support AP Mode
adm8211 ADMtek/Infineon no
airo Aironet/Cisco ?
ar5523 Atheros no
at76c50x-usb Atmel no
ath5k Atheros yes
ath6kl Atheros no
ath9k Atheros yes
ath9k_htc Atheros yes
ath10k Atheros ?
atmel Atmel ?
b43 Broadcom yes
b43legacy Broadcom yes
brcmfmac Broadcom no
brcmsmac Broadcom yes
carl9170 ZyDAS/Atheros yes
cw1200 ST-Ericsson yes
hostap Intersil/Conexant ?
ipw2100 Intel no
ipw2200 Intel no
iwlegacy Intel no
 iwlwifi Intel yes
 libertas  Marvell  no
libertas_tf  Marvell yes
mac80211_hwsim  Jouni  yes
mwifiex  Marvell  yes
mwl8k  Marvell  yes
orinoco  Agere/Intersil/Symbol no
 p54pci  Intersil/Conexant  yes
p54spi  Conexant/ST-NXP  yes
p54usb  Intersil/Conexant  yes
rndis_wlan  Broadcom  no
rt61pci  Ralink  yes
rt73usb  Ralink  yes
rt2400pci  Ralink  yes
rt2500pci  Ralink  yes
rt2500usb  Ralink  yes
rt2800pci  Ralink  yes
rt2800usb  Ralink  yes
vt6656  VIA  yes
wil6210  Atheros  yes
 wl12xx Texas Instruments  yes
zd1211rw ZyDAS/Atheros  yes

3. Find out current driver running on your wifi adapter by running below command:

ethtool -i wlan0 | grep driver

If need, install ethtool from Ubuntu Software Center. The command outputs something like this:

driver: wl0

So in my case I need to switch wireless driver from wl0 to brcmsmac to get AP mode support.

4. Install brcmsmac driver.

sudo apt-get install firmware-b43-installer

5. After installed the new driver, try to enable it from Additional Drivers utility (search & open it from the Unity Dash), and finally restart.

6. Finally run:

iw list

Below section tells you AP mode is support now:

Supported interface modes:
* IBSS
* managed
* AP
* AP/VLAN
* monitor

For some wireless chips, run below command instead to check out supported interface modes:

sudo iwconfig wlan0 mode master

7 To make this work at next boot, go to /etc/modprobe.d directory in terminal:

cd /etc/modprobe.d/ && ls

Or in your file browser (open as root), find out and remove the line blacklist brcmsmac that blacklist the driver in any file in that directory.

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