3. Hardware description

My Acer Aspire One has a Model KAV10, which is one of Acer's oldest models. Since then Acer has produced many new models, but the only important part for this configuration is the model of the wireless adapter within it. From what I found Acer has been changing the adapter in nearly all newer models of Aspire. All the models I checked come with a different adapter made by Atheros (although its important to verify the producer). If you are thinking of buying the laptop, check in advance its wireless adapter. For mine, lspci and dmesg are giving this:

bash-4.1# lspci
01:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications Inc. AR5001
        Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)
03:00.0 Ethernet controller: Atheros Communications AR8121/AR8113/AR8114
        Gigabit or Fast Ethernet (rev b0)
bash-4.1# dmesg |grep Atheros
[   10.367156] ath5k phy0: Atheros AR2425 chip found (MAC: 0xe2, PHY: 0x70)

This is really good news as it seems that Atheros is one of the best supported adapters on Linux (the people from The MadWifi project are doing excellent work).

Surprisingly Windows is giving different information:

If it turns out that your adapter is different from mine, you will have to investigate further in order to be sure it supports AP mode. To accomplish this you will need the "iw" command. You probably have it already, but for the source and some documentation go to: http://linuxwireless.org/en/users/Documentation/iw. The most informative syntax is:

iw list

It will give you a pretty long output. In it look for the part that is similar to the following:

Supported interface modes:
                 * IBSS
                 * managed
                 * AP
                 * AP/VLAN
                 * monitor
                 * mesh point
        Supported commands:

If there is a line "* AP" it is good news, you have the necessary AP support for hostapd.

If it turns out that your chipset is different from mine you can check if it is supported on the MadWifi website. The MadWifi website is also by far the best source of documentation I have found. This will be one of your primary sources of knowledge when you decide to adjust to your needs, experiment or simply improve the configuration given below.

If you do not have Linux already installed, you can boot it from Slackware or SystemRescueCd USB stick and do some investigation on your Aspire.

The model of my old router "Linksys SRX 200" shown as part of two of the three configurations is not important. You may use any wireless router if you have any or avoid using it at all if you decide to permanently dedicate the Aspire as your Wireless router.