So to start I wasn't quite sure about where this question should be asked, so feel fre to relocate it if you want.

I'm setting up a system to notify me when a user enters an area. My plan is to use an old PCIE WiFi card powered from a small battery to detect when its within range. I want to know if a powered WiFi card needs to be initialized by the CPU or if a 5v power buss would be to have it show up in something like airodump-ng.


  • \$\begingroup\$ Firmware how exactly? \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 30 '14 at 0:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you mean? What firmware is the card? I dont know, but its atheros based. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Vrakas Oct 30 '14 at 3:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ The firmware is in storage on the host. It must be uploaded to the card in order for it to operate. \$\endgroup\$ – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 30 '14 at 3:29

Absolutely it needs to be configured by a host CPU. A WiFi card is a pretty dumb device - it's up to the host CPU to configure it in the right operational mode, often give it a MAC address, and of course to handle all the WEP/WPA and the entire 802.11 and TCP/IP stacks.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I understand that it needs setup to connect to a network, but what about just to broadcast its own Mac address? \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Vrakas Oct 30 '14 at 3:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ A card doesn't broadcast anything. The OS requests a connection with an access point. You can not do a single thing without a host OS to drive the card. \$\endgroup\$ – Majenko Oct 30 '14 at 21:22

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