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I have seen many arduino compatible wifi modules that are rather expensive compared to some other types of modules. I am wondering what is the feasibility of using a consumer grade wifi usb dongle as a wifi module for an Arduino?

Take for instance this module. Is far cheaper than any of the arduino wifi modules. If it were possible to use one of these in my projects it would greatly reduce the cost of a wifi enabled projecct.

If something like that is possible what would be required to the two communicating?

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    \$\begingroup\$ The arduino would need to have a host USB stack and host-capable USB hardware. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Mar 24 '12 at 16:50
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Via USB? It would be difficult as you've been replied to. But, if the underlying device communicated on a hobby-friendly bus such as SPI or I²C, it would make things a lot more possible. Obviously, this would require in-depth knowledge of the hardware which would be impossible to come by and difficult to derive. In short: no; this is simply not worth the time and effort required and may not even be possible anyways.

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If you have a regular Ethernet shield for your arduino (with RJ45), you can turn it into wifi with a wifi adapter such as the Netgear WNCE2001. I did it and it works fine. I am able to make my arduino send data to by android tablet via a wifi access point. I am now struggling a bit to implement a peer-to-peer wifi connection from the arduino to the tablet without the external wifi access point in order to take it into my car, but I think this is achievable as well.

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Nice idea, the cost of Wifi chips is weird. I suspect the USB interface code on top of the TCPIP code is going to get rather heavy

Try this instead ruggedcircuits - yellowjacket

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