HOWTO: create multiple virtual interfaces

Live forum:


06-03-2008 19:42:15


Mattias mentioned today, how to create virtual interfaces. Since i didn't find information elsewhere, i will share his hints and my thoughts here.

1) You need some recent kernel, maybe the rt2x00.git tree.
2) You need a supported hardware... rt73usb works fine, rt61 should, too.

Installing the "iw" tool
3a) You need libnl and libnl-dev. In Debian, a "apt-get install libnl-dev libnl" should be ok, on other systems, refer to their method of installation or download, compile and install the libnl from git//
3b) pull the "iw" tool from the git repository and compile it
# cg clone http//
# cd iw
# cp defconfig .config
# make

If you like to use the "iw" tool more often, you can install it to /sbin (as root)
# cp iw /sbin/iw

4) Your wireless card should be plugged in, there should already be a single interface, say "wlan0". Now you can create a new interface with the iw tool (replace "wlan1" with a name, you like)
# iw dev wmaster0 interface add wlan1 type managed

You should now be able to see the interface with "iwconfig". Configuration and association works just like with any other interface, but be aware, that the hardware currently does not support connection to different APs or mixed AP/Client mode. Multiple interfaces are thus only helpful for "monitor" interfaces and sniffing tools.



06-03-2008 20:01:26

I made this topic sticky, because other users will undoubtly be interested in this issue. )


24-04-2008 20:08:15

Allowed interface combinations
1 Managed + x Monitor
1 Adhoc + x Monitor
y Master + x Monitor

Where y depends on the hardware
rt61pci/rt73usb support up to 4 virtual AP interfaces
rt2800pci/rt2800usb support up to 8 virtual AP interfaces


28-05-2009 18:35:32


Does the driver for rt2561 support connection to different APs or mixed AP/Client mode? Is it possible or planned?

I'm trying to run hostapd (thus wifi access point) and wpa-supplicant (thus wifi client) at the same time...



28-05-2009 19:16:20

That is not possible nor will it for any currently released hardware. That is a feature which heavily depends on the Hardware rather then the driver.


17-06-2009 09:36:13

Hi IvD,
I want to configure multiple Virtual Interfaces/SSID on RT73USB. I searched a lot in on the web but could not find how to achieve the same. As you have mentioned that upto 4 virtual interfaces can be configured on RT73. Kindly let me know the procecure to configure multiple Virtual Interfaces.


17-06-2009 10:32:58

See the first post of this topic and read the 'iw' manpage.


03-03-2011 14:52:48

Can you tell me if the RT3050 supports different virtual interfaces at once?

I want to run a Ad-Hoc and a AP Network at the same time. Is this possible?

And if not, would it be possible to configure the hardware to pass through all traffic to the driver, so that the driver could implement this feature in software?