Recently, I stumbled upon the GL-AR150; a small "travel router" by GL.iNet marketed towards those traveling who wanted a VPN endpoint or pocket router that was small and had Wireless and Ethernet capabilities.

GL-AR150. $26 and qualifies for Prime Shipping

The GL-AR150 is a flexible little unit for a reasonable price, and when running OpenWRT, there are a number of possible configurations you could use (GL.iNet ships the AR150 with OpenVPN and OpenWRT ready to go).  The more I read, however, I discovered that the specs of the AR150 closely mirror that of the WiFi Pineapple Nano. The only real difference is that the Pineapple has an additional wireless chip on-board and the AR150 does not.

GL-AR150 WiFi Pineapple Nano
Atheros AR9331 MIPS @ 400 MHz Atheros AR9331 MIPS @ 400 MHz
64MB RAM 64MB RAM
16MB Flash 16MB Flash
1x USB A (Expansion), 1x Micro USB (Power Only) USB A (Expansion)
2x 10/100 Ethernet Ports USB A (Power and Ethernet)

They are so similar that I decided to do some research of my own to discover that there have been ports of the WiFi Pineapple's firmware to enable use on a GL-AR150 (More info here on Security Addicted).

Since the AR150 only has a single WiFi antenna, you will have to get another one to for PineAP to function properly. There are only a few WiFi chipsets that work with Linux so you have to choose your card carefully (Unlike what I did, requiring my to return my original one at my own expense). The adapter I went with was the TP-Link TL-WN722N Version 1. The version is super important, you must use v1 of this adapter or else it will not work, as the chipset changed. Even though the Amazon listing might say that it's version 1 that you're receiving, that's not always the case. If I were you, I'd check out the Ebay listings for the right adapter.

Some of Ebay's listings.

Moving on, once you have all the bits and pieces together, the last step is to flash the firmware, which really involves setting up the AR150 with it's stock configuration and using the .bin file you downloaded to "Upgrade" the firmware. Unless you do something wrong, you shouldn't have to enter Uboot to flash your router and should just be able to flash through the GUI without any issues.

Finally, after the flash completes, point your computer to the IP address to access the Pineapple admin interface (Should be  172.16.42.1:1471, you may have to connect to it's WiFi ad-hoc network) and start configuring. If you are stuck at the message "The WiFi Pineapple is still booting" don't panic, this is a known issue with running the WiFi Pineapple firmware on the AR150. All you have to do is ssh into the AR150 with the username root and password you set originally when you booted the AR150 right out of the box. Executing the command jffs2reset -y && reboot should resolve your problems.  After your AR150 reboots, you're good to go, have fun tinkering with WiFi Pineapple!

If you have any questions about the configuration process or how to get going with the WiFi Pineapple software, feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected]. I should also note that the "Offical" WiFi Pineapple tools and scripts for Internet connection do not currently work with the AR150 as they use a Regex to exclude it's MAC address. I am working on a script that should be compatible, but there is no ETA on when I will have time to finish that sadly.


Side note... I may eventually make a write-up on the PineAP software and interface, after I get some time to learn all the functionality myself. In addition.. If anyone happens to have a small rugged case or something they're looking to get rid of (like the one that ships with the actual WiFi Pineapple, but a little larger), I'd love to figure out a solution for containing my AR150 and TL-WN722N, because right now.. it doesn't look too tactical.