Best Kali Linux Compatible USB Adapter / Dongles 2017

By | June 15, 2017

Best Kali Linux Compatible USB Adapter  Dongles 2016
2017 has had little change so far with any new USB adapters including 802.11ac dongles.
 
This can always change of course at any time and we will update this post with any new information but 2017 has the same problems 2016 had.
 
The first problem is the 802.11ac protocol and a compatible USB adapter that will work with Kali.
 
802.11ac 5GHz USB dongles that will work with Kali are slow to come and hopefully will happen soon.
 
Below is a list of the most popular USB adapters that work with Kali or Backtrack.
 
They also will work with most any Linux Distro that requires a wireless card to go into monitor mode.
 
To see which USB dongles are used the most we had a poll, here are the results.
What Is Your Favorite Kali Linux USB Dongle 2017
 
From the Poll Results Here are the most Popular Kali Linux Pen Testing USB Adapters 2017

 
What Makes a Kali Linux USB Adapter Compatible?
The chipset and drivers written for a card is what makes a dongle compatible with Kali.
 
To do wireless Penetration Testing a card must be able to go into monitor mode and do packet injections most cards cant do this.
 
There are known chipsets that will work with Kali and Pen testing.
 
Most Popular Kali Linux Chipsets.
Atheros AR9271
Ralink RT3070
Ralink RT3572
Ralink RT5572
 
One thing to keep in mind with the list below is occasionally although rare manufactures can change the chipset in an adapter.
 
This happens when a new updated version of the adapter is introduced. Although it doesn’t happen often it has happened in the past with popular dongles.
 
Don’t forget to take the Poll at the bottom of the page for your favorite Kali Linux USB adapter of 2017.
 
UPDATE
There is a new Pen Testing USB adapter that has been working very well called the Panda PAU09.
 
It is a dual band 2.4 / 5 GHz wireless-N dongle that uses the Ralink RT5572.
 
Read Here for a Full Review of the Panda PAU09.
 
Adapters that use the Ralink RT3070 Chipset
 
Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz…….AliExpress.com
Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz…….eBay
 
 
Alfa AWUS036NEH 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
 
 
Panda PAU05 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
 
 
High Power SignalKing Signal King …….AliExpress.com
 
 
Adapters that use the Atheros AR9271 Chipset
 
Alfa AWUS036NHA…….Amazon
 
 
UPDATE: TP-LINK TL-WN722N Chipset Change
TP-Link has released a new Version 2 of the TL-WN722N which does not work with Kali and Pen testing.
 
The Chipset for the TP-LINK TL-WN722N Version 2 has changed. If a TL-WN722N is bought be sure it is a Version 1.
 
TP-LINK TL-WN722N…….eBay
 
 
Adapter that use the RT3572 chipset
 
Alfa AWUS051NH Dual Band 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz…….Amazon
 
 
Adapter that use the Ralink RT5572 chipset
 
Panda Wireless PAU09…….Amazon
 
Panda Wireless PAU09…….eBay
 
Wireless G only USB adapters, Realtek 8187L chipset
The following USB adapters are dongles that were best sellers in the past but since they only support wireless G they have become dated.
 
Alfa AWUS036H USB adapter 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Alfa AWUS036H USB adapter 2.4 GHz…….AliExpress.com
 
Netgear WG111v2 USB adapter 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
 
Sabrent NT-WGHU USB adapter 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
 
 
Summary
If you are new to Kali Linux and wireless Pen Testing finding the right USB adapter can be confusing at first.
 
Any of the above adapters will work with Kali and it comes down to which one is right for your setup.
 
For example if you are using Windows 7 with VMware to run Kali the adapter will have to be Windows 7 compatible.
 
Some may want a longer range adapter to get a signal from farther away which an adapter with a bigger dBi antenna would be better with range.
 
Big adapters with big antennas are not very stealthy in which case a small USB adapter may be the better option.
 
For those who simply want to get started with Kali getting the cheapest dongle would be best.
 
What Is Your Favorite Kali Linux USB Dongle?
 
New 2017 POLL

What Is Your Favorite Kali Linux USB Dongle 2017

 
pollcode.com free polls

 
Old Poll 2016

What Is Your Favorite Kali Linux USB Dongle 2016

 
pollcode.com free polls

 
 
If you have a USB adapter that works well with Kali let us know in the comments.
 

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60 thoughts on “Best Kali Linux Compatible USB Adapter / Dongles 2017

  1. Napping_Panda

    Of course the TP-link has its strengths with range but i prefer a more low profile dongle when i show customers just how vulnerable they are. that being said i prefer the PAU05. the device is plug and play, small, no need for antenna so it doesn’t make me a target of blame in a coffee shop when i’m testing

    Reply
  2. Satya Prakash

    Is this Alfa AWUS036ACH not good?

    I mistakenly got AWUS036NHA and now vendor is telling me that many are facing problem with ACH on Kali. He said, that he can return NHA but wont return ACH once ordered.

    I am in a fix. What to do?

    Reply
    1. Johnny

      I have the Alfa AWUS036ACH and I cannot get it to work in Kali Linux 2017.1. I have tried the out of the box update from the Kali page:
      apt-get update
      apt install realtek-rtl88xxau-dkms

      But when I do iwconfig, I have never seen wlan0 show up. NO wireless connection EVER shows up.

      If anyone has any input on this I would greatly appreciate it. Even the Kali page(https://www.kali.org/news/kali-linux-20171-release/) literally shows the exact adapter I have and shows that it should work… but it still isn’t recognized. I just don’t get it. I AM running Kali Linux through a VM Virtual workstation, and that can access my laptop’s built in wireless card, and use it for internet access. BUT still, nothing shows up in wlan0. and I can see the Alfa adapter under the attached USB devices, but when I connect to it in the Kali UI, nothing happens. I am completely stuck. any help would be greatly appreciated. I have been trying to get this to work for about 2 months now and it’s making me nuts. I have considered buying another adapter, BUT that one may not work either! Please help!

      Thank you!

      JP

      Reply
  3. Nikhil

    the TP-link WN722N v2 comes with a realtek chipset which doesnot support monitor mode..

    Reply
    1. danish

      no it won’t work …. it doesn’t support monitor mode , different chipset from supported . That’s why !

      Reply
  4. Adam

    WARNING ABOUT THE TP-LINK TL-WN722N FROM AMAZON!

    It’s June 2017, and I just bought the TL-WN722N using the link on this page. I received it today.

    Amazon is shipping out version 2 of the TP-LINK TL-WN722N. This version is using the Realtek RTL8188EUS chipset, which isn’t the chipset you want for Kali. Only version 1 has the preferred Atheros AR9271 chipset.

    I didn’t know there were two versions, and there’s no indication on the Amazon product page that this is version 2. It seems like Amazon only recently started shipping version 2 because a couple reviews warning about this popped up in the last week. Obviously, I didn’t read the reviews.

    Here are a couple links about the difference:

    https://wikidevi.com/wiki/TP-LINK_TL-WN722N

    https://wikidevi.com/wiki/TP-LINK_TL-WN722N_v2

    This is the Amazon link I used (same one linked above): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002SZEOLG

    Reply
    1. Mike

      I encountered the same thing in July. Amazon will automatically reject the return and you must convince a human to allow it. TP-Link will not support you, instead directing you to Amazon.

      I would avoid buying TL-WN722N because of this: I have both the atheros-powered model and the (inferior) Realtek-powered model, they are packaged the same and it’s a pain to untangle this.

      Reply
    2. M0nday

      There is over 50 sellers on Amazon for the TP-link TL-WN722N which one did you use?

      Reply
    3. gory lima

      Read too late – got a v2 – not working
      I allways read after I get anything home. LOL

      Reply
  5. forzagreen

    Watch out ! the TP-link TL-WN722N is now sold in v2 ! which does NOT seem to be working on Linux.
    Make sure you buy the v1.

    Reply
  6. Rohit

    can u plzz tell me which one is better for kali linux
    1. TP Link tl-wn722n (Atheros 9271)
    2. LB Link bl-wn190ah (Ralink 3070)

    plzz tell me fast

    Reply
    1. Totems

      Tp link wn722n v2 does not work with kali. It a Realtek chipset. Before you buy ask the seller if it’s a v1.

      Reply
  7. Flyin Eye Project

    Thanks for this article. It’s been a while since I bought a new one but I’m in need again. Seems that the connectors go bad. I see they are pretty much the same as when I bought one for Backtrack many years ago. Then a year or so ago I bought a new Alfa (clone I think) like the blue one in your article. Seems that the plug on this went bad too. It’s loose and if I move it just right, I get a burst of data. Anyways I’ve trouble shot the whole thing, network and all. This one didn’t last 2 years. I don’t move it much and am not real hard on it, though my wife would disagree.
    Think I will try one of the TP-Link devices this time. I have had good luck with their products so far. That one I didn’t know about before I read your article. So thanks again for an informative and current article. Sure I could have read one of several from 2014, but then I would have just ordered another ALFA.

    Reply
  8. msam

    hi everyone, please I’m new in hcking and interested to get more deeper into it. I have a laptop and I’ve installed ubuntu and parrot sec OS and they are all installed directly on the hard drive (not virtual box). which wireless adapter can I get to start using for hacking and pentesting? Thanks to your future replies .

    Reply
  9. Omega

    The Amazon link for the TL-Wn722n shipped with the wrong chipset! the V2 came with a Realtek Rt8188EU version, which does not work with Linux!

    Reply
  10. kron77

    im looking for an adapter that can boost txpower to 30 or more… any ideas? my old faithful TP Links 422n or something dont have big punch…

    Reply
  11. Rob

    The best two adapters I have seen that are compatible with Linux are actually available from Hardkernel and are built for the ODROID SBC. They run natively on DietPi and work well with WICD and WICD Curses.

    802.11n (2 streams) WiFi Module 4 for ODROID or other SBC

    Uses the MediaTek(Ralink) RT5572N chipset

    802.11ac (2 streams) WiFi Module 5

    Uses the Realtek RTL8812AU chipset (ID = 0bda:8812)

    Reply
  12. Scoots McGoots

    I am using the Alfa AWUSO51NH on Windows 10. It’s pretty bad. I had a lot of luck with the Alfa AWUS036NH but upgraded thinking that I should be looking at the N range and 5.0 band as well. It’s doesn’t work too well at least on the 2 laptops I’ve used. One sees it, but never sees any traffic. The other has issues connecting at all and constantly connects and drops. I wish I kept the 36NH model as it just worked flawlessly.

    Reply
  13. MR JONATHAN PAINTER

    I have mint 18 and run kali 2.0 in virtual box the websites zip file wont ipack the tl-wn822n doesnt work out the box on mint or kali even loading kali live via usb instead of virtualbox dosnt works on win 10 very frustated help please scrap or get drivers does this adapter even go into monitor mode and packet inject seen yes and no

    Reply
  14. Jake Perret

    I have the TL-WN822N I am having trouble installing the drivers into Kali Linux on Virtual Box. I think I am going to return it, does anyone have advice for a better wifi adapter for someone new to hacking?

    Reply
  15. amir

    Asus USB-AC56 Dual-Band Wireless-AC1300 USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter it s good ?

    Reply
  16. W01V3R1N3

    Once, inside the Konsole. Type in “iwconfig” to see the status of all the network interfaces of your Machine.
    In My Case, My Wireless Interface is “wlan0”. In your case, It can be any other or might just be wlan0. Remember, whatever your interface, replace my “wlan0” with whatever yours is.
    Now that you know the Interface, put it on monitoring mode. To do that, type this command:
    airmon-ng start wlan0
    Press ENTER and You will see that monitor mode for your Wireless Interface will be enabled now. In my case, the monitor mode is enabled at “mon0”. This will be your new Interface now not “wlan0”.
    Now that the monitor mode has been enabled, You can scan your area for any WEP Encrypted Wifi Networks. To do that we need to type the following command.
    airodump-ng –encrypt wep mon0
    What you will see Next will be A List of All the WEP Encrypted WIFI Networks around you.
    Hope this helps.-W01V3R1N3

    Reply
  17. Pat

    Hi all,
    i’m testing my Alfa AWUS036NH on Kali 2016 on virtualbox (usb 2.0 port)
    When i’m activating the monitoring mode and trying to scan for WIFI networks, it does not return any?
    Any ideas
    airmon-ng start wlan0 #Monitor mode
    airodump wlan0mon #Returns nothing?

    Reply
    1. markus

      I’ve hear that sometimes airmon-ng can incorrectly report the device has been put in monitor mode when it hasn’t. Have you tried manually putting the card in monitor mode? ( iwconfig wlan0 mode monitor )

      Reply
    2. Ben

      I’ve got the same problem.. it’s really frustrating!

      Hope anybody help us out..

      Reply
    3. Zii

      Um, you should have read the article thoroughly, it mentioned that network adapters used on a virtual box, if the host machine is windows, must be compatible with windows as well, though, I’m not entirely sure if that specific network adapter is compatible with the system. My best advice would be to use a live usb, or something of that nature.

      Reply
  18. Chesley

    Wn823n tp link mini wifi adapter troubles. I’ve tried this adapter several ways in installing without much success. I’ve used the wireless drivers from the official website v1 and v2 and couldn’t make this work. Compacts wireless and eventuully forced the realtek drivers to install but I cannot get monitor mode working . Also lsusb doesn’t recognize the device at all. Can I ask what distro you used , kernel and install method to use please ! Using vmware workstation 12 and kali 2016.v1 and v2. Tried older distro’s 1.6 . It eventually works connecting with the network manager but monitor mode doesn’t work and the airmon ng doesn’t recognise the driver . I’ve even modprobed the ko files. Everything short of rebuilding the kernel.

    Reply
  19. Pat

    Hi all,

    i own a Alfa AWUS036NH that use to work just fine out of the box in earlier version of backtrack and Kali.

    But it does not detect anything anymore on Kali 2016

    Setup:
    Virtualbox + Kali 2016 live CD
    Alfa AWUS036NH on USB 2.0

    Commands:
    airmong-ng start wlan0 #Monitor mode
    airodump wlan0mon #Scanning WIFI networks which returns an empty list????

    Any ideas, suggestions, fixes?

    Unless i’m doing something wrong as i am pretty green on PEN Testing i find quite frustrating to release new versions of Kali with a collection of new tools not even ensuring that it’s supporting the most popular USB Adapters….

    Reply
  20. Phoenix

    i am using ubuntu 16.04 LTS, will tp link’s adaptor work? (ufcource i want promiscous mode)

    Reply
  21. John

    why does the poll say that the TP-LINK TL-WN722N and Alfa AWUS036NH are more popular favorites when it seems that the Alfa AWUS051NH is a better choice?

    Reply
  22. marko

    Do any of this adapters work with kali linux 2016.2 release ? It uses 4.6 kernel. Are there any new adapters on the market from when this post was made ?

    Reply
  23. @Sully

    I recently purchased an X1 Carbon Thinkpad and the internal wireless adapter already has the capability to monitor. Would I greatly gain extra range by purchasing one of these adapters or am I just wasting money?

    Reply
  24. Mohammed

    Is Huwaie E261 wcdma 3g wireless network card usb modem adapter is compatiable with kali linux or not.
    Help me with your valuable suggestion .

    Reply
  25. AVINASH

    i have installed kali linux 2.0 . so which adapter is compatible for wireless pen testing for me.

    Reply
  26. Sam

    Excellent post, so usefull, Thank you !

    I plan to install BT5 or KL in a VM ( using VMWARE ) on my iMac retina 5k.

    Will the “Alfa AWUS036NHA” or the “Panda PAU05” be working even if it is not intended for a Mac ( no drivers available ) ?

    Thanks for your reply, all the best !
    Sam

    Reply
    1. Lupus0

      It has to be compatible with Mac! But do not install the driver on the mac!

      Reply
  27. Dennis

    i installed Kali linux on my laptop buh my network adapter does not support which one will be the recommended adapter and penetration?

    Reply
        1. Chesley

          Did you get this to work aksha? . I’ve tried this adapter several ways in installing without much success. I’be used the wireless drivers from the official website v1 and v2 and couldn’t make this work. Cimpacts wirelease and eventuully forced the realtek drivers to install but I cannot get monitor mode working . Also lsusb doesn’t recognize the device at all. Can I ask what distro you used , kernel and install method you used please ! Using vmware workstation 12 and kali 2016.v1 and v2. Tried older distro’s 1.6 . It eventually works connecting with the network manager but monitor mode doesn’t work and the airmon ng doesn’t recognise the driver

          Reply
      1. Chesley

        Hi Yogesh. I’ve tried this adapter several ways in installing without much success. I’be used the wireless drivers from the official website v1 and v2 and couldn’t make this work. Cimpacts wirelease and eventuully forced the realtek drivers to install but I cannot get monitor mode working . Also lsusb doesn’t recognize the device at all. Can I ask what distro you used , kernel and install method you used please ! Using vmware workstation 12 and kali 2016.v1 and v2. Tried older distro’s 1.6 . It eventually works connecting with the network manager but monitor mode doesn’t work and the airmon ng doesn’t recognise the driver

        Reply
      2. Aleks

        i am trying to use it now and can only capture ap broadcast packets in monitor mode, how did you set yours up?

        Reply
    1. Chesley

      Did you get yours to work. I’m using the same adapter mini wirless . I’ve tried this adapter several ways in installing without much success. I’be used the wireless drivers from the official website v1 and v2 and couldn’t make this work. Cimpacts wirelease and eventuully forced the realtek drivers to install but I cannot get monitor mode working . Also lsusb doesn’t recognize the device at all. Can I ask what distro you used , kernel and install method you used please ! Using vmware workstation 12 and kali 2016.v1 and v2. Tried older distro’s 1.6 . It eventually works connecting with the network manager but monitor mode doesn’t work and the airmon ng doesn’t recognise the driver

      Reply
  28. Emily

    Really confused about these picks. Upon clicking on the links to purchase the products on Amazon, in the customer reviews several pple have stated some of these adapters do NOT work with Kali Linux 2.0 or do NOT have the capability to perform packet injection. Not sure what to believe.

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      Just because a USB adapter can work with monitor mode doesn’t mean it will automatically work, many dont understand how it works and have problems. The adapters listed here have been tested and work with Kali. There have been situations were knock-offs have been sold claiming to be authentic when there not. Simply be sure to buy from a place you can return it if necessary.

      Reply
    2. zain ali

      i had a usb adapter that didn’t allow mac spoofing and rogue AP attack so can you please confirm that TP-link TL-WN823N will work on these spots and further can external antennae be attached to it?
      thanks

      Reply

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