Top Kali Linux Compatible USB Adapters / Dongles

By | January 15, 2017


To do wireless penetration testing with Kali Linux a compatible USB adapter / dongle is needed to be able to go into monitor mode, do packet injections, or be able to do the things necessary while wireless pen testing.
 
When looking for an adapter that works with Kali it is the chipset of the adapter that enables it to do pen testing.
 
It is the chipset of the adapter that controls whether it is compatible with Kali or not. Many of these chipsets are installed in different adapters and sold. So if you come across a name brand adapter that has a kali Linux compatible chipset and then see the same chipset in another generic USB adapter most likely it will work. I will list examples of this at the bottom of the page.
 
It is better to focus more on the chipset rather than the vendor model name.
 
Whatever you do don’t buy a wireless G only USB adapter. Wireless G is useless unless you are only targeting wireless G routers and devices. Wireless N is backward compatible so it can be used on wireless G or N. Most routers and devices now are setup with wireless N.
 
Another thing to keep in mind is the range the adapter will have. Small USB adapters are great for staying low profile but their range is limited compared to an adapter with a larger 5 dbi or 9 dbi antenna.
 
Here are the most common chipsets used with Kali Linux. Any USB adapter that uses these chipsets will most likely work with Kali.
 
Atheros AR9271
Ralink RT3070
Ralink RT3572
Realtek 8187L (Wireless G adapters)
 
 
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.
 
Here are the top Kali Linux compatible wireless USB adapters with links to Amazon and AliExpress if available.
 
Adapters that use the Ralink RT3070 Chipset
 
Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz…….AliExpress.com
 
Alfa AWUS036NEH 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
 
Panda PAU05 2.4 GHz…….Amazon
 
 
Adapters that use the Atheros AR9271 Chipset
 
Alfa AWUS036NHA…….Amazon
 
TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4 GHz……. (Version 1 only, Version 2 does not work)
 
Adapter that use the RT3572 chipset
 
Alfa AWUS051NH Dual Band 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz…….Amazon
 
 
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
 
Cheap long range adapter that works with Kali
Here is an example of a cheap long range adapter (48 dBi) that uses the Ralink 3070 chipset that works well with Kali. It does have problems with any version of Windows that is not Windows 7 and does not work with Macs. For adapters that have good support go with one of the above wireless N name-brand-adapters.
High Power SignalKing Signal King 48DBI…….AliExpress.com
 
 

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69 thoughts on “Top Kali Linux Compatible USB Adapters / Dongles

  1. Satya Prakash

    This post is new but no mention of Alfa AWUS036ACH. Is there any problem? I am new to this but want to buy something that last.

    Regards

    Reply
  2. Felipe

    I just purchased the Alfa AWAS036NHA based on your advise but there are no drivers for Kali linux!!!
    It comes with a disk and there are drivers for linux BUT none for this adapter…
    Do you know where I can find a working driver for Kalilinux running on a 64 bit machine?

    Reply
  3. Gentle John

    OH 3000mW High Power N9100 Wireless USB Wifi Adapter For Ralink 3070 Chipset can i use this adapter fot kali

    Reply
  4. DS

    TP-LINK TL WN722N is best for packets injection and fully compatible with Kali Linux in low cost.

    Reply
    1. jj

      not suppor to kali linux .
      even not in virtual box and not in boot install
      i talk about v2.0

      Reply
    2. Angelo Illiano

      You sir might be able to save me , I bought the same adapter you have and I can’t get it to work, people on Amazon say that is not compatible with the new kernel :/ I got it to go on monitor mode once but as of regular internet…I can’t do anything

      Reply
      1. Mik

        V2 as it seems.. cannot be put in monitor mode.. I bought it too. rtl8188eu driver is needed to work but still no support for monitor mode 🙁

        Reply
    3. CuZmNiki07

      I have bought the TL WN722N V2.
      The Adapter works in Windows 10.
      I tried Everything but I dont’t know how to connect the adapter in Kali Linux.
      I use Kali as Main Os nit in a virtual machine.

      Reply
  5. SH1V4M

    Hi

    I m a using Kali nethunter in my Yureka plus phone and Kali Linux via Linux deploy in same phone with cm 13 rom
    I also own a laptop in which is multiboot with Kali Linux and windows 7
    Both phone and laptop internal WiFi does not support monitor mode
    Can u suggest me a WiFi dongle or adapter which works fine with both phone’ net hunter and Kali Linux and on window 7
    Size and price doesn’t matter
    Actually I want WiFi for hacking and learning purpose
    And in phone it must be plug and play as u know drivers literary can not be installed.
    Thanx in advance

    Reply
    1. SmokeintheShell

      Any wireless adapter mentioned above will work with nethunter, assuming your device supports USB host mode, aka USB-OTG. I have personally used both the AWUS036NEH and the TL-WN722N cards on NH on my nexus 5, nexus 7, and galaxy s5 with no problems at all.
      If your device (kernel) supports OTG you’ll need to go ahead and buy an OTG cable from amazon or other sources

      Reply
  6. AL

    This is an informative site. Thanks for sharing. 🙂 ill try the Alfa router.

    Reply
  7. Review

    Hi.
    That cheap china long range adapter do work with kali but its useless! Compering to dongle TP-Link tl-wn721n.
    In Wifite with china crap never get a handshake because never show any clients! TP-link is much smaler range and always show if there are clients. So yes you can put a china crap in monitor mode and also do increase a range of your search but do not expect to crack any of the wifi paswords.

    Reply
  8. Sathyamoorthy R

    Hello,
    Based on your recommendation, I recently bought TP-LINK TL WN722N.
    I received yesterday from Amazon.
    It works fine as a Wifi Adapter in both Windows 10 and Kali.
    But, the major problem is with Kali’s Monitor.
    As soon as turn ON Monitor mode, Wifi connectivity goes dead.
    I can’t even surf Google.
    I tried with both VMware Kali and Kali as a OS.
    Both behave same.
    I really need your help.
    Because, I bought this specifically by your suggestion.

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      If you are in monitor mode it will shut down surfing the internet with any adapter.

      Reply
  9. Gourav

    TP-Link TL-WN725N 150Mbps Wireless N Nano USB Adapter (Black) can do packet injection and turn moniter mode on?

    Reply
    1. darkforce16

      hi this adapter doesn’t even support monitoring mode, yet alone injection. it uses the driver rtl8288eu

      Reply
  10. Robo

    Hi i want buy some Alfa-AWUS036NHA adapter but i found some this adapter are 500mw,1000mw or 2000mw. Which should i buy? Or isnt some fake?

    Reply
  11. john hardy

    hi
    can wireless adapter (tp link 722n) packet injection in kali linux?
    in version (2 , 2016)
    thank you

    Reply
  12. Nick

    Hello everyone. I need your advice.
    I am quite new in Network security and i want to test mine.
    I a using Kali GNU/Linux Rolling 32 bits (old machine in 32 Bits). I want to try to go into monitor mode, do packet injections, or be able to do the things necessary while wireless pen testing. I would like to try to break my WPS PIN in order to get my WPA key. And if I succeed, i will look to increase the security of my network.

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    1. OwNtHeWiRe

      Just disable the WPS pin option on your router and your vulnerability footprint has decreased dramatically!

      Reply
  13. rahit kumar

    HI please tell if this Netgear WNA1100 will work on kali and i will be able to do handshakes?

    Reply
  14. assassin

    i’m new with kali
    and i was wondering if i have to get alpha device or not ? knowing i have laptop which has a wireless 🙂
    i rly hope someone help me

    Reply
  15. Nipun

    Please tell which adapter should i use for kali linux in vm ware player? I have win 8.1 in my laptop.

    Reply
  16. Akhil

    Is TP-Link’s TL-WN823N comparitable for using aircrack-ng in raspberry pi 2??

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      Technically yes, although aircrack-ng and the raspberry pi have problems and constantly crash.

      Reply
  17. John

    Unlike what you wrote and base on following link, AWUS051NH is NOT compatible. AWUS050NH is fine but not 051nh. Although i read one single positive review on 51nh. I confused!

    http://www.aircrack-ng.org/doku.php?id=compatibility_drivers&DokuWiki=mu18sdqh6i7po7c38k2rsa70d0#compatibility

    Can you explain me what’s going on ?

    I’m looking for some adapter for my desktop which support 802.11ac (5 GHZ), works on windows 7 and kail, Is there anything out there? I couldn’t find it!

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      The AWUS051NH is compatible with Kali I use one. Alfa changed the chipset so this caused the confusion if it works or not with Kali.

      I’ve been looking awhile for a Kali 802.11ac adapter that can go into monitor mode and still haven’t found one. If you find one that works let me know.

      Reply
      1. Frankie

        HI ,

        what version kali are you using with above :AWUS051NH?
        i have recently purchased the same and tried installing it on ubuntu & kali both kernel 4.x and neither are able to recognize the card.
        are you using the latest version kali with success ?
        if so please advise which drivers you used for the card.

        i installed the RT2800 driver , but packet injection fails,allthough i can go into monitor mode somewhat the adapter hangs and the xmon interface drops constantly .

        any helpful response would be appreciated.

        //Frankie

        Reply
  18. anon

    Hi great article thanks.

    I bought the alfa awus036nha and it works great with kali 2.0.

    I am trying to get it to work on my Mac book Pro running OS X El Capitan but can’t find a driver for the ‘nah’ model. Tried the ‘nh’ model driver from alpha but no joy 🙁 Anybody managed to get this to work with a mac?

    Reply
    1. jonny

      Amazon clearly says that it’s not compatible with Mac OS X so why did you buy it ?

      Reply
  19. Anon

    Hi guys I’m pretty new to this & just picked up a Alfa awus051nh v2 . I’ve installed the drivers on my Mac which is running the latest Os. But I can’t seem to get the adaptor running on the base machine.. Soon as I turn on Kali which is running in a Vm it detects the adaptor. …. Which is baffling & but also very temperamental, as you keep having to restart Kali every once in a while’ as it stops working.
    Any ideas how I could remedy this or would you suggest a different adaptor. Thanks

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      It is possible you got a bad adapter but Kali 2.0 and the new aircrack-ng 1.2 has been doing some strange things.

      I got weird errors when using Windows 10 and Kali 2.0 with aircrack 1.2. I found a fix to the errors which I posted about here http://www.wirelesshack.org/kali-linux-2-0-compatible-usb-adapter-test.html

      I have no problems running from the DVD or using Kali 1.0 and aircrack 1.2. Since you are using a Mac I wonder if you are running into your own problems. You can try Kali 1.0 or even Backtrack 5 to see if it clears up. If not than I would return the adapter.

      Reply
      1. anon

        hi thanks for the reply
        i’m not sure if its the adaptor or its just the drivers aren’t compatible with the latest Mac os, when i searched alfa/ralink for the drivers “just incase the supplied ones were behind” i couldn’t find the V2 version of the awus051nh V2..only the awus051nh which are the ones supplied with the adaptor…

        although when i connect the adaptor to my Mac it doesn’t even detect the adaptor ?
        is that a sign of it not being compatible ?

        when i connected it to an old windows laptop i use for some diagnostic programs running windows xp pro’ it detected it right away & connected to my network no trouble at all.
        i think the biggest problem is i can’t install the wireless utility that came with the adaptor..i’ll get a ralink symbol in the task bar and another in launchpad but neither work they send me back to the home screen very annoying ..but i’ll take a look at the link you’ve posted and see where to go from there ….thanks

        Reply
  20. anon1911

    I use dlink DWA-125 (the black one with orange light) because it was the only one that i found i Brazil stores, and it works wonders. Thx for indian community that showed it to me.

    Reply
    1. invictus

      hi , i m startring to use with kali linux 2.0 on vmware worstation pro 12 (its crack one ) but im using the same dlink is not stable somtimes the network disappear , can u help

      Reply
    2. Michael

      Hi there i have the same device you have but the thing i cant seem to make it work. Any advise. Frostrated. Pls help.

      Dwa125 dlink

      Thanks in advance

      Reply
  21. Pedro

    Bought it. works as expected. I am getting 4 way handshakes. Thank you for the help!

    Reply
  22. Pedro

    Hi, I am planning to buy this adapter.
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALFA-Network-AWUS051NH-V2-Version-2-2-4-5GHz-Dual-Band-USB-WiFi-/381174149825?hash=item58bfbff2c1:g:yOoAAOSwZjJU8NYs

    It says Supported Wireless Protocols: Wi-Fi 802.11a, Wi-Fi 802.11b, Wi-Fi 802.11g, Wi-Fi 802.11n
    do you think it would work with latest kali version?
    I am very new to kali and those all hacking features. last adapter I had did not want to go to airmon0 mode.. I spent around a day figuring out why it is NOT doing what I want, tried downloading various drivers. as it turned out it was not compatible with kali.. so what do you think, this one would work with latest kali? I have kali installed into external hard drive, so it runs on its own without any virtual operating systems.

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      The ALFA Network AWUS051NH is a good USB adapter to use with Kali and Pen Testing. I cant vouch for the eBay seller but the adapter itself is a known good adapter.

      Reply
  23. H4ck

    Hi,

    I am new to wireless hacking. I have done only one successful WPS attack in the dedicated Kali Linux.
    I am willing to know more about the wireless hacking.

    I am currently having Mac OS X with KaliLinux in the VMplayer.

    My Question:
    1. Which is the best wireless adapter is good for hacking + learning new?
    2. Which good for Mac?
    3. Wifi adapter 802.11a/b/g/n is the best or 802.11b/g/n is better. Which one should I choose ? Link: http://www.alfa.com.tw/product_category.php?pc=3

    Final question:
    Which one should I select Alfa AWUS051NH or Alfa AWUS036NH or Alfa AWUS036NHA?

    Thanks in Advance 🙂

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      1…It depends on the person and their setup as to the best adapter for Kali. For example someone may need more range than another and want a bigger dBi antenna. Price may be a factor and getting the cheapest to test with may be best option. All the above adapters work with Kali so it comes down to personal choices.

      2…As long as a adapter has the drivers to work with a Mac their should be no issues. Reading the reviews on Amazon or the forums may be the best for this question as I dont use Macs much.

      3…Wireless-N is backward compatible with 802.11ab so it is best to go with a Wireless-N USB adapter.

      The Alfa AWUS051NH, AWUS036NH,AWUS036NHA all work with Kali and Pen testing but some do have features that may be more important. Such as the Alfa AWUS051NH which is a dual band adapter that works in the new 5Ghz range and the old 2.4 GHz range. They are all good adapters to use with Kali so it comes down to personal choice.

      Reply
  24. Pedro

    Hello, this topic sounds very interesting. But I am a little confused, which dongle should I purchase to know for sure that it will be compatible with Kali Linux? There is a list of chip sets somewhere to check maybe?

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      All the adapters above are known to work with Kali. It comes down to how you will be running Kali. For example if you are using Windows 7 and VMware than it will have to be compatible with Windows 7. Also range and price is always a factor. Reading the reviews on Amazon and in the forums will give you the best option for which one to get.

      Reply
  25. Abdullah

    Hey. Whenever I do airodump-ng wlan0, I don’t see any information(BSSID,Beacons etc.). I’m using Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz. What is the problem ?

    Reply
  26. dardano

    Is this wifi adapter works with Kali for Wifi pen testing ?

    USB Wifi adapter TP-LINK
    Model TL-WN725N

    Thanks

    Reply
  27. jaydeep

    I purchased tp-link TL-WN722n V1 and it works great with my kali linux 1.1 no need to add additional drivers, its just plug and play. I am using desktop computer with basic configuration.

    Reply
    1. Omega

      I purchased the TL-Wn722N V2 EU from the amazon link in Germany and it shipped with the wrong chipset!! I got the Realtek rt8188Eus instead, which does not have mon mode or packet injection and will not work with any linux distros!!

      Reply
  28. The cyber knight

    Is there any 4g dongles compatible with kali Linux .
    If there , which sim is best for it

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      RTL-SDR tuner stick dongles can pickup many 4G signals with Kali Linux. The signals can be analyzed especially LTE AND GSM but It is all encrypted. The setup to do this is very technical although cheap, RTL-SDR dongles cost less than $25 dollars. Here is one of the newest http://amzn.to/1EIxQBo

      Reply
  29. Oussama

    Hey,
    Thanks for the nice overview.
    I have one question though the aliexpress link you provided of the alfa awus036nh is that a genuine adapter or a fake one? Because I’ve seen a lot of people getting fake ones on the Internet.
    Thanks for your response in advance

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      Since this site get hits from all over the world, and many countries dont use Amazon but AliExpress I put a link for them. Countries such as Russia and Brazil use AliExpress the way the USA uses Amazon.

      I cant vouch for the adapter being genuine from wherever they are sold Amazon/AliExpress/eBay. The comment section on Amazon has some people claiming they are counterfeit from some sellers.

      Wherever an adapter is bought be sure of the return policy in-case it is a knock-off since they have run rampant in the past.

      Reply
    2. Ryan

      I just bought one from amazon and it’s what it is suppose to be. Just make sure it is sold by “alfa”.

      Reply
  30. resirup

    I was looking through many different types of USB wifi adapters for Kali and in my experience Alfa AWUS036NHA USB seems to be the best one so far, so I highly recommend it – when breaking WPS PIN, I managed to get speed 1 pin/2secs.

    Reply
  31. Peter

    Many thanks for this interesting overview. Can it be that thes adapters may work with kali-linux, however do not work with virtual-box or wmware. I made this experience with eg. the AWUSO36NH. Is there a comptability problem or did I make something wrong. The adpater worked on the host win8.1 but not in a virtual box! Whenever I connected the adapter to the virtual box it stopped working.
    Thank you for your comment.
    P.S. I tried to install the respective Alfa Drivers also on Kali-Linux, however without success! Could you recomend any wifi-usb adapters that work in virtual-box or vmware on a win 8.1 host?

    Reply
    1. WirelessHack

      I mainly use Kali Linux/VMware Player with Windows 7 Pro 64 bit and have never had any major issues yet. Running any Operating System virtually inside another Operating System is always prone to errors since the the virtual software (VMware, Virtual Box) is what is controlling how it talks to the hardware via Windows/Mac drivers.

      Running Kali as a dedicated install or from a live DVD/flash drive will get rid of these problems.

      It has been years since I have had to install drivers into Kali itself for any of the popular USB dongles that are currently used. With the exception of the Alfa AWUS051NH Dual Band USB adapter which Alfa changed the chipset on.

      Reply
      1. KenF

        I purchased the Alfa AWUS051NH adapter based on recommendations that it works in Kali. I am running on the MAC as the host and the Kali is a VMWare VM; it gives me nothing but grief. Since its USB i’ve passed it from the mac to the kali VM and it just wont see it. The install script blows a smoking hole when I run it. which is why I am guessing its not working correctly in Kali…. Any ideas?

        Reply
    2. th3t1ck

      I have the Alfa awus051nh and TPLink on an ESXi 5.5 server using passthrough. Both adapters are plugged into a USB hub which in turn is plugged into my Asus Esxi Server.

      Reply
    3. mazooni

      I’ve had trouble with network adapters in kali vmware. I use to have a dlink usb adapter that would work in vm but now I ditched vm and I just boot up on usb and it works fine. Idk why vmware started having issues with newer kali.

      Reply

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