Kali Linux and Wireless Penetration Testing is one of the top things Kali is used for.
Anyone who has ever tried to test the security of their own router and hack the password has no doubt heard of Kali Linux.
There are numerous attacks from Reaver to using a dictionary attack on a data capture.
Whatever attack is used the one thing everyone will have to do first is find a compatible USB adapter that works with Kali.
The reason for this is standard adapter simply cannot do the things Pen Testing requires such as kicking a connection with the DEAUTH command.
A Kali Linux Pen Testing USB adapter must be capable of Packet Injection and Monitor Mode.
What makes a adapter Kali Linux compatible?
Two things are needed with a adapter to make it Pen Testing capable.
The chipset is what controls a adapter while the software/drivers that are written for it make it Pen Testing capable.
There are many chipsets that could have been able to Pen Test but the developers never wrote software/driver to give it the ability.
This is one of the reasons Alpha adapters are so popular since it is one of their selling points.
An example of this is the Galaxy S1 and S2 phones both have a chipset that allows for Pen Testing but drivers were never written for them by Samsung to take advantage of it.
There are third party developers such as BCMON that will load drivers into a rooted Galaxy S1/S2 that will allow the chipset to Pen Test.
There are known chipsets that work with Kali or Backtrack that have both a capable driver and chipset.
Here are the most common chipsets used with Kali.
Realtek 8187L (Wireless G adapters)
One last thing to mention is that manufactures sometimes change the chipset in adapters, although rare it does happen occasionally and something to keep a look out for.
This list could be debatable for a number of reasons. For example one user may need distance while another stealth.
Top 5 Kali Linux War Driving USB Adapters
Alfa AWUS051NH 500mW High Gain 802.11a/b/g/n high power Wireless USB A / B / G / N Wireless WiFi Network adapter With a 5dBi and 9dBi Rubber Antenna and Suction cup / Clip Window Mount – High speed Up to 300 Mbps – With Hot Swap Support
The Alfa AWUS051NH has been out for some time and uses the RT3572 chipset, although Alfa has changed the chipset from its original release which has caused some confusion.
I did a review on this adapter and Kali which can be read HERE.
One of the things that make the Alfa AWUS051NH stand out is it is a dual band adapter which can work in the 2.4 GHz range and the new 5 GHz range.
There currently is a lack of adapters that can do wireless Pen Testing in the 5 GHz range.
It does not support the new 802.11ac protocol and is a 802.11n adapter.
Even though it lacks 802.11ac ability the fact that it can work in the 5.Ghz range makes it stand out. If a router is using 802.11ac and no wireless N devices are connected to it than it will not work.
Alfa AWUSO36NH High Gain USB Wireless G / N Long-Rang WiFi Network Adapter
The Alfa AWUSO36NH is a 2.4 GHz wireless N adapter that uses the Ralink RT3070 Chipset.
It is a very good long range Kali Linux adapter that can be fitted with different size antennas to get even more distance.
It also has the added feature of working with a Raspberry Pi.
Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter – Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10, Mint, Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, CentOS, Lubuntu, Zorin, Kali Linux and Raspbian Wheezy
The Panda PAU05 is a 2.4 GHz wireless N adapter that uses the Ralink RT3070 Chipset.
The Panda PAU05 stands out because of its size.
It uses the same chipset as the Alfa AWUSO36NH but is small. This gives it good stealth sacrificing distance for the ability to stay low profile.
Nothing stands out more for someone hacking wifi signals than a large antenna sticking out the top of a laptop. For this reason the Panda PAU05 makes the list.
TP-Link N150 Wireless High Gain USB Adapter (TL-WN722N)
The TP-LINK TL-WN722N uses the Atheros AR9271 Chipset and is a wireless N adapter.
Although it has used the Atheros AR9271 chipset in the past there has been some changes recently that it may or may not use the same chipset.
So while this have been a good Kali adapter be sure it uses the Atheros AR9271 chipset if bought.
Alfa AWUS036NHA Wireless B/G/N USB Adaptor – 802.11n – 150 Mbps – 2.4 GHz – 5 dBi Antenna – Long Range – Atheros Chipset – Windows XP/Vista 64-Bit/128-Bit Windows 7 Compatible
The Alfa AWUS036NHA is another good adapter for wireless Pen Testing. It uses the Atheros AR9271 chipset and is a wireless N adapter.
It is easily setup for long range by changing out the antenna used.
Its stability when Pen Testing and long range ability make it one of the favorite adapters for Pen Testers.
Any of the above adapters will work with Kali Linux or Backtrack. Multiple adapters are often used when testing wireless security.
There are many factors to consider when buying a adapter. Such as budget, distance, Dual band and so on.
For these reasons reading reviews on Amazon, checking prices, and possible version updates that change the chipset is the best way to make the best possible buy.