Best USB WiFi Adapters for Linux in 2022


This post may contain affiliate links/ads and I may earn a small commission when you click on the links/ads at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full disclaimer here.

Be it a USB Bluetooth adapter or USB WiFi adapter for Linux. Finding external hardware devices compatible with Linux is not an easy task.

Since most manufacturers do not support Linux out-of-the-box. You may often run into driver problems or other compatibility issues.

But don’t worry, this post contains the list of Best USB WiFi adapters for Linux distros. The latest version of the Linux kernel has inbuilt support for the chipsets of these devices.

Update: I have dropped USB WiFi Adapters with Realtek chipset from this list and added MediaTek chipset adapters. Many newer versions of Linux (v4.19 or later) have MediaTek chipset drivers built in. So, you can just plug and play these devices. If you’re using an old version of Linux or if these devices are not working out-of-the-box, then you need to compile the drivers manually. You can download the files from the MediaTek website.

Dropped USB adapters for Linux with Realtek chipset are:

TP-Link N150 USB Wifi Adapter

Cudy WU1300S AC1300

BrosTrend 1200Mbps USB WiFi Adapter

These adapters still work with the many versions of Linux by manually installing the Realtek drivers.

Here’s the updated list of the best USB WiFi Adapters for Linux in 2022:

USB WiFi AdaptersLink to Product
Alfa AWUS036ACM USB WiFi AdapterSee details at Amazon
Panda Wireless PAU09 N600See details at Amazon
Netgear A6210 USB WiFi AdapterSee details at Amazon
Linksys AE6000 Wireless Mini USB AdapterSee details at Amazon
Panda Wireless PAU06See details at Amazon

Before Proceeding:

I want you to consider the following things before proceeding with this post:

1. There are many Linux based distros available out there. The WiFi adapters mentioned in this post may not work with every Linux distro.

2. On some distros you may have to install the drivers manually to make the WiFi adapter work properly.

Check the official site of these USB WiFi adapters or contact the manufacturer for detailed information.

3. If you want an internal WiFi card then check my list of Best PCIe WiFi cards for Linux.

4. The Wifi Adapters mentioned in this list are mostly for general usage. If you want WiFi adapters for penetration testing with Kali Linux, then head over to my other post:

Best USB Wifi Adapters for Kali Linux. 

Now, let’s look at the best USB adapters available for Linux.

5 Best USB WiFi Adapters for Linux

1. Alfa AWUS036ACM USB WiFi Adapter

Alfa wifi adapter for linux
Source: www.alfa.com.tw

The first one on this list is Alfa AWUS036ACM. It is a dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) USB WiFi adapter for Linux powered with MediaTek MT7612U chipset.

Alfa AWUS036ACM works out of the box with major Linux distros like Kali Linux, Ubuntu, Manjaro, Linux Mint etc. without any problems. It is an AC1200 USB adapter therefore, it is compatible with 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n wireless standards.

Apart from using it for general use (like streaming or browsing), you can also use it for WiFi penetration testing. It supports both monitor mode and packet injection.

Moreover, Alfa AWUS036ACM adapter is also compatible with Raspberry Pi. As for portability, you can easily detach the two external antennas while on the move.

If you’re looking for a plug-and-play USB adapter for Linux that you can use for both normal use and pentesing purposes, then look no further this adapter is simply the best choice.

Features:

  • MediaTek MT7612U Chipset.
  • Supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency.
  • Compatible with 64/128 bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK and WPS wireless security.
  • Supports 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n wireless standards.
  • USB 3.0 Compatible.
  • Detachable 5dBi dipole antenna.
  • Can use for WiFi Penetration Testing.
  • Compatible with Raspberry Pi.

Shop now at Amazon

2. Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 USB WiFi Adapter

Panda wifi adapter for linux
Source: www.pandawireless.com

Panda Wireless PAU09 is a dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) wifi adapter. It’s is bundled with Ralink chipset and works out-of-the-box with many Linux distros including Linux Mint and Kali Linux.

This adapter is also popular in the Linux community for penetration testing with Kali Linux. It supports both monitor mode and packet injection which is useful when pentesting WiFi Networks.

Panda PAU09 is compatible with USB 3.0. It comes with a USB stand and dual 5dBi detachable antennas. This adapter is large, but it doesn’t consume much power. Therefore, you can use this device without worry on laptops and Raspberry Pi.

This device is not cheap as compared to other USB WiFi adapters for Linux on this list. However, if you need a WiFi adapter for both general usage and security testing, then this adapter will be worth your investment.

Features

  • Ralink RT5572 Chipset
  • Dual-Band (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) support
  • Supports 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n wireless standards
  • 2 x 5dBi antennas
  • Compatible with WEP 64/128bit, WPA, WPA2 wireless security
  • Low power consumption
  • Can use for WiFi Penetration Testing.

Shop now at Amazon

3. Netgear A6210 USB WiFi Adapter

Netgear wifi adapter for linux
Source: www.netgear.com

Netgear A6210 is a dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) AC1200 USB WiFi adapter. It allows a transmission speed of up to 300 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 867 Mbps on the 5 GHz band.

Being an AC1200 USB adapter, it supports 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n wireless standards. You can get the best performance from Netgear A6210 by plugging it into a USB 3.0 port.

You can simply plug-and-play this USB adapter on the latest versions of major Linux distros like Ubuntu, Linux Mint etc. without any problems.

Although Netgear officially doesn’t provide any support for Linux, you can find all the necessary files to compile the driver yourself on the MediaTek website in case the adapter is not working out-of-the-box on your particular Linux distro.

It ships with a USB cradle that allows you to put the USB adapter at a convenient place to get the best signal reception.

Features:

  • Mediatek MT7612U chipset
  • Supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency.
  • Supports 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n wireless standards.
  • USB 3.0 Compatible.
  • Desktop Dock for flexible placement.

Shop now at Amazon

4. Linksys AE6000 Wireless Mini USB Adapter

Linksys wifi adapter for linux
Source: www.linksys.com

Linksys AE6000 is a small size USB adapter that works on the 2.4 GHz or 5Ghz frequency band. It is an AC580 device, so you can get a maximum transmission speed of up to 430 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and up to 150 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.

It is bundled with MediaTek MT7610U chipset and works out of the box with the latest Linux distros like Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20 and is also compatible with Raspberry Pi.

Linksys AE6000 has a mini design that makes it very portable compared to some large USB WiFi adapters for Linux on this list. If you want a portable adapter for general use on Linux, then this adapter will be a great choice.

Features:

  • MediaTek MT7610U chipset.
  • Supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency.
  • Supports 802.11 a/ac/b/g/n wireless standards.
  • Compatible with WEP, WPA & WPA2 Personal/Enterprise, WPS wireless security standards.
  • Mini design for easy portability.

Shop now at Amazon

5. Panda Wireless PAU06 USB WiFi Adapter

Panda PAU06
Source: www.pandawireless.com

The last on this list is the Panda PAU06 WiFi adapter which is bundled with a Ralink chipset.

It has one external high-gain antenna that allows a maximum speed of 300Mbps. This WiFi adapter works out-of-the-box with some popular Linux distros like Ubuntu, Mint, Kali Linux and Raspbian.

Just like the other panda WiFi adapter for Linux mentioned in this list, this adapter also supports monitor mode and packet injection for WiFi pentesting.

It consumes less power even than the previously mentioned PAU09 model. Therefore, you can use this WiFi adapter without worry on laptops and Raspberry Pi.

The only downside of this adapter is, it only supports 2.4 GHz frequency and doesn’t work with 5 GHz frequency.

Features

  • Ralink RT5372 chipset
  • Supports only 2.4 GHz Frequency
  • Compatible with 802.11g or 802.11n router using 2.4GHz frequency
  • Supports 64/128bit WEP, WPA and WPA2 (TKIP+AES) wireless security
  • Low power consumption
  • Can use for WiFi Penetration Testing.

Shop now at Amazon

Conclusion

This concludes the list of Best USB WiFi adapters for Linux. I hope this list has helped you choose a suitable USB WiFi adapter for your Linux distro.

Most of these USB WiFi adapters should work out-of-the-box with your Linux distro, but if it doesn’t, then you may need to install the drivers manually.

If you like this post, then follow Techsphinx on Facebook and Twitter for more tricks, tips and tutorials.

This article needs update or correction? Report the issue here so I can update it.


Like it? Share with your friends!

Rahul R Nair

Rahul is obsessed with technology and programming. He is also the founder of TechSphinx. Being a technophile, he is always busy doing some techy stuff or learning about the latest technologies. When not busy with his usual routine (staring at the computer screen) he likes to write and share his knowledge with the world.
10 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments