WiFi Hacking is arguably the most common way how people get interested in Hacking for the first time. In this article, I will tell you which WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux is the Best WiFi Adapter for Hacking.
Once you start doing some research on which Kali Linux Wireless Adapter to choose or which adapter is the Best Wireless Network Adapter for WiFi Hacking, it can become complicated really soon as you start hearing terms like “Monitor Mode”, “Compatible Chipsets”, “Packet Injection” and other confusing things. I wrote this article to clear this up for you.
I have owned most of the listed WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux in this article and talk from personal experience, most of it from professional assignments and tinkering around with them. I will tell you exactly which adapter I think is the Best WiFi Adapter for Hacking, and also I will show you the Best Adapter for Kali Linux specifically.
I will tell you exactly what’s essential when making your choice of buying The Best Wireless Network Adapter for WiFi Hacking.
Table of Contents
- WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux – What to look for?
- The Best WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux
- Which WiFi Adapter is Best for Kali Linux?
WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux – What to look for?
To be able to Hack WiFi, you need a WiFi adapter that is able to support monitor mode as well as packet injection. Finding out which adapters are capable of doing this can be a bit of a frustrating endeavor, as there are so many out there.
Now, it is not always necessary to buy a new adapter, as some laptops come shipped with compatible chipsets. The problem is, however, that you can’t use your laptop’s internal WiFi adapter for your Virtual Machines. So, if you run Kali Linux inside of a VM on your laptop, that won’t help you, and that is the reason why you need an external WiFi adapter for Kali Linux.
So what are some of the criteria for determining the Best WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux? A couple of things:
- Supported WiFi Protocols
Bear in mind that some of the listed adapters below are EOL (End of Life) and can be hard to get. This also depends a bit on the country, so checking different countries’ Amazon sites or eBay might be worthwhile. I have seen older adapters getting re-listed on Amazon regularly from third-party sellers, so I provided you guys with all the Amazon links to get straight to your adapter and check the availability.
For your convenience, I have listed all of the adapters that I have found on Amazon in our Ceos3c Amazon Store.
I also recently asked you guys on Twitter what your favorite WiFi Adapter for Hacking is, and this was the result:
Keep in mind that Twitter polls only allow a certain number of options, so all of those options are actually on the 802.11N protocol, not including the newer adapters that support the newer 802.11AC protocol.
WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux – Compatible Chipsets
For the longest time, the gold standard for WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux chipsets was Realtek, Ralink, and Atheros. In recent months and years, ALFA has started working with MediaTek, which manufactures the MT76XXU chipset lineup, which is fully supported by Kali Linux, so there is a new player in the game for Kali Wireless Adapter.
Some of the supported chipsets that qualify as WiFi adapter for Kali Linux are:
- Realtek RTL8812AU
- Realtek 8187L
- Ralink RT5370N
- Ralink RT3572
- Ralink RT5572
- Ralink RT3070
- Ralink RT307
- Atheros AR9271
If this just sounds like gibberish to you right now, don’t worry. We’ll clear that up.
The Best WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux
Let me give you a convenient overview of the Best WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux. As you can see, the market is pretty much dominated by ALFA Networks. ALFA has established itself as the go-to option when it comes to WiFi Adapters for Hacking over the past couple of years, which I am happy to see because they do deliver solid and durable products, which becomes especially important when we talk about hacking WiFi networks on the go (for professional reasons only).
You can just click on any Adapter Name in the left column to directly get to the review of the adapter.
|Where to buy
|TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4GHz (V1)
|2.4GHz / 5GHz
|2.4GHz / 5GHz
|2.4GHz / 5GHz
|2.4GHz / 5GHz
|2.4GHz / 5GHz
|2.4GHz / 5GHz
|2.4GHz / 5GHz
|2.4GHz / 5GHz
All Adapters can also be found in the Ceos3c Amazon Store (amongst many other Hacking Goodies!) for your convenience!
ALFA AWUS036NEH Long Range
I recently picked up the ALFA AWUS036NEH because of its small form factor. It fully supports monitor mode and is able to do packet injection. If you are looking for something portable, this is a good choice. It also has an awesome range for its small size and delivers speeds up to 150Mbps. It is also said this adapter is very capable of penetrating all kinds of wall materials.
The only downside is that it only supports 2.4GHz.
TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4GHz (V1)
The TP-LINK TL-WN722N is a great little adapter when it comes to WiFi Hacking. Unfortunately, only V1 is capable of running monitor mode, and it’s very hard to get. There are many scammers out there labeling the V2 and V3 as V1 because they know this has been a Hacker’s favorite for a long time.
The only chance to get a legit V1 is probably through eBay. I have seen legit V1 appearing on Amazon at times, but always make sure to check the reviews if it’s really V1, people will point that out. My research proves only 3 chipsets that are compatible with V1 of the TP-LINK TL-WN722N wireless network adapter, which are:
- ATHEROS AR9271
- RALINK RT3070
- RALINK RT3572
Apparently, the adapter is well supported by a number of Linux OS, and there is no big need to install drivers when using it on Kali. To sniff packets, use the Aircrack-ng suite, and do not forget to maintain the adapter in monitor mode. A sure way to learn about the compatible chipsets in use by your TP-LINK TL-WN722N adapter is by running the
airmon-ng command. Note that it will also display the driver’s details.
So far, ALFA remains the best in providing USB Wifi Adapters for WiFi pentesting. With a speed of 150mbps and a frequency of 2.4GHz, ALFA AWUSO36NH is an IEEE802.11b/g/n adapter, which integrates well with other IEEE802.11b/g wireless devices but at a relatively lower speed of 50mbps.
You can opt to configure your ALFA AWUSO36NH wireless adapter in either of the two provided modes, which is the infrastructure mode (connecting to wireless AP/ router) or the ad-hoc mode (connecting to 2.4GHz wireless computers).
This adapter employs the use of a Ralink RT3070 chipset, and due to its plug-and-play functionality, it is effective on Kali Linux. Often, ALFA AWUSO36NH ships in with 5DBi and 7dbi Omni direction and panel antennas, respectively. Another stunning feature of this adapter is the 64/128-bit encryption level for wireless data (WEP, WPA, AES, TKIP, and WPA 2). It’s a neat adapter when it comes to WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux, but it can be hard to get as it is EOL.
The ALFA AWUSO36NHA is another wireless USB adapter that comes along with the popular Atheros AR9271 chipset. Usually, it is compatible with several brands of routers, including 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n at a frequency wavelength of 2.4GHz.
Just like the preceding adapter (ALFA AWUSO36NH), it also supports the WPA, WPA 2, TKIP, AES, and WEP security protocols. Yes, the ALFA AWUSO36NHA USB adapter also has a somewhat screw-on upgradable 5dbi antenna that can be replaced with 9dbi. It supports a speed of up to 150Mbps on 802.11n.
Now, sneaking the list to look at PANDA PAU09 reveals that the adapter is a dual-band one with two frequency wavelengths of 2.4GHz and 5GHz as well as respective dual antennas of 5dbi. Often, the maximum wireless connection speed of the adapter wavers at 300mbps for both frequencies.
What is more interesting about PANDA PAUO9 is that it works efficiently with 802.11 ac/b/g/n routers. Have a look at its picture to have a physical capture of the adapter.
All along, the ALFA adapters served their purpose well but the newly supported long-range ALFA AWUSo36ACH 802.11 beats a lot of them when it comes to speed with two frequencies of 2.4GHz at 300Mbps and 5GHz at 867mbps and, of course, not forgetting about the dual antennas of this network adapter with the two RP-SMA ports.
Packet injection in Kali Linux was announced in April 2017. To attain the maximum connection of 867 Mbps, you will probably require a 3.0 USB port. Nevertheless, the backward compatibility in 2.0 USB ports is still enabled but limited to 480Mbps.
Many hackers who have been into WiFi Hacking for a long time know and love this adapter. The AWUS036H is a true classic and well-sought-after WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux that is hard to get nowadays due to its EOL status. This adapter was also my first adapter, and in fact, I still use it on some assignments when I see fit. It rocks the good old Realtek RTL8187L chipset that has proven to be very reliable. The standards are outdated as it only supports 802.11b and g with USB 2.0 support.
On the contrary, this adapter has been traveling around the world with me, it has been battle-tested, and it still does its job. A very sturdy little companion that I still trust and take with me occasionally.
Also, the speeds compared to newer models that support up to 1900Mbps, like the AWUS1900 above, are not up to modern standards. You’ll look at 11Mbps in 802.11b and 54Mbps in 802.11g. It occasionally becomes available on Amazon, but your best bet is probably eBay or third-party vendors who still offer this adapter for sale.
The AWUS036ACHM is one of the first Kali Linux Wireless Adapters that ships with the MediaTek MT7610U chipset. I have no personal experience with this adapter as it is fairly new, but I have heard reports of people saying it is a capable adapter for WiFi hacking and it also is listed in ALFA’s list of supported Network Adapters for Kali Linux (Scroll down on their front page to find it).
I am definitely going to pick one of those up in the near future and test it thoroughly. On paper, it looks great! It supports speeds of up to 433 Mbps on 802.11ac and ships with a handy screen clip set, so you can clip it to a window for your weekend War Driving.
The AWUS036ACM is the second adapter that ALFA released with the MediaTek MT7612U as its driver. This chipset is the updated version of the one that was built into the AWUS036ACHM and therefore comes with better performance. Not only has this adapter have a small form factor, but it also comes with a dual-antenna setup, and you can directly plug it into your laptop. It supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and it rocks not one but two 5dBi dipole antennas.
This allows speeds of up to blazing-fast 867Mbps in 802.11ac and still up to 300Mbps on 802.11n. That is pretty impressive, considering how small it is. This goes to show how capable MediaTek’s chipsets are. The AWUS036ACM is a newer adapter that I haven’t personally tested, but my research shows that it does work very well as a WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux and it is also officially listed in ALFA’s list for supported Kali Linux Wireless Adapters. This adapter is very high on my wishlist.
If staying undercover and keeping a low profile is one of your priorities, this adapter is not for you. The AWUS1900 is an absolute beast of a WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux, as you can see in the image below. Its number 1900 is not chosen by coincidence. It is chosen on purpose, as it points to its mind-boggling speeds of up to 1900Mbps in 802.11ac mode. It also comes not with two but four very capable 5dBi external Dual-Band dipole antennas.
I’ve been using this monster on previous assignments, and I can confirm that its performance is extraordinary, but due to its size, it’s probably not going to be an antenna for your EDC (Everyday Carry). Regardless, if you want performance, this adapter is for you!
The AWUS036AC is the predecessor of the AWUS036ACM and still comes with the older Realtek RTL8812AU chipset. It is another adapter that you can directly plug into your computer, and it also rocks dual antennas. It supports speeds of up to 867Mbps in 802.11ac.
When it comes to making a decision between the AC and the ACM, I would rather choose the newer ACM version, as the AC version can be hard to get nowadays.
Now it gets interesting. The AWUS036ACS is by far the smallest adapter in ALFA’s lineup and quickly became my new favorite network adapter for hacking. It’s easy to see why. The AWUS036ACS is super small and supports all modern WiFi standards up to 802.11ac, where it reaches speeds of up to 433Mbps – impressive for its size!
This thing easily fits in any backpack and is super low-profile, perfect for the conscious hacker. There is not really much more I can say about this. It has everything we want: size, speed, and low profile. Of course, it is officially listed in ALFA’s network adapter for Kali Linux list, and it works flawlessly out of the box. You can’t go wrong with this.
The AWUS036EAC has an even smaller form factor than the AWUS036ACS, and it supports all the modern standards up to 802.11ac with up to 867Mbps speed, which is very impressive considering its size. Unfortunately, it is rarely available in my country (Germany), so I did not have a chance to test it out yet.
Looking at the paper stats, it looks like the perfect fit, supporting all modern standards, great speeds, and a super low profile. If any of you choose to pick up this adapter, I would love to hear about your experience with it in the comments below.
It is listed as a supported WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux in ALFA’s list as well. My research has also shown that it in fact works out of the box with Kali Linux.
This little thing is more of an honorable mention, as it is probably impracticable for most of you. This is an 802.11ac 4×4:3 MIMO dual-band mini PCIe card with a USB 3.0 interface, which means the AWPCIE-1900U is a WiFi card for your laptop.
That means you can only use this if you choose to install Kali Linux directly on your laptop rather than running it in a VM. Obviously, this is as low profile as it gets, as the card is inside your computer. It supports all the modern standards up to 802.11ac, and it rocks speeds of up to 1300Mbps, which is awesome considering this thing lives inside of your computer.
It can be hard to get, but I have seen it listed on Amazon before.
Which WiFi Adapter is Best for Kali Linux?
There are so many WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux covered in this article that I feel like I owe you a good summary and a final word. I will do my best to deliver a clear summary for you.
The Winner of Hearts
My personal favorite is and always will be my beloved AWUS036H, simply because it was my first WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux (or BackTrack, rather, back in the day). It’s for nostalgic reasons only. Unfortunately, it can’t compete anymore with newer WiFi Adapters for Hacking because of the lack of support for newer protocols like N and AC, as well as the speed it can deliver, and also the lack of 5GHz.
The Best Allrounder
Therefore, I need to choose a new favorite taking all of the things that the AWUS036H lacks into consideration. All things considered, the AWUS036ACS is the clear winner. It delivers speed, a small form factor as well as good portability, and support of all of the newest protocols and frequencies. It’s well-priced on top of that.
The Best Performance
When it comes to performance, there is only one clear winner. Do you want to fry your target router with de-auth’s at a mind-boggling 1900Mbps? There is only one choice for you: The ALFA AWUS1900 with its four antennas looking ready to attack and take out any poor plastic-coated microchip daring to send out WiFi signals in this beast’s direction.
The Community Favorite
Due to our community poll on Twitter, I also want to take in the favorite antenna you guys have voted for, the ALFA AWUS036NEH LR. Although it lacks 5GHz support, it delivers good speeds and has proven itself as a solid device over the past couple of years, and it clearly become a Hacker’s favorite.
It’s a tough decision to choose a WiFi Adapter for Hacking, but I hope I was able to take some of the confusion out for you and that I have provided you with a good summary that makes your decision easier. Let me know in the comments which model you have chosen and what your experiences are. I would love to hear about some experiences regarding the MediaTek adapters!
Below, we’ll try to answer some of the most common questions we got since publishing this article. Let us know in the comments section if there is something we haven’t covered!
How do I add a Wireless Adapter to Kali Linux?
Usually, most of the WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux are plug-and-play. You just need to plug it in and Kali automatically handles driver installation. However, depending on your WiFi card’s chipset, you may need to install a driver before using the WiFi adapter.
To find and add a WiFi adapter to Kali Linux, simply open the Software Center, which can be accessed by going to the Applications menu. From here, search for “wireless adapters” or “WiFi adapters,” and select one of the available options. Next, just follow the on-screen prompts to install and configure your WiFi adapter.
To get started with WiFi hacking in Kali Linux, it is important to keep your WiFi adapter up-to-date with all of the latest security patches and software updates. You can do this by running regular system updates from the Update Manager in Kali Linux. Additionally, be sure to use a strong WiFi password and to keep your WiFi network locked down with WPA or WPA2 security.
Does Kali need a WiFi Adapter?
Yes, Kali Linux requires a WiFi adapter in order to access WiFi networks. This is because WiFi networks are often used for hacking and penetration testing, which are key features of the Kali Linux operating system. In order to use WiFi networks in Kali Linux, you need to have a WiFi adapter that is compatible with the OS and has up-to-date security patches. Additionally, it’s important to keep your WiFi network locked down using strong passwords and WPA or WPA2 security. With these basics in place, you can begin using WiFi networks for hacking and penetration testing with ease.
Can I use my phone as WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux?
No, you can’t use your phone as a WiFi Adapter for Kali Linux. You need a WiFi Adapter that supports monitor mode. Your phone is most likely not capable of utilizing that feature out of the box.
Can we hack WiFi without WiFi Adapter in Kali Linux?
No, you can’t hack WiFi without a WiFi Adapter in Kali Linux. You need a WiFi Adapter that is capable of monitor mode and packet injection to be able to hack WiFi networks. There is, however, a chance that your laptop has a supported chipset integrated.
Make sure to follow the guide above to find out which chipsets are supported. Once you have determined that your WiFi adapter is supported, you can begin hacking WiFi networks with ease in Kali Linux.
How can I download WiFi Driver in Kali Linux?
There are many ways to download WiFi drivers in Kali Linux. One option is to use the Software Center, which can be accessed from the Applications menu. From here, you can search for and select your WiFi adapter driver and then follow the on-screen prompts to complete the installation process.
Another option is to use the command line interface (CLI) to install WiFi drivers directly on your system. To do this, open a terminal window and enter the following command:
sudo apt update Code language: Bash (bash)
sudo apt install <driver_name>Code language: Bash (bash)
This will download and install the WiFi driver automatically, making it easy to add wireless connectivity to your Kali Linux system.
If you need additional assistance installing WiFi drivers in Kali Linux, be sure to check out the official Kali Linux documentation or connect with other users online for support. With the right WiFi adapter and driver in place, you can begin hacking WiFi networks and taking your penetration testing skills to the next level. Good luck!
Why Kali Linux can’t connect to WiFi?
There could be several reasons why your Kali Linux system is having difficulty connecting to WiFi networks. One possible issue is that the WiFi driver on your system may not be up-to-date or compatible with the WiFi adapter in your system. You may also need to enable monitor mode and packet injection on your WiFi adapter in order to hack WiFi networks successfully.
Another potential problem could be that there are issues with the WiFi network itself. This might include poor signal strength, security issues like weak passwords or outdated encryption protocols, or other problems that prevent you from being able to connect to WiFi networks at all.
To troubleshoot these issues and resolve connectivity problems on your Kali Linux system, it’s important to work closely with a knowledgeable IT professional or WiFi specialist. They can help you identify and fix any Wi-Fi-related issues so that you can start taking advantage of the powerful hacking and penetration testing tools available in Kali Linux.
Why do we need to use External WiFi Adapters?
Using external WiFi adapters is necessary for a variety of reasons. One key reason is that WiFi networks are constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest security standards and protocols. Having an external WiFi adapter allows you to stay on top of these changes so that your wireless network is safe and secure at all times.
Additionally, WiFi adapters designed for penetration testing offer additional features like packet injection or monitor mode support that can be useful when hacking WiFi networks or performing other types of penetration testing activities. Without an external WiFi adapter, you may find it difficult or impossible to perform these kinds of tasks effectively in Kali Linux.
If you’re planning on doing any kind of WiFi hacking, pentesting, or reconnaissance work in Kali Linux, then an external WiFi adapter is essential. With the right tools and support in place, you’ll be able to take your WiFi hacking skills to the next level and stay one step ahead of the competition.
How do I increase the Range of My USB WiFi Adapter?
There are several things you can try to increase the range of your WiFi adapter in Kali Linux. One option is to adjust the power output on your WiFi adapter. This can be done by looking up your WiFi adapter’s technical specifications and then adjusting the corresponding advanced settings. Changing the adapters country code can sometimes help with that.
Also, using different, higher-powered antennas can sometimes increase the Range of WiFi USB Adapters.
Another approach is to change your WiFi channel or access point (AP). If other nearby networks are using similar channels, it may impact the signal strength and range of your WiFi network. To avoid this issue, do some research online to find out which WiFi channels provide a better performance, and then make changes as needed from within the Wireless Networks menu in Kali Linux.
If these tips don’t seem to help, it may be necessary to explore more advanced solutions, such as using WiFi extenders, signal boosters, or other hardware-based solutions. In some cases, it may even be necessary to consider migrating to a different WiFi adapter that is better suited to your needs and environment.
What is Monitor Mode?
Monitor mode is a WiFi hacking and penetration testing technique that allows you to capture packets or monitor the traffic on a WiFi network without actually being connected to that network. This can be useful for identifying potential security vulnerabilities or other issues with the WiFi network or simply for tracking the activity of connected devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
When we enable monitor mode, we enable the so-called promiscuous mode on our WiFi adapter.
There are several different ways to enable monitor mode in Kali Linux, such as using specific WiFi drivers, apps, and tools. Some approaches require more technical knowledge than others, so it’s important to work closely with an experienced WiFi hacker or penetration tester if you’re planning on trying this approach yourself.
One of the most popular tools to test WiFi networks is Aircrack-ng. It is a complete toolkit to test WiFi security.
Overall, monitor mode is a powerful tool for WiFi hackers and pen testers alike. Whether you’re looking to stay on top of WiFi security trends and protocols or simply want to increase your WiFi hacking skills and capabilities, monitor mode can help you achieve these goals in Kali Linux.
What is Packet Injection?
Packet injection is a WiFi hacking and penetration testing technique in which specially crafted packets or data are sent over a WiFi network to disrupt its normal functionality. This can be used to test the security of WiFi networks, identify potential vulnerabilities, or exploit known weaknesses in order to gain unauthorized access or take other malicious actions.
There are several different tools and techniques for packet injection in Kali Linux, including using WiFi drivers that support packet injection, apps and software designed specifically for this purpose, or manual configuration of your WiFi adapter settings.
One popular tool for WiFi hacking and penetration testing is Airpwn. This app allows you to inject custom-built payloads into specific portions of a WiFi network’s traffic. While it does require some technical knowledge and WiFi hacking experience, Airpwn is a powerful tool that can help you assess WiFi security and gain deeper insights into potential vulnerabilities.
Another popular tool to use for Packet Injection is Aircrack-ng. Here we can utilize Packet Injection by using the
Overall, packet injection is an essential technique for WiFi hackers and penetration testers alike.
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