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Best USB WiFi Adapters for Linux (Review) in 2020

It is hard to find a Linux-compatible USB WiFi adapter these days, as mainstream manufacturers like Netgear, Belkin, and others do not take the platform seriously. As a result, many Linux users do not know what to buy.

Since finding a compatible Linux WiFi adapter is so tricky we researched more than 20 models on the market — read more about our in-depth analysis and see which is the best product.

Here’s our list of the best Linux compatible USB WiFi adapters.

#1-  BrosTrend 1200Mbps Linux USB WiFi Adapter

Max Speed: 867Mbps (5GHz )/ 300Mbps (2.4GHz) | Antenna: Dual (2 x 5dBi)

  • Dual antennas, long cable.
  • The antenna rotates 360 degrees.
  • Best price for an antenna/cord device
  • Excellent range.

BrosTrend 1200Mbps Linux USB WiFi Adapter

Are you looking for a fast WiFi USB adapter with a long connection range? Check out the BrosTrend 1200Mbps Linux USB WiFi Adapter. It offers some excellent connectivity speeds (at about 300 Mbps on 2.4GHz and 867 Mbps on 5GHz), with two long antennas that ensure you’ll stay connected no matter where you are in the house.

Like many other adapters on this list, the BrosTrend 1200Mbps Linux USB WiFi Adapter has incredible Linux compatibility, supporting distributions like Debian, Ubuntu, and Raspbian, Fedora, and many others.

In our testing with the BrosTrend 1200Mbps Linux USB WiFi Adapter, we found that it worked well out of the box as expected and maintained stable network connectivity on both wireless bands. However, as the device is a “USB 3.0” one, you may lose speed running in a 2.0 port.

Notable features

  • So long as the user is running Linux kernel 5.3 or lower, BrosTrend 1200Mbps Linux USB WiFi Adapter has support for the Kali Linux security testing distribution.
  • The BrosTrend 1200Mbps Linux USB WiFi Adapter has dual antennas and is connected to a long USB cord, which makes it very easy to connect to far away routers.
  • The antenna can rotate 360 degrees for maximum connectivity.

Cost

BrosTrend 1200Mbps is the single-best antenna/cord based USB adapter for Linux. Best of all, it is affordably priced so that anyone can get their hands on it!

#2 – Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 Dual Band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wireless N USB Adapter

Max Speed: 300Mbps (2.4GHz and 5GHz) | Antenna: Dual (2 x 5dBi)

  • Supports Kali Linux
  • Dual band : 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • 802.11 ac/b/g/n networks.

Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 Dual Band Wireless N USB Adapter

Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 is a dual-band USB wireless adapter for Windows, and Linux, supporting Linux distributions like Linux Mint, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, CentOS, and Kali Linux. The Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 also has support for Raspberry Pi and confirms their device works on Rasbian.

While the hardware specs of the device are impressive, it’s not what is making Linux fans excited. Instead, the real draw is the fact that the Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 plays well with security penetration testing distributions like Kali Linux, and the device can enter “monitoring mode” for network vulnerability testing.

In our testing of the device, we found that the Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 worked very well on most Linux operating systems, as well as most Raspberry Pi Linux distributions. However, on Linux operating systems like Debian Linux will not recognize it without adding the “non-free” software source.

Notable features

  • The Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 supports Kali Linux and can go into monitoring mode, a mode critical to security and penetration testing.
  • The Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 is dual-band and can connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.
  • Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 is very fast, and the 5GHz band can transfer data at up to 876 Mbps.
  • The device has dual antennas, which makes connectivity with far away routers much more accessible.

Cost

As far as USB WiFi adapters go, the Panda Wireless PAU09 N600 is priced just above what many would consider “affordable.”  With that in mind, it’s well worth it if what you want is an excellent WiFi adapter that can also double as a network security testing device in Kali Linux.

#3 – Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter

Max Speed: 300Mbps (2.4GHz)

  • Zero setup or drivers required
  • Works with most Linux systems
  • Excellent price
  • No 5GHz band

Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter for Linux

The Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter is a small networking dongle that supports connecting to any 2.4 GHz (G or N) wireless network. The device supports a maximum transfer rate of 300 Mbps and is compatible with most Linux operating systems, including those on the Raspberry Pi, like Raspbian.

In our experience with the Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter, we found that it was compatible with most Linux operating systems, with zero setup or drivers required. Though, it may not work on operating systems like Debian without enabling the “non-free” software source.

Notable features

  • The Panda 300 Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter will work with any 2.4GHz wireless router.
  • The Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter supports infrastructure and Ad-hoc mode, which is perfect for sharing network connectivity and local files to other computers.
  • The Panda 300Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter supports both 32-bit and 64-bit Linux operating systems.

Cost

For its capabilities, the Panda 300 Mbps Wireless N USB Adapter is a steal. So, if you’re in desperate need of a proper adapter 2.4GHz network adapter that is compatible with Linux, don’t miss out!

#4 – TP-Link USB Wifi N150 Adapter

Max Speed: 150Mbps (2.4GHz)

  • Strong WiFi coverage
  • Mini design (nano size)
  • No 5GHz band.

TP-Link USB Wifi N150 Adapter for Linux
The TP-Link USB Wifi N150 Adapter is a low-profile, Nano network dongle. It allows for connectivity up to 150 Mbps and supports the 2.4 GHz network band.

TP-Link has an excellent track record of supporting the Linux platform with it’s networking equipment, including WiFi adapters. The TP-Link USB Wifi N150 Adapter is no different. It is compatible with any mainstream Linux operating system running Linux kernel 2.6 or above, including Linux distributions run on hobby boards like Raspberry Pi or Odroid.

From testing with the TP-Link USB Wifi N150 Adapter, we found that network transfer rates were consistent with 150 Mbps. TP-Link advertises that this device only works on older kernels, however, it can be made to work on quite a few new distributions. To get it working, the user must install a third-party software driver. This software driver is lwfinger, and supports the rtl8188eu chipset. To get your hands on the driver, click here.

Notable features

  • It’s very slim, “nano” form factor means it fits very well in any laptop USB port.
  • The TP-Link USB Wifi N150 Adapter touts first-class support for Raspbian, the default operating system for the Raspberry Pi line of microcomputers.
  • Supports the 2.4 GHz network band and can transfer data at a maximum rate of 150 Mbps.

Cost

As the TP-Link USB Wifi N150 Adapter is tiny, and can only make connections of up to 150 Mpbs, it is an incredibly inexpensive device. Suffice it to say, if you need a wireless adapter that works well with Linux or the Raspberry Pi and doesn’t cost a lot of money, get the TP-Link USB Wifi N150 Adapter.

Conclusion

In this list, we went over the four best Linux-compatible USB WiFi adapters. That said, there are many other excellent Linux-compatible WiFi adapters out there that we did not talk about. What USB adapter do you use on your Linux PC? Let us know in the comment section down below!

6 Comments

  1. this is the manufacturer’s specs for
    BrosTrend 1200Mbps Linux USB WiFi Adapter :

    https://www.trendtechcn.com/Product.aspx?ProductId=325&TypeId=1

    I can’t find any Linux distro.
    They don’t have it for a reason: the rtl8812au is not included in standard kernels. To use it, compiling the kernel module from source is necessary.
    Advanced users only.
    Also users with lots of time. Each time an update brings a new kernel, you compile again, fix errors, browse internet for solutions.
    This is not ‘Linux support’

  2. Linux connectivity is a joke. When you open the drivers disc and look under “Linux” it directs you to the TP-Link website where you download a driver file with instructions to open terminal and open the “correct” version of another file with which to “compile” (whatever that may mean) the driver file………….!! Seems like you need to be a software engineer to install it. At that point it went in the bin.

    • Hi John, you didn’t manage to do it? Or you just decided to put it in the bin “because …”?

  3. It’s 2020 and I cannot believe that manufacturers have not taken the Linux community seriously. Perhaps the Linux community itself needs to push harder in the driver development space? Whichever, the dearth of plug and play devices on Linux is still a major drawback for Linux adoption as a friendly replacement to Windows. Even when drivers are available, in many cases, one has to tinker with github sources and “make” commands on the CLI, a far cry from the point and click of the .exe or msi package on Windows.
    It’s a shame as Linux can be had free, whilst Windows comes with a price tag.

    • Hi Jerry, you’re right. That’s why we’re trying to help people find what’s best for Linux.

  4. The TP-Link USB Wifi N150 is a great little adapter with one issue. The one I have has a death grip meaning if you plug it in without leaving a fingernail of space between it and your computer it is almost impossible to remove!

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