How To: Buy the Best Wireless Network Adapter for Wi-Fi Hacking in 2019

Buy the Best Wireless Network Adapter for Wi-Fi Hacking in 2019

To hack a Wi-Fi network using Kali Linux, you need your wireless card to support monitor mode and packet injection. Not all wireless cards can do this, so I've rounded up this list of 2019's best wireless network adapters for hacking on Kali Linux to get you started hacking both WEP and WPA Wi-Fi networks.

Wi-Fi Hacking for Beginners

Kali Linux is by far the best supported hacking distro for beginners, and Wi-Fi hacking on Kali (previously called BackTrack) is where I started my own journey into hacking. In order to hack Wi-Fi, you will quickly learn that a wireless network adapter supporting packet injection and monitor mode is essential. Without one, many attacks are impossible, and the few that work can take days to succeed. Fortunately, there are several good adapters to choose from.

A range of Kali Linux compatible network adapters. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

If you're new to hacking Wi-Fi, Null Byte's Kali Pi hacking platform is a great way to get started hacking on Kali Linux for little investment. Any of the wireless network adapters on this list can be combined with a Raspberry Pi to build your own Wi-Fi hacking computer.

A Raspberry Pi with a supported network is a powerful, low-cost Kali Linux hacking platform. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

What's so great about wireless network adapters? By swapping out the antenna or adapter type, we can target different kinds of networks. We can even target far-away networks with the addition of special super long-range directional antennas like the Yagi antenna ($91.99).

Chipsets Supported by Kali Linux

So how do you pick the best wireless network adapter for hacking? If you're hacking on Kali, certain chipsets (the chip that controls the wireless adapter) will work without much or any configuration needed.

Atheros AR9271 chipset inside the ALFA Network AWUS036NHA. Image by Maintenance script/Wikidev

Chipsets that work with Kali include:

  • Atheros AR9271
  • Ralink RT3070
  • Ralink RT3572
  • Realtek 8187L (Wireless G adapters)
  • Realtek RTL8812AU (newly in 2017)
  • my research also suggests the Ralink RT5370N is compatible

In 2017, Kali Linux began supporting drivers for the RTL8812AU wireless chipsets. These drivers are not part of the standard Linux kernel and have been modified to allow for injection. This is a big deal because this chipset is one of the first to support 802.11 AC, bringing injection-related wireless attacks to this standard.

Kali Linux compatible adapters. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

Adapters That Use the Ralink RT3070 Chipset

The Alfa AWUS036NH is a b/g/n adapter with an absurd amount of range. This is amplified by the omnidirectional antenna and can be paired with a Yagi ($29.95) or Paddle ($23.99) antenna to create a directional array.

The AWUSO36NH. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

If you're looking for a somewhat more compact wireless adapter that can be plugged in via USB, the Alfa AWUS036NEH is a powerful b/g/n adapter that's slim and doesn't require a USB cable to use.

The AWUS036NEH, relatively compact with extreme range. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

Sometimes you need a stealthier option that's still powerful enough to pwn networks without making a big fuss about plugging in large, suspicious network adapters. Consider the g/n PAU05, affectionately nicknamed "El Stubbo" and a personal favorite both for its low profile and its aggressive performance in the short and medium range. Consider this if you need to gather network data without including everything within several blocks.

A note on the Panda from one of our readers: The Panda PAUO5 on Amazon won't do packet injection. It seems they now ship with an unsupported chipset (RT5372), so make sure yours has the correct chipset!

The PAU05, a super low-profile option that is one of my favorites. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

Adapters That Use the Atheros AR9271 Chipset

The Alfa AWUS036NHA is my current long-range network adapter and the standard by which I judge other long-range adapters. For a long-range application, this paired with a ridiculously big adapter ($9.99) is a stable, fast, and well-supported b/g/n wireless network adapter.

The AWUS036NHA, featuring great long-range performance. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

A favorite for newbies and experienced hackers alike, this compact b/g/n is among the cheapest but boasts surprisingly impressive performance. That being said, only v1 of this adapter will work with Kali Linux. The v2 version of this adapter is a different chipset, so make sure you check to see which yours is!

WARNING: Only version ONE of this adapter will work with Kali. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

Adapters That Use the Ralink RT5370N Chipset

While I haven't tested this IEEE 802.11n compatible adapter personally, the chipset is supported in Kali and it supports monitor mode. For an extremely compact adapter with an external antenna mount for swapping different types of antennas, the Detroit DIY Electronics Wifi Antenna For Raspberry Pi is a good starter option.

Compact option from Detroit Electronics. Image via Detroit Electronics

Adapters That Use the Realtek RTL8812AU Chipset (New)

Newly supported in 2017, the Alfa AWUS036ACH is a beast, with dual antennas and 2.4 GHz 300 Mbps/5 GHz 867 Mbps – 802.11ac and a, b, g, n compatibility. This is the newest offering I've found that's compatible with Kali, so if you're looking for the fastest and longest range, this would be the adapter to start with.

To use this, you may need to first run the following.

apt update
apt install realtek-rtl88xxau-dkms

This will install the needed drivers, and you should be good to go.

The Alfa AWUS036ACH, ready to hack on 802.11ac. Image via Alfa Website

Other Options

During my research, I also came across the following adapters with supported chipsets, but only anecdotal evidence of packet injection and monitor mode. If you're feeling adventurous, you can pick up one of the following supported adapters mention in the comments how it works for you.

The WiFi Module 4 ($27.95) by Hard Kernel uses the supported Ralink RT5572 chipset, which adds 5 GHz capabilities, and also works in 2.4 GHz.

An ultra-compact option is also the WiFi Module 0 ($7.95), also by Hard Kernel, based on Ralink RT5370N chipset.

Some of the top wireless network adapters for hacking. Image by SADMIN/Null Byte

That completes my roundup of wireless network adapters for hacking in 2019. Got a favorite I didn't list? Leave a comment and link us to it.

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Cover photo and screenshots by SADMIN/Null Byte


Great guide!!! Love it!!!
Is the antenna on the tp-link TL-WN722N the original antenna??
If not, what is the model and name of the antenna?? And is it better??

I swap my antennas around a fair amount, that was a good catch. The original is white and smaller. I did notice a slight increase when I stuck one of the Alfa antennas on it, but it wasn't substantial. I'll do another piece on antennas, hopefully, next week!

Hi. actually i'm new to kali linux.

i have an alfa network adapter (model- AWUS036H) and driver disk. but i don't know to install it in kali linux. how can i install driver?

if you know about this please help me!

Another wonderful guide!!
My opinions:

  • Realtek chip-sets are buggy.
  • Atheros = best, old and gold.
  • TP-LINK TL-WN722N, you won't be able to raise the tx-power.
  • Buy an Alpha.

Thanks Admin.


My wn722n (wlan1) txpower is 27 dBm (501 mW)

Must be V1, higher versions don't support it (>20), actually, even V1 doesn't supp it, you will end up frying the chip-set, like my friend did (on V2).

Hi. actually i'm new to kali linux.

i have an alfa network adapter (model- AWUS036H) and driver disk. but i don't know to install it in kali linux. how can i install driver?

if you know about this please help me!

hi me to in new and i have this alfa

i can get any wifi password with this alfa ?
if you know tell me how please

Anyone else having issues with the Alfa AWUS036ACh? I get great range with it, but it doesn't catch beacons anywhere near as fast as my built-in card with airodump.

I'm having a hard time getting the AWUS036ACH to connect in Kali, ran the update and it connects in physical machine(windows) but when I try to connect it in virtual with Kali it won't even power up. Any suggestions or hints for this noobie? Thanks

Just try to check in the terminal if the system detect the adapter,
try to put the iwconfig command in the terminal to detect the adapter

If you have troubles with the detection try with ifconfig wlan0 up this usually put the adapter to work in the system


I own both the Alfa H and TP Link adapters and love them both. What are your thoughts on the WiFi Pineapple though? I just purchased one about a week ago.

I thought it might be a little expensive for some of our beginners, but I could do a piece on it if there's demand.

I have the Pineapple Tetra, got it while back and never did much else with it. Got an ACH on the way, what did you manage to get going with your pineapple? They need to make a guide for it lol

I have an Alpha AWUS036H and a Hawking 150N adapter. Is one better than the other for Kali?

@Louis spliker

Just try to use in the Linux system, and you will know

I'm having problems with the AWUSO36ACH. I've installed the drivers as suggested but it isn't detected by Kali Linux. Please help!

Hey! What is your hardware setup?

I'm running Kali Linux in a virtual box

I tried getting the driver setup in Kali terminal.

However I get the error :Unable to locate package

Cant get AWUSO36ACH to work!

I have the same problem! It cannot detect the device in Kali. Looks like a LOT of people are having this problem. Please somebody help installing this Adapter!

what about awus052nh ? it uses rt3572

Shit I might have to make a part 2 after testing some of these suggestions

Is Alfa AWUS036AC good?? It has duel 5dbi antenna.
Will it be able to be on monitor mode and inject packets??
I m planning on changing my TL-WN722n to something better.
I m open to any suggestions, thanks. :)

Hi @klaviatur

Is just matter of try in the linux system, try :)

So should I get the AWUSO36ACH or the wifi pineapple? Which one is better? Apparently, the pineapple cannot hack 802.11ac.

The AWUSO36ACH is better to range and to wireless attacks as to wifi pineapple is better to easy interface on cross-over platforms.

I'm about to buy my first Alfa. Please can you suggest best one? I know it might be dump question as they all good, but still. I seen that new one came out AWUS052NH and it has no problems with drivers as AWUS036ACH. Which one would be better?


Transfer rate low, single band. What about new ones I mentioned above, they cover more networks + more powerful with two antennas, transfer rate higher and both dual bands?

I haven't tried the AWUS052NH, I'm going to check it out asap

Sometimes practical beats theory,
I own Netgear N150 WNA1100(Atheros), TP-Link TL-WN822Nv3(Realtek), Alpha AWUS036NHA(Atheros) (recent).

I got the Netgear one for free with a router, and it works far better than TP-Link (dual antennas) in range and speed (for Pentesting).

Reading reviews for AWUS036NHA(A), AWUS036ACH(R) and AWUS052NH(R), it was clear what I wanted to get for Pentesting.

Conclusion: Atheros>>Realtek for Pentesting.

Why would you think Admin still uses AWUS036NHA?, cuz it works perfectly fine for him.

hello bro;
i am using kali linux on virtual box ,..... can u suggest me a wifi adapter which support moniitor mode

AWUS036ACH seems the top choice, but obviously it has been confirmed problems with the driver numerous times, though on the website it clearly states that it should support Linux kernel 2.4 or later.

I'm currently testing the crazy orange one and so far I hate it.

In your opinion, nowdays, is it best to buy AWUS036ACH or AWUS036NHA?

I'm a bit confused. I don't care a lot of 5GHz band, but if i can have it as an option without losing in range, stability and injection quality, why not.

Or AWUS036NHA is better in some aspects? (excluding plug&play on kali)

Sadmin, really? How come? I think it is the most expensive one. Share your thoughts, please.

I have alfa AWUS036NHA and its working great but I couldn't increase its TX power from 20dbm.Can I increase tx power of alfa awus036nh 2000mw if I buy it?

It seems like I have to purchase all of them to have all powers.

Did anyone get this damn AWUS036ACH running on Kali at Raspberry Pi 3?

Trying some hours to get this running as a second wlan so I can SSH with my phone via wlan0 and do some "other things" with my ALFA... no chance yet. frustrating -.-

Have you tried mailing to Alfa, because they claiming AWUS036ACH should support Linux kernel 2.4 or later?

I've sent them message, and when you get reply something like "will come back as soon as possible" occasionally means they will never respond. I will re-post here if they do.

no I did not send them a message yet. The thing ist, that Kali doesn't recognize the adapter as an wlan device and I really don't know what else I could do. I downloaded the driver via

apt install realtek-rtl88xxau-dkms

rebooted a few times but nothing happened...

Not sure if this info helps, but it seems since this problem was raised, there were lot of talks about it and development going on, so Kali distro added it to their repositories in the end, which is mentioned above in the article. I guess it should simply work out of repositories.

I recently purchased the Alfa AWUS036ACH and to be honest, I'm not massively impressed and I am actually thinking of returning it and continuing to use my trusty little TL-WN722N...

It's quite sad that I will have to send a decent adapter back but I don't want to keep something that doesn't work amazingly well and still has issues with Kali...

Hey @Josh What was your hardware setup with the Alfa Awus036ACH?

I mainly use 722, it's nice, though no power up function and range is not long.

Wow! you guys are still on about it?, even though I told you which Alpha is the best?

a great article SADMIN, but i have a question,
does the antenna you refereed to in this article (alfa 9dbi) works with TL-WN722N ?

MOSTAFA, it is only an antenna and it will definitely work on 722.

ANON USER, I finally bought + 9dBi alfa antenna and it doesn't seem to work any much better than 722 with it's smaller antenna.

BTW, anyone tried increasing power on AWUS036NHA? I found few tutorials online, but couldn't make any of them work for my set up: AWUS036NHA + Ubuntu 17.04.

in europe where can people buy the AWUS036NHA original? in this list, this one seems to be a good piece for kali on a raspberry

Just a little heads up..
The Panda PAUO5 of Amazon won't do packet injection. It seems they now ship with a unsupported chipset (RT5372)

Thank you for this! I added it to the article

Hello, I have the Panda PAUO5 with the RT5372 chipset and when I run the test of Aircrack-ng it says "Injection is working" does it mean it works for packet injection or I'm missing something?

You can see in the photo what I mean.

The text "Injection is working" does inform you that the packet injection is working. Although, I don't know how there are 2 AP's active. Have you used wlan0 as an AP too?

@NULLBYTEADMIN This is in monitor mode. I have to admit I don't really know what I am doing I just follow up the steps I saw in aircrack-ng and other forums. This is with the same chipset RT5372 of PAUO5.

I'm thinking of buying the Alfa AWUS036ACH do you think that's a good choice??

Hello Everyone. Could someone help me? I would like to buy a great adapter, but i cant find any in EUROPE. The shipping price from USA is kinda high, do you have any tips how should i solve this problem?

I found 2 wireless adapter tenda w311mi and tenda w311ma but i dont know which one is supported
Please help me with this

judging from the line of code to install the newest realtek chipset driver

apt install realtek-rtl88xxau-dkms

RTL8814AU should work just fine like RTL8812AU
Is this correct?

Hi everyone,
is it possible to use one of these wifi adapters on a Windows 10 laptop?
and if not, does anyone know what adapter i could use?
thank you all,

Mr Null

This page on the Alfa Wireless website shows which of their products are compatible with Windows 10.

@Mr Null yes is possible to use, jut try to get the drivers from the official site

Just curious if a netgear WNDR3700v2 is compatible?

Whoops I meant WNDA3100v2

Does the panda PAU06 work with monitor mode and packet injection.
I saw some reviews for it and all of them said yes, So just want to confirm.

I actually hope that wireless adapters will have a storage also, so I can also USB boot kali and have wlan at the same time : )

Hello, I am trying to install the drivers for Alfa AWUS036ACH on VMware, but I get the error: "bad return status for module build on kernel". What can I do?

someone suggest me pls
a wifi usb adapter am using kalilinux 2017.3 in in a virtual machine winows 10 64 bit

Vinay, the same applies to the wifi adapters in a virtual machine. If you need a suggestion, I would recommend the TP-Link adapter. It's inexpensive and is also very useful for wireless attacks.

m using kali linux on virtual box suggest me wifi adapter which support monitor mode

Can anyone make a suggestion for a (macbook pro 2017 + kali linux vbox_) combo?

I have an alfa AWUS036NEH which I got to work on my old 2011 macbook (now broken) and rasberry pi, but it fails to work on the new macbook pro due to compatibility issues. So before I buy a new adapter, I'd like to know if anyone has had success with certain brand and this combination of computer/virtualization.

Hi @r_panov

The only way to know is if you try in your laptop (macbook pro)
with the virtualisation, just try.

Put the virtualisation then connect your wireless adapter

Did you managed to find a network adapter for your Macbook pro?

Hi. This is nishanth! actually i'm new to kali linux.

i have an alfa network adapter (model- AWUS036H) and driver disk. but i don't know to install it in kali linux. how can i install driver?

anyone knows about this please help me!

just connect the adapter, then in the terminal check with the command iwconfig

Hello, sorry for the noob question, but I found a TP-LINK TL-WN722N version 1.2
Does this version have the Atheros AR9271 Chipset ?
or it must be the v1 ?

Only the specific TP-Link adapter in the article is supported to use monitor mode and packet injection. The other generations of the adapter don't work with Kali Linux.

how do you differentiate v1 and v2, thanks before

@Laksamana for me is a mystery

i am a new student .Can someone tell me can i use rtl 8188 su adapter for wifiphiser for jamming

Just connect the adapter then check in the terminal with iwconfig

I just bought Alfa AWUS036NHA with ATHEROS 9271 chipset. It has worse received signal quality than my PCI card and my Doogee X5 (80$) smartphone. It won't even connect to my home router (1/5 signal indication). I am using Debian and I tried both atheros-firmware and the open source firmware ath9k_htc, same results!

What driver are you using?

Thank you for such an important article. I have a question can I attach TL-ANT2409CL
9dbi antenna to alfa AwUS036h adapter. would it be work fine??

I found the Wifi Pineapple NANO on Hak5. The chipset(Atheros AR9331) doesn't support Kali but has the PineAP interface on the gateway. It works for monitor mode. I couldn't find out if there was packet injection included.

Hi I was wondering if you could help me with something Kali Linux related. I installed Kali Linux into virtual box on a MacBook Pro and purchased a TP-link WN722N wireless adapter (v2). I plugged it into my Mac and downloaded the necessary driver to Kali and the WiFi won't show up. I believe the problem is that I have to connect the adapter to a USB-USB c adapter since I have the new MacBook. When I'm adding a USB device filter to virtual box only the USB-USB c adapter shows up and not the actual wireless adapter. Anyways I'd really appreciate any help you can give me. Thank you.

someone please answer!
which one is good AWUS036ACH or AWUS036nha?
does AWUS036ACH still has problems with linux or .... that was before?

I returned my 36ACH for a 36NHA.

Initially I tried drivers for the RTL8812AU chipset through Kali's repo, and those did not work well. Airodump / Kismet showed no networks. Airmon-ng had issues putting into monitor mode , I had to put card into monitor mode via iwconfig.

So I then purged those drivers and compiled aircrack's release for the 36ACH via github. That fixed most issues, But could not capture WPAx handshakes. Injection only worked 1/3 times.

I was able to bump to 40dBm on the 36ACH :) . The only good thing I have to say at this point, until new drivers are released .

SO as of now I am waiting for the good ol' 36NHA.

For those having issues with their AWUS036ACH ,Kimcoder took aircrack's github repo and fine tuned them so I highly suggest to try his drivers and installing w/ following commands

git clone
cd rtl8812au
make && make install

ip link set wlan0 down
iwconfig wlan0 mode monitor
ip link set wlan0 up

airodump-ng -i wlan0

I own and use both and have no problem with either one on Parrot Security OS...

Packet Injection and monitoring mode Works with AR9485 Chipset as well.

CORRECTION: I use Parrot Security OS and run a Panda from Amazon with the RT5372 chipset and IT DOES Packet injection. I have absolutely NO PROBLEM running any and all my wifi injections apps with this antenna. Perhaps it is just a Kali thing?


What a great site for Raspberry Pi owners. I've just updated from a RP2 to the latest RP3 B + a 7in touch screen and an enclosure for both of them. I also purchased a 16gb usb drive with Kali pre-installed with a 12gb persistence partition. Is it possible to have the Raspberry Pi change usb drives if the persistence partition fills up before I get a chance to download the data to another drive manually.

Hey great article,

after reading a lot of articles about cracking Wifi Passwords, Evil Twin Attacks or MITM-Attacks and this article about dongles which are capable of packet injection and monitor mode. I decided to buy the Alfa AWUS 1900 ,because of the good signal strength (4 omnidirectional antennas) and dual-band antennas (2,4 GHz + 5 GHz). I heard that this dongle is plug'n play on linux distros like Kali.

My kernel version is 4.18

But the dongle is not beeing detected by my laptop. I already tried the commands:

apt-get update && apt-get upgrade && apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get install realtek-rtl88xxau-dkms

I rebooted after installation to make sure everything is fine .

The dongle is still not beeing detected from my laptop. Im not sure whether the dongle is broken or not but I bought it 1 week ago so it should be working.

Thanks for your help and effort.

M4CH14V3LL1 :)

I'm having the same type of issues with the awus051NH version too not sure what happened as I've read that these where compatible with the distro.


I am new to Kali Linux . I have decided to buy TP TP LINK TL-WN7200ND (Ralink RT3070 according to ) for monitor mode & package injection because there is no ALFA or Panda in our country.

Please let me know whether I am doing right or not. Thanks in advance.

Just curious, does anyone have any new, relevant information in regards to "2019 Wifi Adapters"? No offense but it seems as if this article is almost identical *chuckles* to the one I read titled 2018 Wifi " , and also 2017 " ".... again, no offense... just looking for the newest knowledge to fill my brain as always...

@HWAC was looking to get your opinion/feedback on any/or all 5ghz adapters with ParrotOS. Have you ran into any issues? Do you mainly use 2.4ghz? Hows the ACH on Parrot out of box? Any experience with 1900acm yet? Any other 5ghz capable adapters worthy of noting? Look forward to your reply.

i will try one of those wifi adapters;but which one is best?

Not sure but I'm having trouble with the 051NH alfa card

So I'm bought the awus051nh v2 which is in this article and other articles outside this website but my card keeps disappearing after connecting. It will show up for 3 seconds or so then gone. I have downloaded the driver from the CD it came with and used the "tar" command to unzip. Where I get stuck is when making the unload, get the error of no rule to make target "unload". I also went back to input the make command in the folder but had some error coming up. Any thoughts ? Got this card because I liked the idea of sniffing both bands 2.4 and 5Ghz.

VMware worstation 15
Windows 10
Vm Kali Linux 2019.1


Where can you get the TP Link in 2019?! I've searched like everywhere...

I have a ALFA AWUS036NH, I connected to my virtual box running kali linux. It runs monitor mode and packet injection. It is sometimes having problems doing packet injection and when I try the aireplay-ng cmd for 2 to 3 bssid the terminal running monitor mode will not show anymore devices connected to the wifi can anyone help me out or should I return this adapter back again and get a better one. If a better one what would you guys prefer.

P/S I got this adapter around last week so I can return it back.

Which is best WiFi adapter for monitor mode whether TP-WN-722N or TP-WN-821N.
I also need the chipset info of this to adapters as of now.

Thank you :)

I found an adapter whit the chipset "RTL8811". Is this still compatible??
Thanks in advance, Max.

Hey can i ask a question. Does ATHEROS AR5B95 support monitor mode and packet injection. I know it is an old chip but it happens to have one laying around and i am curious to see if it can be useful. thanks

I am using an unknown adapter, what they called alfa AWUS036NHA alternative, and it working great without a problem, one thing I don't know yet its output power, can anyone tell me how can I find this adapter maximum output power? you can check this model ar9271, hope you will find a similar one from aliexpress, or if you are from Bangladesh you can get one from here

I got an AWUS036NHA monitor mode works lite a charm but the injection dont work pls Help...

Hi all,

My Alfa AWUS036NEH was working perfectly fine until I bought a new laptop, now it sees the adapter but for some reason never finds any networks. I'm using a VMware.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Depend of what Linux distribution you are using

-Try to check if you put the network adapter "inside" of the VMware machine
-Try to use the ifconfig command in the terminal to check if
your VMware detect the adapter


The TP-LINK TL-WN722N card is like to flip a coin to get
the monitor mode.

You really, really need to check the technical details to know if
you wanna get the monitor mode for the v1

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