Best WiFi Adapters for Kali Linux
When we talk about WIFI adapters and wireless cards, people appear to be confused; they have no idea what they are, why we need them, or how to choose the best one from so many brands. The fact is not every Wi-Fi card support Monitor mode and packet injection; that’s why we create a list of best WiFi adapters for Kali Linux.
The all-new Kali Linux 2021.1 was coming out, and we can simply use it as our primary operating system because of the non-user root. The key advantage of utilizing Kali Linux as the primary operating system is that we have hardware support. Yes, we can perform all penetration testing tasks with Kali Linux 2021, but we will need some specific USB WiFi adapters to play with wireless networks or WiFi.
In this tutorial, we compiled the finest USB Wireless Adapters for Kali Linux in 2021. These adapters are fully compatible with Kali Linux and include features like monitor mode and packet injection, which will aid in WiFi penetration testing.
The best WiFi adapter for Kali Linux as has been said most of the time, there is no “Best WiFi adapter” when working quietly, a small WiFi adapter is required; when working in the “concrete jungle,” the most powerful and sensitive gadget with huge antennas is required. Several of us live in areas where 5.0GHz ac Access points are plentiful, but in several places, there are simply no Access Points on 5.0GHz. Anyone can easily afford to spend 50 bucks, while another one is on the lookout for inexpensive adapters on the secondary market.
Our tasks are different; our environment varies, so the best USB WiFi adapter for Kali Linux will be different devices for each of us. However, there are some guidelines that work well:
- Alfa WiFi adapters are good option.
- Adapters with large external antennas are usually more powerful and sensitive.
What is WiFi Chipset?
Before we go into the Wi-Fi adaptor brands that Kali Linux supports, let’s look at a more crucial factor: the Wi-Fi chipset that is utilized in USB Wi-Fi adaptors. A Wireless chipset is the brain of the USB Wi-Fi adaptor that performs all the calculations. Whether a USB Wi-Fi adapter is good or terrible is determined by the Wi-Fi chipset. The brand is unimportant. It is the chipset that is present inside the USB Wi-Fi adaptor that we should be concerned about. Kali Linux supports a wide range of chipsets that can be used to carry our various packet injections and other attacks.
Why We Need a USB WiFi Adapter For Kali Linux?
A USB wireless adapter is a device that we connect to our computer via a USB port and allows us to communicate with other devices via WiFi, allowing us to connect to wireless networks and talk with other computers that use WiFi. Now we might argue that our laptop already has the feature, and we would be accurate; most computers and phones do, but there are two issues with that, though.
- The first issue is that we cannot access built-in wireless adapters via Kali if installed as a virtual machine.
- The second and most serious issue is that these built-in wireless adapters are not suitable for hacking.
Even if we install Kali Linux as our primary machine, then we will get access to our built-in wireless card, but we will not be able to use it for hacking because it does not support monitor mode or packet injection. So if we need to use it for WiFi auditing and other interesting Kali Linux stuff like aircrack-ng and other tools, we will need to acquire a Kali Linux USB WiFi adapter.
How to Increase the Range of Our USB WiFi Adapter?
The inherent antenna on most WiFi Routers and USB Wifi Adapters can be changed. Typically, the manufacturer’s inbuilt antenna will have a power gain of 3 dbi, 5 dbi, or even up to 9 dbi, which is relatively low compared to the currently available antennas. We can acquire a higher gain antenna like a 12 dbi or a 24 dbi if our USB WiFi adapter supports an external antenna. This will undoubtedly improve our WiFi range.
Best WiFI Adapters for Kali Linux
The following are the best WiFi Adapters for Kali Linux:
- Alfa AWUS036NEH
- Alfa AWUS036NHA-Wirelss B/G/N USB Adapter
- Panda PAU06
- Panda PAU09 N600
- Alfa AWUS036ACH / AC1200
- Alfa AWUS1900 / AC1900
- TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4GHz (Version 1)
Let’s discuss each WiFi adapter in detail:
1. Alfa AWUS036NH
We’ve been using this USB WiFi adapter since BackTrack (before Kali Linux was released), and it’s still one of the best. We can execute our penetration testing activities form a considerable distance because of the long-range signals.
Alfa AWUS036NH is a plug-and-play router that works with any brand 802.11g or 802.11n router using 2.4 GHz wavelength and supports multi-stream and MIMO (multiple input multiple outputs) with a TX data rate of up to 150 MBPS. It also has a clip that we can use to attach this adapter to a laptop id.
Features of Alfa AWUS036NH
The following are the features of Alfa AWUSO36N:
- It is compatible with any brand such as 11b, 802.11g or 802.11n router using 2.4 GHz wave-length.
- Chipset: Atheros AR 9271.
- Supports security protocols: 64/128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA, WPA2, TKIP, AES.
- It is also compatible with Kali Linux (Also in Raspberry Pi) with monitor mode and perfect injection.
2. Alfa AWUS036NEH
Although this Alfa WiFi Adapter is small and compact, it provides an excellent range. It is plug-and-play compatible, so connect it to Kali Linux PC and begin experimenting with WiFi security. In Alfa AWUS036NEH, the antenna is detachable which makes it very portable. With the Raspberry Pi and Kali Linux, we were able to create a portable hacking computer.
The Alfa AWUS036NEH is the best way to go out and red teaming attack. We’ll have an adequate range with the extended high gain WiFi antenna to capture even poor signal WiFi networks. This adapter is small and does not require the usage of a USB cable.
Features of Alfa AWUS036NEH
- It is compact as well as portable.
- It supports monitor mode and packet injection on Kali Linux and Parrot Security on
- Chipset: Ralink RT 3070.
3. Alfa AWUS036NHA-Wirelss B/G/N USB Adapter
There are various others manufacturers of WiFi adapter for Kali Linux, but Alfa is the primary choice of most of the pentesters.
The Alfa AWUS036NHA is compatible with any brand 802.11b/g/n router that uses 2.4 GHz wave-length. It comes with an Atheros chipset and works with most Linux distributions out of the box, including Ubuntu and Kali Linux.
Features of Alfa AWUS036NHA:
The following are the features of the Alfa AWUS036NHA:
- It is compatible with 4Ghz WiFi frequency.
- Atheros AR9271 chipset
- Plug and Play with Kali Linux
- It is compatible with WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA Mixed, WPS wireless security.
- IEEE 802.11/b/g/n Supported WiFi standard
- It offers a good range and coverage with a 4GHz 5dBi dipole antenna.
4. Panda PAU06
Panda’s 300Mbps wireless 802.11n USB Adapter with High Gain Antenna (PAU06) updates our computer’s WiFi interface to the current 802.11n standard. Our computer is capable of communicating wirelessly with any 802.11g/n wireless router at home, coffee shops, etc.
Although the Panda PAU06 is the cheapest WiFi adapter for Kali Linux in this list, it has one drawback; it does not support on the 5GHz frequency.
Features of the Panda PAU06
The following are the features of the Panda PAU06:
- It consumes less power.
- It only supports a 4 GHz frequency.
- Plug and Play with Kali Linux.
- Ralink RT5372
- Supports 64/128bit WEP, WPA and WPA2 (TKIP+AES) wireless security.
- Compatible with 11g or 802.11n router using 2.4GHz frequency.
5. Panda PAU09 N600
Panda is another good brand for WiFi adapters with monitor mode, in addition to Alfa. In 2020, the Panda PAU09 was a nice WiFi adapter to buy. This dual-band plug & play adapter can attack 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz 80.211 a/c/b/g/n WiFi networks. This adaptor has a USB port and two antennas, and it looks fantastic. It can also be broken down into smaller pieces.
Features of Panda PAU09 N600
The followings are the features of PAU09 N600:
- Chipset: Ralink RT5572.
- Panda PAU09 N600 has a USB stand with a 5 feet cable.
- Support monitor mode and packet injection on Kali Linux, Parrot Security even in RPi.
- In Panda PAU09, there is a little bit of a heating issue.
- 2 x 5dBi
6. Alfa AWUS036ACH / AC1200
In Kali Linux 2017.1 update Kali Linux was release a significant update- support for RTL8812AU wireless chipset. Now, Alfa AWUS036ACH is BEAST. Hackers and penetration testers utilize this premium WiFi adapter. It has dual antennas, and dual-band technology (2.4 GHz 300 Mbps/5 GHz 867 Mbps), supports 802.11ac and a, b, g, n.
These antennas are detachable, and if we need more range, we can connect an antenna with greater dbi value and utilize it as a long-range WiFi link, making this one of the best WiFi adapters. This adapter also has a fantastic appearance. This adapter is highly suggested if money is not an issue.
Features of Alfa AWUS036ACH / AC1200
The following are the features of Alfa AWUS036ACH / AC1200:
- Dual-band: 4 GHz and 5 GHz.
- Premium quality at a premium price.
- It supports monitor mode and packet injection on dual-band.
- Chipset: RealTek RTL8812AU.
7. Alfa AWUS1900 / AC1900
This USB WiFi Adapter will elevate our hacking abilities to new heights. As far as WiFi hackers are concerned, this is the greatest WiFi adaptor available. Even if it is a little pricey, it is well worth the money. It supports IEEE 802.11 ac/a/n/g/b standards, which means it can handle 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (dualband), has a USB 3.0 Interface with a Wireless data rate of 600 Mbps for 2.4GHz ad up to 1300Mbps 5 GHz.
Monitor mode and packet injection supported with both bands, and it will be very handy for professional penetration testers. We may also use the screen clip that comes with the box to attach it to our laptop display.
What We Got in the Box?
- 4 x Dual-band antennas
- 1 x USB 3.0 cable
- 1 x Screen clip
- 1 x AWUS1900 Wi-Fi Adapter
- A consistent solution for network congestion!
- 1 x Installation DVD-Rom (doesn’t need on Kali Linux. Plug&Play)
Features of Alfa AWUS1900 / AC1900
The following are the features of Alfa AWUS1900 / AC1900:
- Very long range.
- Dual-band: 4 GHz and 5 GHz.
- It supports both monitor mode & packet injection on a dual band.
- Chipset: RealTek RTL8814AU.
- Premium quality with a high price tag.
8. TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4GHz (Version 1)
This is the best Wi-Fi adapter for Kali Linux beginners. TP-Link N150 TL-WN722N is a low-priced and compact USB Wi-Fi adapter that can be used as a WiFi adaptor to our home desktop PC, a replacement to our laptop’s inbuilt WiFi chipset, or as a handy module during travel. It complies with IEEE 802.11N and has a maximum speed of 150Mbps.
This is a plug-and-play adaptor that works with most Linux distributions, including Kali Linux. It also has a 3 dbi omnidirectional antenna that will increase the transmission/reception range, making it ideal for indoor penetration testing. This is the WiFi adaptor that we used to build my Raspberry Pi Mobile Hacking Station.
Note: The TP-Link N150 TL-WN722N Version 2 and 3 do have some problems connecting with Kali Linux. However, with a little tweaking, it will work. The TP-Link N 150 TL-WN722N V1 is recommended.
Features of the TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4GHz (Version 1)
The following are the features of the TP-LINK TL-WN722N:
- Signal frequency: 2.4 GHz.
- Chipset inside: Atheros AR9271.
- Transmit Power: 20dBm add higher.
- Operating system required: Windows 8.1 32/64bit, Windows 8 32/64but, Windows 7(32/64bits), Windows Vista(32/64bits), Windows XP(32/64bits), Windows 2000, Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Debian.