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

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Hacking a Wi-Fi network using Kali Linux needs a wireless card that support monitor mode and packet injection. Not all wireless cards support them. So i have brought you a list of the best wireless network adapters for Wi-Fi hacking in 2018.

Kali Linux is by far the best supported hacking distribution for beginners.

Chipsets Supported by Kali Linux:

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
  • Ralink RT3070
  • Ralink RT3572
  • Realtek 8187L (Wireless G adapters)
  • Realtek RTL8812AU (newly in 2017)
  • Ralink RT5370N

Adapters That Use the Ralink RT3070 Chipset

The Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4 GHz

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 or Paddle antenna to create a directional array.

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The Alfa AWUS036NEH 2.4 GHz

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.

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The Panda PAU05 2.4 GHz

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.

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Adapters That Use the Atheros AR9271 Chipset

The Alfa AWUS036NHA 2.4 GHz

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 is a stable, fast, and well-supported b/g/n wireless network adapter.

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The TP-LINK TL-WN722N 2.4 GHz

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!

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Adapters That Use the RT3572 Chipset

The Alfa AWUS051NH Dual Band 2.4 GHz & 5.8 GHz

While the previous adapters have been 2.4 GHz only, the AWUS051NH is a dual band adapter that is also compatible with 5 GHz networks. While slightly pricier, the dual-band capacity and compatibility with 802.11n draft 3.0 and 802.11a/b/g wireless standards make this a more advanced option.

Adapters That Use the Ralink RT5370N Chipset

The Detroit DIY Electronics Wifi Antenna For Raspberry Pi

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

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Adapters That Use the Realtek RTL8812AU Chipset (New)

The Alfa AWUS036ACH 802.11ac AC1200 Wide-Range USB 3.0 Wireless Adapter with External Antenna

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.

Buy from Amazon

Wireless G Only USB Adapters Using the Realtek 8187L Chipset

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The following USB adapters use an older chipset that is less useful and will not pick up as many networks. These cards still will work against some networks, so I’ve included mine that’s worked for over five years.

The Alfa AWUS036H USB 2.4 GHz

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The equivalent to an old Honda or Toyota, these adapters just keep kicking. These are great for beginners, and there are a ton around. While they only offer 802.11b/g compatibility, they continue to be useful.

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