Best Wireless Adapters Compatible With Kali Linux (2017 Review)
Last updated: July 25 2017
Today I'll be reviewing the best wireless adapters compatible with Kali Linux, and which one you should buy for effective wifi hacking.
Before I begin, there's something you should know:
Both modes are required if you want to hack wireless networks or engage in wardriving.
Unlike many articles on the web, I won't just be showing you a list of adapters to choose from.
I narrowed down your choices by actually buying and reviewing the top 3, best performing wifi adapters for Kali Linux, and I'll be sharing my experiences with each one here.
So by the end of this post, you should know which adapter you should purchase.
In 2017, the best performing wireless adapters for Kali Linux are:
Keep on reading to read my reviews about each one.
Chipsets Compatible With Kali Linux
Before you buy, check the chipset!
The chipset is important as it will determine if the adapter supports packet injection or monitor mode.
It needs to use one of the following chipsets listed below. These are the only ones currently known to support both modes required for wireless hacking.
- Atheros AR9271
- Ralink RT3070
- Ralink RT3572
Packet injection vs Monitor Mode
To put simply, monitor mode is used to capture air traffic and packet injection is used to transmit data to a network/devices.
What is Monitor Mode?
Monitor mode allows you to capture data sent and received by wireless devices/networks nearby.
Without it, you can't see who's connected and what's happening in a network.
What is Packet Injection?
Packet injection allows you to craft and inject or send data to wireless devices/networks nearby.
Without it, you can't control or manipulate what's happening in a network.
If your adapter supports packet injection, it should also support monitor mode. But some adapters will support monitor mode but not packet injection. All adapters listed in this review support both.
How To Identify WiFi Adapter Chipset
If you have an adapter but you're not sure what chipset it uses, here's how to find out on Linux:
NOTE: You need to have aircrack-ng installed on Kali Linux or Ubuntu.
- Install aircrack-ng suite
- Run airmon-ng
sudo apt-get install aircrack-ng
PRO TIP: You can also use the "lsusb" command which shows you information about your USB ports and the devices connect to them, as well as the chipset used by a network adapter.
Best Wireless Adapters Compatible With Kali Linux
As a final test, I wanted to see which adapter can successfully capture handshakes passively (without forcing a client to reconnect). So, I had all three adapters configured to listen in on the same channel and I left them airodump-ing for 24 hours.
As seen in the image above, the TL-WN722N was able to capture 6 while the AWUS036NHA captured 3.
If you're wondering why the AWUS036NH is not up there, it's because it wasn't able to capture any handshakes.
I'm currently running more tests, I'll keep you guys posted.
Overall. The TP-LINK TL-WN722N is my preferred wifi adapter for hacking in Kali Linux.
My second best goes to the ALFA AWUS036NHA (the black one). After having tested both ALFA adapters side by side, it showed me the most results. Today, I only use the AWUS036NH for wardriving sessions.
Did you find this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments below!
What I learned from this test:
1. For effective wifi hacking, use multiple adapters, one specifically for listening and another for attacking.
2. When listening for handshakes, always specify the channel the target is on. If you're using airodump-ng, you can do this by adding "-c" then channel number (eg. airodump-ng wlan0 -c <#>).
3. Using an ALFA long-range antenna on the TL-WN722N will significantly improve its range and performance.
If you want to see how I'm using these adapters, check out my Instagram where I share quick video tips and tricks for Kali Linux users.