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5 Linux compatible USB wireless adapters – 2012

written by Anand August 21, 2012

Couple months back I wrote a post on how to fix wireless problems in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS release. Although I listed a few good Linux compatible USB wireless adapters that work, several readers emailed me asking if I could a bit more detailed list. In this post, I am going do a basic review and compatibility check of best Linux compatible USB wireless adapters. This is a follow up post to my previous post, in which I looked at Ubuntu compatible USB wireless adapters. While there are numerous cards that may work in Linux, covering all of them is beyond the scope of this review. I am going to concentrate on just 5 USB wireless adapters that I think are among the best of the currently available models. Listed below 5 are Linux compatible USB wireless adapters that work on Linux (Ubuntu and Fedora) without the need for any configuration, compilation, driver-installation, etc. (plug-and-play). For best Mini PCIe Wifi cards that work on Linux, check this post.

Linux compatible USB wireless adapters

Medialink – Wireless N USB Adapter – 802.11n


Another highly rated Linux-compatible USB wireless card. Key features include:

  • 150Mbps data transfer rate
  • USB 2.0
  • Docking Station Included with Attached 3ft USB Extension Cable for Desktop Convenience
  • Security Protocols: WPA/WPA2, 64/128/152-bit WEP

AirLink101 AWLL6075 Wireless N Mini USB Adapter

Linux compatible USB wireless adapters
I have had positive experience with this card and it is definitely one of the top Linux compatible USB wireless adapters. Just plugin, wait for a few seconds, and that is it; you are now ready to connect to your wireless network. Key features include:

  • Standards IEEE 802.11b / g / n
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Transimitting: Up to 150Mbps
  • Receiving: Up to 300Mbps
  • Security: WPA2/WPA-PSK (AES, TKIP) WEP 64, 128-bit

Panda Mini Wifi (b/g/n) 150Mbps Card


Panda Mini Wifi works in the 2.4 GHz range is compatible all major OSes including Linux. Key features include:

  • 802.11 b/g/n
  • 150 Mbps
  • USB 2.0
  • Security: WEP 64/128bit, WPA and WPA2

ASUS (USB-N13) Wireless-N USB Adapter


The second of only two 300 Mbps capable USB wireless adapter reviewed in this post. This is also one of the most purchased Linux compatible USB wireless adapters. Key features include:

  • 300 Mbps
  • Wireless N
  • USB 2.0
  • Security Protocols: WPA/WPA2, 64/128/152-bit WEP

TP-Link TL-WN722N 150Mbps High Gain Wireless USB Adapter


TP-Link has an omni-directional detachable external antenna that improves connectivity. Key features include:

  • 150Mbps wireless transmission rate
  • Compatible with 802.11b/g/n devices
  • USB 2.0
  • Security WEP 64/128bit, WPA and WPA2

Linux compatible USB wireless adapters – Final Thoughts

Among the 5 Linux compatible USB wireless adapters listed above, only ASUS (USB-N13) Wireless-N USB Adapter and AirLink101 AWLL6075 Wireless N Mini USB Adapter support up to 300 Mbps. If this is a concern for you then you may choose one of these two cards. I hope this helps.

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14 comments

Nick February 14, 2013 - 12:52 pm

Are these Linux compatible USB wireless adapters, compatible with both 32bit and 64bit Linux, or just 32bit? Could not see that mentioned in your article

Thanks.

Reply
Anand February 14, 2013 - 1:50 pm

64 bit should be OK (I tried these on my 64 bit 12.04).

Reply
jameda80 July 5, 2014 - 2:06 pm

Hi,

Will these usb adapters work on Linux Mint.

Thanks Ed.

Reply
Anand July 6, 2014 - 7:30 am

Of course they will as Mint is based on Ubuntu. I have used some of them on Mint 15 and later.

Reply
Ed July 6, 2014 - 8:35 am

Thank you for your reply Anand I will try one.

Ed

Reply
joycelyn October 23, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Those are some excellent linux compatible cards! The TP-Link TL-WN722N card is extra interesting because it has a detachable antenna. With that feature it is really simple to increase the card’s powers by screwing on a larger antenna — a 9 dBi really makes that card scream! And, if long range is a goal I actually made a page at rooftopbazaar.com/wirelesscards/ that compares four popular and powerful linux wireless cards. Maybe it can help you too!
Joycelyn.

Reply
Greg February 8, 2015 - 2:45 pm

Exactly zero of which are available at TIger Direct, of course.

PS don’t waste your time with the Hiro H50191 — unless you’re OK with 4 Mbit/sec. It uses a multiply-assigned USB device ID, and linux loads the incorrect driver for it.

Reply
Bigtexun March 13, 2015 - 2:53 pm

Also it would be helpful to mention which driver/chipset each of the recommendations use, as that information is critical to the successful use of your recommendations by people using some of the lightweight linux distributions that may not include every driver Ubuntu ships with.

And not to beat a dead horse, but most wireless card models span more than one hardware version, and many manufacturers will change driver/chipsets without changing the model number… so knowing which hardware versions have which chipsets is vital information. Most card makers target windows machines, so the changing chipset options have little impact as the chip makers are ALSO targeting windows pc’s… so the linux driver problem simply doesn’t exist for those vendors.

Reply
Vijay March 9, 2016 - 8:06 am

Hi,
I have a Sony Bravia TV KDL55EX630 which doesn’t have a wireless adapter. I brought a wireless 150Mbps adapter but seems this wireless adapter is not compatible. Could you please advise if this wireless adapter can be made compatible for TV?
thanks,

Reply
Alejandro March 10, 2016 - 7:11 pm

Hello, thanks for commenting. I should know what adapter is it you’re using, in order to provide a meaningful answer.

Could you please post this issue in our HTPCBeginner Support Forum? It will be easier for you to get assistance over there. Thanks!

Reply
Imo May 31, 2016 - 7:35 pm

Which product can support linux ubuntu 12.04 32 bit?

Reply
Alejandro June 3, 2016 - 11:27 am

I think any of these could suit you. This article was written after Ubuntu 12.04 was released. If you can, though, I would suggest using a more recent version of Ubuntu. Check this out: Screenshot Guide: Install Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus

Reply
Dantu June 14, 2016 - 9:35 am

Will these cards work on CentOS 7.x ? I run CentOS 7 on mini-desktop for Squid Proxy needs. Appreciate your help.

Reply
Alejandro July 3, 2016 - 12:08 pm

Indeed most of these cards seem to work on CentOS 7.x; however I would advice you to run a more detailed research on the card you want, and seeing if it fits your needs.

Reply

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