Here is my list of Top 5 WiFi adapters that can be used on the Raspberry Pi and Linux without any issues. I have personally tested all of these wireless adapters and decided to rate them on my experiences. Since I enjoy using tools like aircrack-ng for hacking WiFi access points, all of the WiFi adapters I have listed are able to be used in interface and ad-hoc modes, which lets you run them in monitor mode as well as being able to use the adapter as an access point. Lets cut to the chase.
5. Realtek 8191 WiFi Adapter
I got this WiFi adapter for my parents who needed a wireless connection for their desktop computer in a spare bedroom they use as their computer room. It’s been working with no major issues or speed concerns however my parents have complained that it will freeze up and they have to plug the USB adapter out and in again to get it to work. This doesn’t happen often but often enough that I replaced it with a better adapter.
If you need something cheap and for basic connectivity this may be the WiFi adapter for you. It usually sells for around $10 and that’s including shipping which you can’t beat for the price.
4. Etekcity Wireless N WiFi Dongle
The Etekcity WiFi adapter is pretty decent for its price. It’s a true 802.11 N WiFi adapter because it works on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi signals. I found that the range is decent enough to pick up your neighbors signal about half a block away. It comes with 2 6dBi antennas to work on both wavelengths.
It will work with 802.11 b/g/n and has a transmission rate up to 300Mbps. The WiFi adapter is compatible with WEP 64/128, WPA/WPA2, & WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK security.
The Etekcity WiFi adapter usually sells for under $20 and works well with the Raspberry Pi.
3. Alfa 1000mW High Power AWUS036H
The Alpha AWUS036H WiFi adapter is one of the most popular choices for pen-testing and connecting to your WIFi at home. It has great range and can pick up signals up to a block away without much loss. It also includes settings for increasing the power of the WiFi signal to connect to networks further away.
When you purchase from Amazon there are a few choices that you can buy. Some of them come with a holder and flex cable which are not necessary. I bought the model that comes with the 5dBi and 7dBi antennas. The 7dBi antenna is a directional antenna meaning it can get better signals depending on which way it’s facing. The reviews for the 9dBi antenna are not the best, so I personally wouldn’t recommend it. The only other downfall with the Alfa AWUS036H is it is not compatible is 802.11 N signals, which may be an issue if a network is setup for only 802.11N
If you are looking for a WiFi adapter that works perfectly on the Raspberry Pi and has great reviews then you can’t go wrong with the Alfa AWUS036H WiFi adapter
2. Panda Wireless PAU06 300Mbps N USB Adapter
The Panda PAU06 is one of the first WiFi adapters I have used with the Raspberry Pi. It works with no issue and doesn’t require any software to be installed on the Raspberry Pi. The WiFi adapter has been very reliable and I use it a lot.
The Panda PAU06 WiFi adapter comes with an external antenna which works well. The range on this adapter is a little short of the Alfa AWUS036H. It may not pick up as many networks as the Alfa, but the networks it does pick up are very reliable and you do not get many dropped signals when you are connected to a network further away.
The only issue I have with this WiFi adapter is when you plug it into your USB port while the Raspberry Pi is running it will draw too much current and restart your Raspberry Pi. After it has been plugged in it will not reset your Raspberry Pi and works perfectly.
1. TP-LINK TL-WN722N N150 High Gain USB Adapter
This is my best pick for the WiFi adapter of the year for the Raspberry Pi. It works great, sets up in seconds and is plug and play. It uses the Atheros AR9271 chipset which is very reliable and has a lot of support for linux. It has great reception and can seek out signals far away. It is very stable once it is connects to a network and has virtually no signal loss.
It works with 802.11 b/g/n wireless networks, which is the standard now. The price is usually under $12 which can’t be beat. The only downfall with the TP-Link TL-WN722N wireless adapter is that it can only transmit up to 150Mbps. This shouldn’t be a problem for many users and you most likely will not even notice the slower speeds unless you are transferring files onto your network.
For under $12 and great connectivity and options the TP-Link TL-WN722N wireless adapter is my pick for best WiFi adapter for the Raspberry Pi in 2016.