Choosing a Kali WiFi Adapter

Firstly, i’ve used a lot of WiFi adapters over the years and there are so many choices out there for Kali!

But which ones should you consider?

I’ve put a table below with the adapter, price and chipset, but read further below for some alternatives!

AdapterChipsetPrice
Alfa AWUS036NHAR9271£27.99
Alfa AWUS036NHART 3070£26.39
Alfa AWUS036NEHRT 3070*Not Available*
Panda PAU09 N600RT 5572£86.99
Alfa AWUS036ACHRTL8812AU£50.50
Alfa AC1900RTL8814AU*Not Available*
* All prices correct from Amazon UK at time of writing

With all this choice and fluctuating prices, is there an alternative?

Yes!

The Alternative Wifi Adapter

You can always go for a generic, no name adapter based on chipset….

I bought two of these from aliexpress which I’ll talk through below

AR9271

This is a generic adapter based on the AR9271 chipset.

The cost including delivery? £10.17

It works perfectly with Kali and works just like the Alpha Adapter at less than half the cost, it even looks the same.

So its all good and just get that one yes?

NO!

I’m sure this doesn’t apply to every single “generic adapter” out there, but I can only talk about the one in front of me.

From opening this, it looks like a lot of the parts, mainly the WiFi chip have been recycled. Whilst it doesn’t affect its performance today, I wouldn’t be counting on it to work flawlessly like i would my Alfa.

It’s a trade off for price vs reliability and ultimately, is your choice.

RTL8812AU

Looks sketchy doesn’t it?

That was my impression when I opened this!

But inside is a genuine working RTL8812AU. This one looks like its on a custom dev board and it looks like a recycled chip.

So, my point above applies to this one too.

But, it is what it says and with some drivers and playing around, it works in Kali.

The price for this abomination fabulous piece of engineering?

£12.73

All that being said, it works as it should and works on 5ghz so for that price, you cant complain.

Will it last as long as an Alfa? probably not because when you buy an Alfa, you are buying new.

When it breaks, do I have the same warranty as an Alfa? God no, it would be going in the bin.

Conclusion

It was interesting looking at these Wifi adapters from a Kali specific point.

Do they work? Absolutely! You have to do the same installation for any adapter using RTL8812AU

It comes down to why these matter and why I would buy them.

If you are starting out learning WiFi pentesting, these are a genuine consideration due to cost. Do you need it to last forever, no. But It will do what you need it to in order to get you using the tools and practicing. If or when it breaks, then upgrade to a reputable brand and have that faithful adapter that will be by your side forever.

You can find one for yourself like i did by using Aliexpress and searching for the chipset, dont search for the product names.

Another consideration is shipping, the AR9271 adapter was here in 1 month, the RTL8812AU took 3 months.

To be honest, I gave up on the idea I’d ever see it!

Hope you enjoyed this insight, and as usual, any questions or comments let me know here.

*This post is not sponsored by any company and I have no link with any brand or website mentioned in this post.