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KALI WIFI Adapter – Which are the best WIFI network adapters for Kali Linux?


Kali Linux works with a limited set of WIFI network adapters, and getting the best network adapter is like black magic.  In the good old days of Backtrack, I would always have recommended a 54 Mbps card from Alfa – called the  Alfa AWUS036H.  This card was amazing… and would pick up 2-3 times as many networks as more powerful cards.  This leads us to the first point about KALI Network adapters – the chipset is more important than the adapter itself.  The Alfa AWUS036H used the Realtek 8187L chipset  – and nothing came close to its performance.  Of course, who wants a 2.4 Ghz, 54 Mbps adapter these days?


Step 1 – Research the Chipset

The chipset is the ultimate decider of whether a network adapter will flunk or be awesome with Kali Linux – choose wisely, as even yours truly has bought an expensive adapter that proved to be utterly useless.

Atheros AR9271
Ralink RT3070
Ralink RT3572
Realtek 8187L (Wireless G adapters)

The reference section links the chipset to drivers.


Step 2 – Use Alfa cards – lazy option

You are humbly introduced to Alfa network cards – Alfa dominate the Penetration Testing scene.   Not all Alfa’s work with Kali on a plug n play basis.. so we still need to be selective.

We are looking for network adapters that can carry out “monitor mode ” and “packet injection”.

If your dream card cannot do this – then backtrack.. backtrack, gedit…


Step 3 – Wardriving Paddles & Antennas

Use wardriving paddles to increase your adapters signal strength.  A rule of thumb here is that every 3 db increase in power, will double your signal strength.  So an Alfa antenna with a 10 db gain – means triple your signal strength.

10 db gain antenna – for 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz networks

alfa 10db antenna

The panel antenna fits onto the Alfa adapters, and costs between £12 and £20.

The wardriving paddle works with only 2.4 Ghz networks, and gives 7 db gain for £11.

I really like using the wardriving paddle, however 2.4 Ghz networks are dying out.

alfa paddle

Step 4 – Current strongest Kali network adapters.

Alfa Network AWUS036NHA – Black Alfa 

alfa black

The AWUS036NHA uses the Atheros AR9271 chipset drivers.  150 Mbps – costs around £20.

alfa nha

alfa nha cyber

alfa nha black

Note the comment about region set to BO.  BO = Bolivia.  There are no radio laws in Bolivia so you can TX at maximum power.


Alfa Network AWUS036NH – Green or Teal Alfa

Comments/test results found:

alfa nh

alfa 36 nh cyber

alfa 36 nh comment

ALFA Network AWUS051NH V2 (Version 2) 2.4/ 5GHz

The AWUS051NH uses the RALink3572 chipset. It’s plug n play in Kali and injection capable.  300 Mbps – costs around £35.

alfaf 51 nh cyber

alfa nh comment

ALFA Network AWUS052NH 2.4/ 5GHz Dual Band 300Mbp/s

This uses the RT3572 chipset and reportedly works with Kali out of the box for G/N/A networks.  However, reports also found it weak when used with Windows.

alfa orange

It looks great too, but is hard to find, therefore costs over £40. I really like the look of this.. but need to find more corroborating evidence regarding its compatibility with Kali – but it’s looking good.

alfa rt3573 chipset

Non Alfa Adapters – TPLink WN 722N

alfa tplink

Non Alfa Adapters – Comfast using AR9271 chipset

alfa comfast

Alfa Adapters –  AWUS036NHR V2  -AVOID!!

Note the chipset – RTL8188RU.  This chipset is known to have issues.

alfa not good

Increasing the signal of your WIFI adapter – this video is so funny and so informative




Last point, am I paid by Alfa networks? No.

Do they provide me with kit to test? No, sadly.  I wish they did.

If you have a wifi network adatper that works with Kali 2 – plug n play  then please let me know.

That’s the trouble with being independent and impartial – no free lunch.





  1. Ellis permalink

    So which one should i go with? lol


    • Hi Ellis,

      Alfa Network AWUS036NHA – Black Alfa – cheap and does the job. Its the one that I bought.
      If you’ve got the cash, then a punt on the ALFA Network AWUS052NH might be fun, if you can get your hands on it. It’s pretty tricky to locate, and you have to get it sent over from Eastern European countries.


  2. Hi, I am working on Kali linux ans I am used the Panda USB Adapter but it is not work properly and some connection issues.
    If i purchased Alfa Network adapter. My problems should be solve or not?


    • Hi Rosa,
      You need a wifi adapter that can inject packets and enter monitor mode, however only a small number of wifi adapters can do these two things. If you bought the Alfa AWUS036NHA adapter, this would get you started with Wifi hacking for around £20. Have fun.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for reply..


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