Best USB WiFi Adapters for Kali Linux

Best USB WiFi Adapters for Kali Linux

If you are a penetration testing enthusiast, you might already know the terms like Monitor Mode, Promiscuous Mode and Packet Injection. During your penetration testing journey, you might need a wireless network adapter supporting the technologies such as monitor mode and packet injection.
For those who don’t know what monitor mode, promiscuous mode and packet injection are, let me give a brief introduction.

Monitor Mode

Monitor mode allows a computer’s wireless network adapter to monitor all traffic received on a wireless channel without having to associate with the access point first. The Monitor mode is only applicable on wireless NICs and it also known as RFMON (Radio Frequency MONitor) mode.

Promiscuous Mode

Promiscuous mode allows a wired or wireless network interface controller (NIC) to listen for all the frames that are sent or received on a network. The Promiscuous mode is applicable on both wired and wireless networks. This mode is normally used for packet sniffing and requires you to connect to the network before you can start sniffing. This mode usually requires some packet analysis software such as Wireshark or Capsa to analyze the captured frames.

Packet Injection

Packet injection is the process of interfering with a network connection which is already established by constructing the packets that appears to be a part of the normal communication stream. The packet injection allows a malicious user to intercept the packets from the communicating parties, which can lead to degradation or blockage of legit users’ ability to utilize the network services. It commonly used in man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.

USB WiFi Adapters compatible with Kali Linux

Below are some best USB wireless adapters supporting monitor mode, promiscuous mode, and packet injection that you can use with Kali Linux to learn and practice ethical hacking and penetration testing.

1. Alfa AWUS036ACH [Type-C]

Alfa AWUS036ACH is a long-range dual-band 802.11ac wireless USB [Type-C] Wi-Fi adapter with 2x 5dBi external antennae. It provides throughput up to 300Mbps (with 2.4GHz) and up to 867Mbps (with 5.0GHz).



  • Chipset: Realtek RTL8812AU
  • Wireless Type: 802.11ac with dual bands (2.4GHz/5.0Ghz)
  • Supported by Kali Linux 2017.1 and higher
  • Supports aircrack-ng, monitor mode, packet injection
  • 2x 5dBi high-gain detachable antennae
  • USB Type-C female connector (cable included)

2. Alfa AWUS036NHA

Alfa AWUS036NHA is a single-band 802.11/b/g/n wireless USB Wi-Fi adapter with 1x 5dBi dipole antenna. It supports Atheros AR9271 chipset which provides throughput up to 150Mbps with 2.4GHz.



  • Chipset: Atheros AR9271
  • Wireless Type: 802.11/b/g/n with single-band (2.4GHz)
  • Natively supported by Kali Linux – no drivers needed
  • Supports aircrack-ng, monitor mode, packet injection
  • 1x 5dBi dipole antenna
  • USB 2.0 female connector (cable included)

3. Alfa AWUS036ACS

Alfa AWUS036ACS is 802.11ac AC600 wireless network adapter which is affordable and offers a wide coverage. It supports dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) wireless with throughput up to 433Mbps and is compatible with Kali Linux, Windows and MacOS.



  • Chipset: Realtek RTL8811AU
  • Wireless Type: 802.11ac with dual-band (2.4GHz/5.0Ghz)
  • Supported by Kali Linux, Windows, MacOS
  • Supports aircrack-ng, monitor mode, packet injection
  • 1x 2dBi detachable antenna
  • USB 2.0 connector

4. Panda PAU06

Panda PAU06 is a wireless N USB adapter with high gain antenna upgrades the WiFi interface on your computer to the latest 802.11n standard. It supports 2.4GHz wireless with throughput up to 300Mbps. It is small in size and does not require any additional cable like Alfa adapters which makes it easier to carry.

Panda PAU06


  • Chipset: Ralink RT5372
  • Wireless Type: 802.11/b/g/n with single-band (2.4GHz)
  • Supported by Kali Linux, Windows, Raspberry Pi
  • Supports aircrack-ng, monitor mode, packet injection
  • 1x high gain detachable antenna
  • USB 2.0 connector

Final Verdict

In my opinion, Alfa AWUS036ACH is the best choice since it comes with 2x 5dBi external antennae for long-range and a dual-band wireless. But if you’re specifically looking for a WiFi adapter running an Atheros chipset, you can buy Alfa AWUS036NHA.

All the wireless adapters listed on this article are tested to work with Kali Linux. The price and availability is subject to change with your location. If you’re already using one of these and want to share your feedback, please leave a comment.

Microsoft Certified | Cisco Certified

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