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Ultimate Guide of WiFi USB Adapters for Penetration Testing

If you are confused about the different brands, Chipset available for WiFi Adapters when performing WiFi Penetration Testing this guide can help clarify things.

Learn about the different advantages of the WiFi Adapters and watch unboxing Videos.


Ultimate WiFi Adapter Guide Quick Links

Click for complete WiFi Adapter USB LIST

Click for Unboxing Videos

Click for WiFi Adapters Overview videos

Click for WiFi Adapters Performance numbers

Click for WiFi Antenna Arsenal Video


List of WiFi USB Adapters for Penetration Testing

Best WiFi USB Adapters for WiFi Password Recovery Penetration Testing.

All with detachable antennas. So you can unscrew the default 5 dBi and upgrade to 9 dBi, 18 dBi, 24 dBi or larger.


Alfa AWUS036H (1000mW)

AWUS036H Unboxing Video

Based on Realtek8187L - 2.4 GHz

Higher is better:

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score: 6/10 runs very hot

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

Performance test:

Test One

AWUS036H after scanning for 20 minutes it discovered: 80 Networks

Test Two

Alfa AWUS036h 1000 mW RTL8187L:61 Networks

Summary verdict

Alfa AWUS036H wins as the most powerful on 2.4 GHz frequency Wireless G.

The results from the tests are shown with sensitivity differences from the WiFi adapters.

The Alfa AWUS036H is far better beating the closest rival with more than 10 dBm. The only disadvantage of the AWUS036H is the lacking of the Wireless N 5.8 GHz standard.

If there is no requirement for the Wireless N the AWUS036H is the clear winner.

AWUS036H (46) Only limited to Wireless G

The Alfa Adapters are clear best ones with the 1000 mW AWUS036H

AWUS036h get slower over time and run hot.


TP-Link TL-WN722N (100mW)

Based on AR9271 - 2.4 GHz

Higher is better

Injection Score: 5/10

Scanning Range Score: 4/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score: 9/10 is not running hot

Installation: Dongle connects direct in USB port.

Performance test:

TL-WN722N (36)

In the last place comes the TP-Link TL-WN722N.

TPLink TL-WN722N = 59 Networks
TP-LINK WN 722N (USB) 
18 networks detected.

Verdict:

 


Alfa AWUS036NEH (1000mW)

Higher is better

Injection Score: 7/10

Scanning Range Score: 7/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score: 7/10

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

On second place comes the AWUS036NEH it beats the larger more powerful Alfa AWUS036NH. Both WiFi Adapters uses the same chipset RT3070

The AWUS036NEH seems to be stronger and 4x more sensitive than the AWUS036NH.

AWUS036NEH (46)


Alfa AWUS036NH 2000 mW

Higher is better

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score:

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

AWUS036NH (47)

Alfa AWUS036NH (2000mW)

 AWUS036NH

Good packet injection capability

Strong signal and power for most access points.

Will connect to the most access points on Wireless G 2.4 GHz band.

Generated heat.

In another test found. 25 Access Points. 

The AWUSNH uses rt3070 and the


AWUS036NHA (800mW)

Higher is better

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score:

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

Different antennas where used in the test including the Alfa 9dBi antenna, 4 dBi that come with the TL-WN722n.

And standard 5 dBi that comes with all Alfa adapters.

There is a smaller overall effect using the different antennas. The key difference is the WiFi Adapters and chipsets used.

Transmit power is an important indicator. As an example the TL-WN722N with 100mW transmit power is much better than build in laptop WiFi with 25mW.

In the tests the Alfa Cards found clearly more access points compared to the build in Intel Centrino WiFi Adapter and the TP-Link

The Alfa Adapters showed almost the same amount of access points in the test:

Alfa AWUS036NHA (recommended by many.

Very good packet injection.
Had good signal.

Do not get as hot as alfa awus036h.
Compatible with 2W WiFi amplifers.

Cant last at least 2 years with 24/7 usage.

But the AWUSNHA can best deauth & you grab the handshakes even more reliably in low db decibel situations can be as low as 10db.

NHA using daily no issues.

AWUS NHA ar9271 chipsets.

awus036nha


Intel Centrino (35) 0.25 mW

Higher is better

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score:

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

Build in WiFi chipset in Intel based laptops.
Centrino chipsets is not recommended for WiFi Penetration Testing.


AWUS051NH (500mW) 5GHz capable.

Unboxing video of AWUS051NH V1

Based on RT2770 - 5.8 GHz & 2.4 GHz

Higher is better

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score:

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.


AWUS051NH V2

Based on RT3572 - 5.8 GHz & 2.4 GHz

AWUS051NH V2 Unboxing Video

Higher is better

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score:

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

Alfa AWUS051NH v2 802.11n Dual Band 300 mbps Wireless-N USB adapter

Alfa AWUS051NH V2 500 mW = 56 Networks

AWUS050NH after scanning for 20 minutes it discovered: 62 Networks
AWUS051NH after scanning for 20 minutes it discovered: 64 Networks


AWUS036NHR V2 (2000mW)

Higher is better

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score:

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

NHR has bad performance and is not recommended for WiFi Pen testing.
 


COMFAST (AR9271) USB Adapter

Good at packet injection.

Based on AR9271 - 2.4 GHz

Higher is better

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score:

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

USB Atheros XS 721 = 40 Networks

Fast at connecting channels when doing WPS attack.

Same amount networks detected as awus036nha

COMFAST (AR9271) USB DONGLE


KASENS G9000

Kasens G9000 18 dBi 6000 mW RTL8187L = 70 Networks

Based on Realtek8187L - 2.4 GHz

Higher is better

Injection Score: 9/10

Scanning Range Score: 9/10

Bands Supported: 2.4 GHz only

Heat Score:

Installation: Via USB 2.0 cable.

Kasens G9000 18 dBi 6000 mW RTL8187L = 70 Networks


Click for WiFi USB Adapters Unboxing videos:

AWUS036H Unboxing video:

AWUS051NH Version 2 Unboxing

AWUS051NH V1 Unboxing

AWUS036NHV Unboxing

Signal King High Power 38 dBi SK 36000N 2000 mW

 




WiFi Adapters Overview Videos

WiFi Adapters part 1 Overview

WiFi Video part 2 Unboxing


Technical Details & Performance Numbers

Performance scanning with different USB Adapters for WiFi pen testing

2 Min test in the same setup with 18 dBi antenna:

WiFi scanning discovery to find out which adapter can pickup the most networks.

The same USB Cable, Computer, Software and WiFi antenna used in the independent test.

Best for 2.4 GHz scanning, injecting


Signal King High Power 36000N 2000 mW Ralink = 81 Networks

 

WiFiSky 2000 mW RTL8187L = 64 Networks

 

WiFi Adapter Performance test:


Scanning with USB adapter for 20 minutes in the same location:



Based on Realtek8187L - 2.4 GHz


WiFiSky 2000 mW RTL8187L = 64 Networks


Based on Ralink 3070 - 2.4 GHz

Signal King High Power 36000N 2000 mW Ralink = 81 Networks


Based on RTL8192CU - 2.4 GHz

Asus USB-n13 Revision b1

TP-LINK TL-WN8200ND


 

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