1:39 - Monday, 21 April 2014

Wireless Network Adapter Manufacturers With Best Linux Compatibility Record?

#Topics: 2014 wireless network adapter compatibale to linux

Just for my own knowledge (and also because we’re going to make a local Fry’s run soon for a bunch of adapters for various desktops), are there any wireless network adapter manufacturers that I should generally stick to for zero hassles?

I Googled and found a bunch of websites with (often outdated or conflicting) lists of specific cards, but I’m hoping for more general rules of thumb, so I’m not always trying to Google for sufficient evidence of a certain card working and sufficiently little evidence of that card not working. (Or at the very least, which such website is most comprehensive, most accurate, and I should heed the most?)

[Just today, I wasted a bunch of time on getting this Trendnet TEW-423PI/A C1.2R working on an Ubuntu 10.04 box - Ubuntu loads rtl8180 drivers, which caused very weak signal and disconnections within 10 minutes. I downloaded and built rtl8185 drivers, and while I have stronger signal, I still get disconnected, albeit less frequently.]

Edimax and Tp-Link are probably the most linux compatible wireless network adapter manufacturers. They are also easy to purchase. For more information about specific models browse this page. When you find something that interests you note the chipset and go to WikiDevi. On the bottom of the main page there are links to specific chipset manufacturers like Ralink, find chipset and on the right there is a link to list of all adapters that use that specific chipset.

Few examples:

  • TP-LINK TL-WN821N v3 and TP-LINK TL-WN822N v2 on chipset Atheros AR9287+AR7010 2,4GHz supported by driver ath9k_htc
  • TP-LINK TL-WN721N and TP-LINK TL-WN722N on chipset Atheros AR9271 supported by driver ath9k_htc
  • TP-LINK TL-WN7200ND, Edimax EW-7711USn and Intellinet Wireless 150N USB Adapter on chipset RALINK RT3070 supported by driver rt2800usb

In case of mini pciE cards you should look for Atheros and Intel products (intellinuxwireless.org).

You can Browse the Certified Hardware catalogue as here

From my personal experience with multiple wireless cards. The best card hands down for the ubuntu desktop is the intel centrino cards. All other cards had connection stability issues and significantly slower speeds. I eventually realized that my laptop never had these issues which prompted me to determine the driver and hardware being used for it’s wireless internet. I found that the laptop was using an intel centrino chip which used the iwlwifi driver. A quick google search for intel centrino cards for desktops and $25 later, I had a fast and stable internet connection using the iwlwifi driver. By fast and stable I mean, no disconnections ever, and wireless speeds up to 54 mbps at a distance of three rooms horizontally and a floor below the wireless router. No other card manufacturer that I have used has even come close to these speeds on an ubuntu desktop.

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