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Check Wi-Fi network card monitor mode and packet injection

How to know the chipset of the Wi-Fi network card installed in the computer

If we have already bought a Wi-Fi network card and we want to verify if it supports monitor mode and packet injection, the simplest thing is to search the Internet for the chipset corresponding to our card model, with the exact model of the chipset we can search if it supports or not monitor mode.

Check the hardware revision of the Wi-Fi card

A very important detail is that manufacturers release different hardware revisions for the same card model, that is, it is possible that, if you have a specific model, the manufacturer has released a total of three hardware versions. It is also very possible that the first hardware version did support monitor mode due to its chipset, and the rest of the versions did not, therefore, we must also take into account the hardware version of the device. In another article we talked about the compatibility of the network card with 5GHz.

Where can we find the hardware version of our device? We can usually find this information on the product box, right next to the typical barcode of the equipment. Here you can see that the hardware version is “V1.0 B”.

On the Wi-Fi card itself we will also find the hardware version on the sticker that we can find on the back of said Wi-Fi card, as you can see below, the “H / W Ver: A1” is the version hardware:

How to know the chipset of a Wi-Fi card in Windows and Linux

Manufacturers do not usually provide information about the chipset that a certain device uses, therefore we will have to find out. Although the vast majority of Wi-Fi cards use chipsets from the manufacturer Realtek, there are some Realtek models that do support monitor mode, and there are other models that do not.

If we have a Microsoft Windows operating system, we can see the chipset model directly from “Device Manager” in “Control Panel”:

Next, we double click on the Wi-Fi card that we have installed in the system, and we go to the «Details» section and select «ID. Hardware«:

The ID. Hardware will allow us to know the exact model of the card and by doing a Google search of said chain we will be able to see the information of our chipset. That is, we simply have to copy “USBVID_0CF3 & PID_9271 & REV_0108” in Google and do the search to find out the chipset it uses. We can also install additional software to know this information such as DriverIdentifier or AIDA64.

If you are using a Linux-based operating system such as Debian, you will be able to use the “lspci” commands to check the devices connected to the PCI, and “lsusb” to see the devices connected via USB, since the network cards Wi-Fi can be PCI and USB.

For example, if we put the previous Wi-Fi card in a Debian 9, we can see this output from «lsusb», where it directly indicates the model of the «Atheros AR9271» chipset.

A direct way to know if it supports monitor mode is to install the aircrack-ng suite in our distribution, or to use distributions aimed at Wi-Fi audits such as WifiSlax or Kali Linux that is already pre-installed. Once we have it installed, to see if it supports monitor mode we execute «airmon-ng»On our Linux distribution.

How to know the chipset of the Wi-Fi network card BEFORE you buy it

To know the chipset of a Wi-Fi network card before buying it, we must pay close attention to the hardware revision it has. We recommend access the Wikidevi website where we are going to have a large database with Wi-Fi card models with their corresponding hardware versions, in this way, we will know in detail which hardware version a certain Wi-Fi chipset uses, and looking for information about said Wi-Fi chipset -Fi we will know if it will support monitor mode or not. However, you must take into account a very important aspect, and that is that it is possible that the latest hardware version is C and it is compatible with monitor mode, but then however, when you buy it online at Amazon or similar, the version of hardware is B because they are still scrapping stock.

On the Acrylic WiFi official website you can see the main USB Wi-Fi cards with monitor mode support in Windows, although in many cases if it supports monitor mode in Windows it also supports it in Linux systems. In the WifiSlax official website You can see which adapters are compatible with this distribution for Wi-Fi audits.

We recommend you access our section of Wi-Fi card analysis where you will find the latest models on the market.

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Test and evaluation of this Wi-Fi Bluetooth card

Main Features of the ASUS PCE-AC58BT PCIe card

This new PCIe card incorporates Wi-Fi selectable dual band, and also has Bluetooth 5.0, ideal to equip our desktop computer with the two wireless technologies par excellence. This model is specifically aimed at home users who want to equip their desktop PC with a PCIe card with high-performance Wi-Fi, and with the latest Bluetooth standard.

This ASUS PCE-AC58BT is capable of achieving a speed up to 300Mbps in the 2.4GHz band thanks to its two external antennas in MIMO 2T2R configuration. However, the star feature of this new Wi-Fi card is that we can get in the 5GHz band speed up to 1733Mbps, thanks to the use of Wi-Fi AC with 160MHz channel width. If your router does not support channel widths of 160Mhz, you will achieve a maximum speed of 867Mbps, since we only have two external antennas.

Other important features of this model is that has technologies such as Beamforming, ideal to get the best wireless coverage from the main router, and we also have MU-MIMO in the 5GHz band, so that the overall performance of the 5GHz wireless network increases, as long as the router supports MU-MIMO and the rest of the clients as well.

Unlike other ASUS models, this model has a Wi-Fi base with the two external antennas, and what do I know connect to the card itself with the typical RP-SMA connector, but this Wi-Fi base is not optional, but we must use it obligatorily, unless we buy dual antennas separately and place them on the ASUS PCE-AC58BT card itself. Finally, this new model has Bluetooth 5.0, the latest revision of the popular wireless standard for connecting smartphones, tablets and other devices wirelessly.

This ASUS PCE-AC58BT PCIe card is compatible with Microsoft Windows operating systems, including Windows 10, and even with Linux systems, since the chipset used by this model is the Intel 9260NGW.

ASUS PCE-AC58BT PCIe card test and rating

In RedesZone we have carried out an in-depth analysis of this new PCIe card that incorporates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, you will be able to see in detail all the technical characteristics, how to mount this PCIe card in our desktop computer, and the real performance that we have achieved in tests. You can see the ASUS PCE-AC58BT card review then:

We recommend visit our section dedicated to the manufacturer ASUS where you will find all the analysis of ASUS network devices published so far. In another article we show the changes in Bluetooth 5.2.

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AC600 Wi-Fi adapter with 3dBi antenna

This new TP-LINK Archer T2UH is able to get a speed up to 150Mbps on the 2.4GHz band thanks to its external antenna in MIMO 1T1R configuration, in the 5GHz band we can achieve a speed of up to 433Mbps thanks to Wi-Fi AC technology. Therefore, we are facing an AC600 Wi-Fi device (150Mbps + 433Mbps). This Wi-Fi adapter also incorporates a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button to connect to the main router or access point by simply pressing the button.

The external antenna, in addition to being high gain (3dBi), is detachable, so we could incorporate another antenna with higher gain. It is compatible with all current encryption such as WEP, WPA and WPA2 and also supports all Microsoft operating systems from Windows XP to Windows 8.1.

Another important feature is that this new card has a 1 meter length USB 2.0 extension cable, in this way we can put the device in an optimal place to get the best coverage, this cable is especially designed for users who want to use this card in desktop computers.

The price of this new Wi-Fi adapter is € 34.90. We recommend you access the TP-LINK official website where you will find all the technical details about this new device.

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What type of Wi-Fi AC cards are best?

Wi-Fi cards with PCIe interface

The main characteristics of Wi-Fi cards with a PCIe interface is that their antennas are removable and external. All the cards incorporate RP-SMA connectors to screw the antennas directly onto the card, this is good for performance but at the same time bad:

  • If the desktop computer is boxed in, placing the antennas directly on the PCIe card will prevent us from receiving good coverage, therefore it is not ideal to do so.
  • If the desktop computer is not boxed in and is on a table, it is ideal to avoid losing signal through the antenna cables.

Some manufacturers incorporate together with the cards an antenna base, this antenna base is the one that has the RP-SMA male connectors, and in turn some RP-SMA female connectors that are screwed directly. This is ideal, since we will have the option of using this antenna base if the computer is boxed in, and if it is not, we can connect the external antennas directly.

ASUS PCE-AC88 Wi-Fi card with its antenna base

Another positive aspect of Wi-Fi PCIe cards is that thanks to their external antennas, they generally achieve better wireless performance than cards with a USB 3.0 interface, which are much smaller.

If we are going to connect in places near the access point or wireless router, both solutions are perfect, since the difference is minimal (if we use the same Wi-Fi AC class of clear card). We have a clear example on the card ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 and the card ASUS PCE-AC68 AC1900Both cards are of the same class and in places close to the access point they achieve a similar performance, however, as we move away the difference in favor of PCIe increases considerably.

Performance with the ASUS RT-AC87U router in the 2.4GHz band:

ASUS RT-AC87U 2.4GHz Adjoining Room Downstairs room Storage room
ASUS PCE-AC68 AC1900 Synchro: 600Mbps Speed: 25.2MB / s Synchro: 540Mbps Speed: 21.7MB / s Synchro: 243Mbps Speed: 20.6MB / s
ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 Synchro: 600Mbps Speed: 29.5MB / s Synchro: 260Mbps Speed: 17.2MB / s Synchro: 135Mbps Speed: 14.2MB / s

Performance with the ASUS RT-AC87U router in the 5GHz band:

ASUS RT-AC87U 5GHz Adjoining Room Downstairs room Storage room
ASUS PCE-AC68 AC1900 Synchro: 1053Mbps Speed: 47.9MB / s Synchro: 702Mbps Speed: 48.1MB / s Synchro: 526.5Mbps Speed: 40.1MB / s
ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900 Synchro: 1300Mbps Speed: 45.6MB / s Synchro: 585Mbps Speed: 17.9MB / s Synchro: 195Mbps Speed: 9.1MB / s

As you can see, in nearby places the performance is very similar, but as we move away the performance difference increases.

Regarding the negative aspects, we can highlight that we cannot always use PCIe cards, for example in a laptop we will not be able to puncture the card, it would only be in desktop computers and with a free PCIe port. Another very important handicap is that you have to disassemble the computer, locate the PCIe port and puncture the card, many users do not know how to do it and it is much more complicated than cards with a USB 3.0 interface.

Another negative aspect is their price, they usually cost considerably more than a similar model with a USB 3.0 interface, although it depends on the manufacturers and models.

Wi-Fi cards with USB 3.0 interface

The main characteristic of this type of card is that its installation is really easy, just simply insert it into a free USB 3.0 port and that would be it, the installation of drivers is also very easy, and the Windows 10 operating system automatically detects and installs all of them. the drivers, without having to download and install the manufacturer’s.

View of the D-Link DWA-182 adapter without the USB cap and with the extension cable

Thanks to the ease of installation, these types of cards are the most popular since they can be installed by everyone. Also, if we have a laptop with Wi-Fi N, we can update it using these USB 3.0 Wi-Fi cards by connecting it to a USB port, something that the PCIe do not allow for obvious reasons. Another positive aspect is that these types of cards are really cheap compared to PCIe.

The negative part we have in the performance in remote places, due to its internal antennas it is difficult to obtain good wireless performance. However, manufacturers such as ASUS and Edimax have launched USB Wi-Fi cards with external detachable and deployable antennas, in this way, they try to match the performance of PCIe.

Card size comparison Detail view of the drop-down antennas ASUS USB-AC68 USB Wi-Fi card with other AC1200 Wi-Fi

Which Wi-Fi card is right for me?

We cannot give a final answer to this question, because it depends. It depends on your needs, your budget and your knowledge. In the following table you can see our recommendation in relation to some conditions:

CONDITIONS / TYPE PCIe card USB card
Maximum performance X
Price doesn’t matter X
I connect very close to the router X
I connect away from the router X
I don’t know how to mount a PCIe card X
I want to use it on my laptop X

We recommend visit our Wi-Fi adapter analysis section where you will find both analysis of PCIe cards and USB 3.0 cards.

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The best AC USB Wi-Fi cards of 2017 to get the most out of your Wi-Fi network

The Wi-Fi cards that we are going to recommend below have not only passed through our test laboratory, but we have been using several of them since they were released, so we have tested them with multiple Wi-Fi routers.

High-end Wi-Fi cards: Wi-Fi AC1750 or higher

The most advanced Wi-Fi USB 3.0 cards that will provide the best performance are those with three antennas in MIMO 3T3R configuration. Thanks to these antennas, we can achieve a speed of up to 450Mbps or 600Mbps in the 2.4GHz band, and a speed of up to 1,300Mbps in the 5GHz band thanks to Wi-Fi AC technology.

Edimax EW-7833UAC AC1750

This Wi-Fi card is Wi-Fi class AC1750 (up to 450Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,300Mbps in the 5GHz band), therefore, it incorporates three antennas, although one of those antennas is deployable to achieve a extra speed when we are in places far from the access point or Wi-Fi router. The price of this card is around 50-60 euros, but it is a recommended purchase if you have an AC1750 class router or higher.

ASUS USB-AC68 AC1900

This Wi-Fi card is the ASUS manufacturer’s solution to provide the highest possible performance via Wi-Fi to a PC or laptop. This card also incorporates three antennas, two of them are deployable and the manufacturer has also incorporated a USB 3.0 base to place the USB Wi-Fi card vertically and always achieve optimal coverage. Although in performance tests it performed very well, the driver should be better so as not to have random signal drops that weigh down the good harvested performance. In our in-depth analysis you have all the details.

ASUS_USB-AC68_AC1900_intro

Mid-range Wi-Fi cards: AC1200 Wi-Fi

The best value for money USB 3.0 Wi-Fi cards are those with two antennas in MIMO 2T2R configuration. Thanks to these antennas, we will be able to achieve a speed of up to 300Mbps or 400Mbps in the 2.4GHz band, and a speed of up to 867Mbps in the 5GHz band thanks to Wi-Fi AC technology. If you don’t need to get extra wireless performance, we definitely recommend purchasing one of these models, since they are worth half or less when compared to the AC1750.

TP-Link Archer T4U AC1200

This Wi-Fi card from the manufacturer TP-Link is one of the best that we have tested to date. It has been with us for a long time, but the performance it is capable of providing is excellent, the coverage it is capable of receiving is also very good, and it has a ridiculous price, only 26 euros. If you want to know what it is like and what it is capable of, we recommend you read our full analysis.

tp-link_t4u_intro

D-Link DWA-182 AC1200

This Wi-Fi card together with the TP-Link Archer T4U are the two best that we have tested, this model traces in technical specifications to the previous model, but it is also in the performance achieved over years. Both cards have a full-blown technical tie, and in price there is not much difference either since this model costs only 30 euros.

d-link_dwa-182_open

ASUS USB-AC56 AC1300

This Wi-Fi card is superior to the previous two in terms of technical specifications, since it has TurboQAM in the 2.4GHz band, so we can achieve additional performance in this frequency band. Another very interesting feature is that it has a high gain external antenna, and it comes with a USB 3.0 base to place it vertically and obtain the best possible performance. If you are willing to pay 20 euros more for a somewhat better performance (especially horizontally) and the USB base to place it in the best possible place, this model is the one.

asus_usb-ac56_introduction

We recommend visit our Wi-Fi adapter analysis section where you will find both analysis of PCIe cards and USB 3.0 cards. You can also visit other comparisons to buy the best network devices: