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.