LEDE Raspberry Pi Compatible WiFi Adapters

Just thought I'd post my findings on LEDE (ROOter GoldenOrb_2017-07-01 Build) compatible USB WiFi adapters. I had trouble finding this information anywhere, so I'm posting the results of my own testing on several adapters using my Raspberry Pi 2. I'd encourage anybody to reply to this post with other working adapters and their chipsets. Non-working adapter information is useful too.

BTW, the ROOter LEDE kernel is slightly behind the main LEDE fork and doesn't have its own repository so no kernel packages can be added. As such, whatever Ethernet or WiFi adapters it supports are fixed between kernel updates. It's a nice version though for people like me that use primarily USB modems for Internet connectivity and like the ready-to-deploy nature of it. I mention this mostly just to clarify why knowing which adapters work and which don't is particularly valuable to those using this version of LEDE, on a device like the Raspberry Pi, that has one Ethernet port and only has WiFi if it's an RPi3.

Working Adapters:

Alfa AWUS036NH 2.4GHz bgn (Ralink RT3070 chipset)
-- proven long range adapter with 5dbi and 9dbi antennas desktop or bracket mount

Detroit DIY Electronics Plug and Play 2.4GHz n (Ralink RT5370 chipset)
-- no longer available but there are identical versions under other names on Amazon

Non-Working Adapters:

Edimax EW-7811Un Nano 2.4GHz n (Realtek RTL8188CUS)
-- the nano size is nice, range is not. doesn't work on ROOter version of LEDE

I'd like to find a compatible nano adapter, and there are some that use the Ralink RT5370 chipset so they should work. I'll add that to this post once I've confirmed it.

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So, as I said in my original post I wanted to find a nano adapter that works with the ROOter version of LEDE. Here's the one I ordered, and happily it works! Like most nano adapters the range leaves a lot to be desired -- but if range is what you're looking for go with either of the other two I mentioned in the first post.

The Alfa would give the best coverage, but is also the biggest, and is a totally separate module attached using a USB cable. The second unit is almost a nano size, but with an external antenna that gives it very usable performance. So, choose based on the range you need and the form factor you can tolerate.

Here's the link to a nano adapter that works:

Just figured I would list the adapters working on my RPi3

Both Ralink RT5572

Do these work out of the box, as in, the wireless interfaces just appear in the luci interface? How can I confirm lede is seeing my adapter?


You will need to install the kernel driver for the chipset in the adapter. Most of the ones with a Ralink n chip use rt2800usb. After the driver is installed, reboot with the adapter plugged in and it should appear as a wifi device.

I don't recommend the very cheap cube shaped ones like the second picture in the first post. Bought several of those and more than half were DOA or had a very short lifetime.

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I wasn't able to get this going with my 8811AU adapter, but I did get it working with my nano RTL8188CUS.

I'm wondering if there is a 802.11AC adpater that can be used with this, and if so, if these could be configured sort of like wireless mesh AP's - eg; a dedicated backhaul radio, and then maybe another (or two?) adapters to provide user wireless access.

What are the chances that 5ghz and 2.4ghz can be provided on one adapter at the same time if it supports AC and 5ghz?

I actually have wired available where I can put this, but I just wondered for other fill-in spots. But it does make a difference how many USB adapters I would have to put in the thing to cover two bands?

Supported 802.11ac adapters are very rare. I also don't know of any offering simultaneous dual band.

Also realize that all the I/O on a Pi is bottlenecked through the one USB2 port on the CPU, so there is a total of 480 Mbps minus overhead available for everyone. Bottom line is that the Pi is not a good machine for heavy networking. Routers and x86 boxes have PCIe or other fast buses to the network interfaces.

Are there any 802.11ac USB devices that are supported? I know of a few that “work” in Linux but they don’t work in OpenWRT, unless you don’t mind a bunch of command-line fu.

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See also 802.11ac usb wireless adapter suggestion? and Well-supported Linux nano-stick for 5Ghz/ac wireless

Does anyone have a current list, especially since the 2 suggested are no longer sold? I am looking for the longest range possible. Thank you!

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Need these for use in Homeassistant. Max range is preferred.

I have read in a few threads the netgear A6210 works once you load drivers. It is a b g n ac 2x2 with a flip out panel antenna thats semi removable.. The wires are u.fl connections so its easy to add nice antennas you just need u.fl to rp-sma wire adapters best of all its available on amazon for usually under $20 for a used one. I have one on order in fact so we shall see how it does.

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I will check to see if I can find.

I wonder if this one will work .... https://www.amazon.com/BrosTrend-1200Mbps-Wireless-Raspbian-Raspberry/dp/B07FCNP2VL/

That brosTrend looks interesting. I believe I have tried to verify it's WiFi chip in the past but was unable to.

OTOH, I got a Netgear A6210 in the mail today yes! Every time I get a package from amazon It's like Christmas morning and I am 6 all over again. sorry back to reality...

Ok so the Netgear A6210 does work. I got a used one from amazon with a 1.5 foot long USB 3.0 extension cable and docking station that holds the adapter upright so the antenna stays up in the air. Best of all it was less then $15 because it was reconditioned by amazon, I think it was basically a customer returned item they could no longer sell new. I plugged it into my OpenWRT router and here is the terminal info...

root@AC68U-43B8:~# lsusb
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 174c:55aa RSH-339 ASM1153E
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux 5.4.143 ohci_hcd Generic Platform OHCI controller
Bus 004 Device 002: ID 0846:9053 NETGEAR A6210
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0003 Linux 5.4.143 xhci-hcd xHCI Host Controller
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux 5.4.143 ehci_hcd EHCI Host Controller
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux 5.4.143 xhci-hcd xHCI Host Controller
root@AC68U-43B8:~# lsusb -t
/:  Bus 04.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci-hcd/1p, 5000M
    |__ Port 1: Dev 2, If 0, Class=, Driver=mt76x2u, 5000M
/:  Bus 03.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=xhci-hcd/0p, 480M
/:  Bus 02.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=ohci-platform/2p, 12M
/:  Bus 01.Port 1: Dev 1, Class=root_hub, Driver=ehci-platform/2p, 480M
    |__ Port 2: Dev 3, If 0, Class=, Driver=uas, 480M

As anyone can see it is correctly identified and put on the USB 3.0 hub. It also works on the USB 2.0 port if I plug it in there FWIW...

Any ways In order to get it working I had to install a few packages, namely:
opkg update && opkg install iw-full hostapd kmod-mt76x2u wpa-supplicant
There might of been another mediatek driver package I forgot. Ill play around with it and finalize that opkg list later.
Some info about the A6210 adapter, it has a max 18dBm in ABGNAC mode, it is not dual concurrent, so you can have EITHER 2.4Ghz on OR 5GHZ but not both. I am able to use channels 1-13 and 36-165 btw all the DFS channels are also available. IT also DOES work in Access Point mode! This is important because there are a lot of WiFi adapters that work with OpenWRT in STA Client mode, but a relatively few who work in Access Point mode. And a very few adapters who do 802.11AC AND Access point mode!

Bandwidth: the A6210 adapter has about 300mbps using iperf3 when connected to my laptop which has a 2x2 AC adapter. that's a little less bandwidth then say, if I were to run the same test when connected to a wireless router or dedicated access point. in that instance I may expect 300-350mbps with iperf3. Putting this into perspective, most of you know or should know that WiFi link rates are a SCAM. even the best WiFi equipment can typically maintain only half the link rate as throughput. And its usually more like 1/3 or even 1/4! In other words a 2 stream AC router operating with a link rate of 866mbps can typically at best only hope to achieve maybe 350-400mbps and that's on a good day. So to see this 2 stream network card achieve 300mbps actual with a link rate of 866 without any tweaking or interrupt changes is not bad imo and can only get better. BTW I have the reg domain set to PA if anyone cares. I believe it offers the best combo of unlocked channels no DFS and high transmitter power limit on all channels. Usual disclaimer about using the correct reg domain for your'e area applies...
Tomorrow if I get time I am going to open the plastic housing and put on a pair of screw on antennas I took off my Asus AC68U. The A6210's housing is held together with 2 screws, and the fold out panel antenna is attached to the PCB with u.fl connectors, so it will be very easy to put a set of external high gain antennas on it without breaking anything or even doing any soldering.

More reading about this adapter:

https://github.com/haraldrudell/Linux-WPA3-Personal/issues/1 <--- Very good info although one thing is now incorrect, he claims this adapter is limited to 36, 48, 149 and 165, maybe that was true last year, but I can personally verify that all the 5G channels are unlocked when using OpenWRT 21.02 and the latest drivers.

Apologies to me OpenWRT brethren for my belated reply, I have seem to misplaced 3 of my 4 u.fl to sp-sma adapters needed to hookup an external antenna to this adapter. In tie mean time I have taken a few pics while I keep looking for the 3 that went and hid from me.

That last pic shows what the inside of a multi element high gain 2.4g antenna looks like. Just thought I would leave a little teaser while i look for another u.fl to sp-sma.....

Found em! OK I found my 2 low loss rp-sma to u.fl adapter cables. They are suppose to be low-loss lm-400 cables but you never know with online retailers. we shall see....

I put the multi element high gain omnis on first to test. From across the house i improved by 10 rssi when compared to the stock netgear antennas. thats nothing to sneeze at. Went from 65 rssi to 55 rssi. Not bad!

Next is the Asus AC68U factory antennas..... I will update this in a few mins.

Btw I put a spoon in there for comparison. Anyone remember the tick? spoooonnnnn!

Back again. Heres a shot of the A6210 with a set of AC68U antennas.

Interestingly enough the rssi is now 50 and these Asus antennas are supposedly 2-4 dBi depending on the source you ax. I guess those multi element antennas are either junk or not compatible with this setup.