USB Wi-Fi that work in OpenWrt. Please add to list

PANDA confirms this works in OpenWrt.

Q: What wireless chip is used in this device? No mention here or the manuals at Panda Wireless website.
A: It works out of the box on any Linux distribution running Linux Kernel v5.0 or higher. i.e. Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Raspbian and Debian Buster/Bullseye/Bookworm, Fedora, TailOS, OpenWRT and more. Please send an email to support@pandawireless.com if you have any questions.

I can confirm the Alfa AWUS036NH works from experience using: kmod-rt2800-lib kmod-rt2800-usb kmod-rt2x00-lib kmod-rt2x00-usb kmod-usb-core kmod-usb-uhci kmod-usb-ohci kmod-usb2 usbutils

This question comes up so often.
If you have first hand confirmation of USB chips or whole solutions, that OpenWrt has drives for please add to this thread.

For the device you listed there is a WikiDevi page at Panda Wireless PAU0B. If a device has an entry in WikiDevi it could provide enough information to determine whether you would have success in using the device in OpenWrt. If the WiFi chip is listed it will usually provide the possible Linux driver.

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Thanks,
I'm having a back and forth with PANDA right now to have them supply a link to a working OpenWrt driver.

They have insisted it is an easy search in OpenWrt.. lol

WikiDevi has entries for 7 different Panda Wireless USB Wi-Fi adapters.

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Thanks again.
That gets me to here.

Which is the correct link to the driver but I've got my network locked down so tight I cannot download it.
I'll have to open something up.

For OpenWrt that is likely not necessary. You should be able to just install the kmod-mt76-usb from the package manager.

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Thank you so much!!!

It is the MT7610U chipset, so we now have 2 devices.

snoopy-happy-dance

Asus USB-AC51
TP Link T2U
IO-DATA WHG-AC433US

All 3 of them are MT7610U chipset (using kmod-mt76x0u driver), but there are something to be noted:

  1. TP Link T2U has.....too many variants, they named with NANO/PLUS as suffix, don't buy them, only the original one is Mediatek (they also look different, check out my posted link), anything else using Realtek.
  2. IO-DATA WHG-AC433US is kind of strange, I bought a used one from junk shop in Japan, according to DeviWiki it's MT7610U, however it's not recognized under Linux, while under Windows I can see it loading Ralink driver! (MT7610U was formerly Ralink RT2870, before Mediatek's acquisition). Apparently it's kernel driver module missing the specific device ID information, to verify I forced loading the mt76x0u module then manually sent the USB device ID to /sys/bus/usb/drivers/mt76x0u/new_id, then everything working as it supposed to be! More details here.

The other one purchased was COMFAST CF-953AX, this is MT7921u (kmod-mt7921u) based adaptor, it should be a 6GHz capable WiFi 6E dongle but I couldn't get 6GHz AP working (not sure if this is limited to client mode). However on Raspberry Pi 4B this dongle is giving me a lot of trouble, running in AP mode with high traffic the AP will crash (the dongle will reset after 1-2 mins and up again), but when putting it on NanoPi R4S it worked a lot better, I was able to get ~700Mbps transfer rate in AP mode, But not sure if it's being picky about client, I used my Chromebook to do Bufferfloat test the AP 100% will crash while it has no issue with fast.com/speedtest.net even with high traffic; My Windows laptop using Realtek 2x2 USB 802.11ac WiFi dongle also having same problem during LAN file transfer (but the onboard 802.11n 2x2 5GHz WiFi connects OK), and most Android phones I tested with having no issue at all (no matter how I put load on it, it's working fine). And since this dongle is kind of fat shape, on RPi 4B it will certainly hitting your ethernet cable and might be a bit loosen, this will cause a fallback to USB 2.0 mode, I heard some people using USB 3 extension cable will have similar experience (I bought a few angled adaptor which seems fine). So I would advise people to think twice before buying this as AP.

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USB3 does cause trouble on devices using 2.4Ghz if they are not exceptionally shielded. It is an established problem (especially with 2.4 mice and keyboards) and moving the dongle away is the most often suggestion.

Thank you for the write up!

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I know about this issue, so during the test I didn't enable the onboard 2.4GHz, and it's headless without any keyboard/mouse, I tried keeping everything in "minimal" to test, but the CF-953AX is really difficult to find a suitable USB3 extension that won't drop speed, luckily I found one, but still it works terribly bad on my Pi4 with OpenWrt 23.05.2 as AP. I am going to try with a Raspbian 64bit desktop as client mode to see how it goes, will also update EEPROM and go back OpenWrt to test again later in the week.

BTW about the Asus USB-AC51, I just did some more little test, though I know almost no one will be using the ancient RPi 1B+, I still have it so I was trying to see how well it work. So I think while it's published as "OpenWrt supported" but in fact this is strongly "not recommended", not even as a travel router.

First thing, when I plugged Asus USB-AC51 to Pi 1B+, the whole thing rebooted! OMG I guess it's related to power? So after reboot the system came back. I must say this is not issue with my power supply because I had a test with Raspberry Pi 3 using the same one and no reboot at all. Note that when I measure with RPi 4 using USB-C power meter this dongle doesn't even use 200mA while on load, so it's not possible that USB bus power exceeding.

Second, I put it in AP mode, so no routing/NAT, simply bridging, AP comes up, firing up a speedtest. And....? System load jumped to 6.00! And the WiFi speed ranging from 50-70Mbps, during the test there was one time that probably due to extremely high system loading the AP disconnected me for 5-10 secs, IRQ statistics showing USB interrupt storm which might explain the whole thing.

So....if you want to make yourself a little travel router? Probably at least picking the ARMv7 RPi 2B.

On RPi 4B with the same Asus USB-AC51 you can easily get ~200-220Mbps transfer rate, so that means using this dongle with RPi 3B+ as travel router should be kind of a most optimal combination (the USB gigabit NIC on USB 2 sharing with WiFi dongle, so roughly 200Mbps throughput still achievable, with the onboard WiFi being extra 2.4GHz AP as backup for legacy devices)

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EASTECH Wireless WiFi USB Dongle Stick Adapter RT5370

It worked for a few months, then died and could not be detected by any of my computers or devices. Possibly cheap crap.

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Many USB wireless cards tend to run hot, that is an issue for continuous operations (as in an AP) - both in terms of stability, as well as premature aging.

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it is good to make a list.

A better approach maybe to off load AP duties to a "Dumb AP" but one bad result is not conclusive.

I've had my Alfa since 2014 and when new, It was doing 'a lot of things' all day, everyday.

Not a lot of security in 2014 and what security there was, was WEP.

:spiral_notepad: But to be fair the Alfa looks like this:
41BpQBdrnaL.AC_US40

So it has a lot of room for heat dissipation.

But you do raise the question:

In your, hands on, or educated experience, is this more of a problem at 2.4Mhz or 5Mhz?

I can defiantly imagine higher frequencies loosing efficiency and producing more heat.
I say loosing efficiency because in the end, both have he same Tx limits.

We all did (Atmel at76c503a (at76c50x-usb) in my case, bridging first storey and basement), later ar9170 (carl9170) and ar9271 (ath9k_htc), not an experience I'd like to repeat.

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Thank you for the contribution!

I am starting to lean towards suggesting older dumb APs for 24/7 and usb dongles for travel.

But I still hope someone somewhere made a most durable USB two radio (for at least 2 AP modes) solution.
Because: the Pi4 and probably the Pi5 are inexpensive and can handle 1Gib router functions, but the darn radios present problems.
If you have a Pi 4, you, probably, already have all the accessories.

I believe this is really a big thing blocking most people from building kind of 1G throughput router with USB WiFi, difficult to find a dongle that supports such high speed and working well as AP under Linux, and to be honest the amount of supported client also can't compare to mid-tier router.

But now from what I test, the MT7610U as low end is doing kind of OK, and I am waiting for my MT7612U dongle to come later this week.

Does it feel hot under load? Because I have waaay too many Pi/small heatsinks I could plaster on.

I have come to understand this is, mostly, a chipset limitation.
I.E. a chipset that is used in both routers and dongles (or even the same chipset across different models of routers) the number of active clients is a chipset issue.

Take "come to understand" with a grain of salt. :upside_down_face:

There's another aspect, two decent USB WLAN cards (the internal brcmfmac card of the RPi is just too bad, even for 2.4 GHz) cost more than a dap-x1860, covr-x1860, wsm20, but these run circles around any USB WLAN card and are just fast and reliable.

In fact even the "kind of problematic" COMFAST CF-953AX isn't hot during on load, it's interesting that this dongle (I guess same for all mt7921au solution) has on chip temperature sensor that I can query from OpenWrt, I never seen it go above 40C (room temperature 20C here) after sending 10GB files from client to server through this dongle. For the other 2 x mt7610u little dongle, they were also not hot at all, so that's why I think RPi 3B/3B+ with such mt7610u can be a good travel router combination (using the onboard WiFi only for 2.4GHz).