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What USB Wi-FI adapters operate at 5GHz and suppport monitor mode on Linux?


Hi, I'm looking for a Wi-Fi USB dongle that operates at 5GHz and supports monitor mode. Could be an 802.11n only card or 802.11ac. There are various lists like this one available (, but it's hard to find any products to buy and I really want something with a Linux driver that works (preferably on RPi). So I wonder if someone has something to recommend? Have done quite a lot of Googling on this subject but the fog out there is massive. ;)

Cheers! Sam

asked 12 Aug '15, 10:51

SamA's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 13 Aug '15, 19:37

Guy%20Harris's gravatar image

Guy Harris ♦♦

One Answer:


I have used the Linksys AE6000 adapter. The only limitation is that it supports 1x1 streams. It also does not support LDPC which limits capturing to devices that only support BCC coding.

I did query on WikiDevi for USB WiFi adapters that support abgn protocols and had the Atheros WiFi chipset. Atheros has very good support for Linux drivers. You should look for an adapter/chipset that supports LDPC coding as most new AP's/clients use LDPC.

Happy hunting!

answered 13 Aug '15, 06:14

Amato_C's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

Thanks for suggestions! What does LDPC and BBC coding refer to?

(13 Aug '15, 08:16) SamA

Both are a type of error correcting code used in WiFi.

LDPC = Low-density parity-check

BCC = Binary Convolutional Code

Low density parity check (LDPC) is an optional coding method supported by some 802.11n devices and provides an increase in rate-over-range. LDPC is part of the 802.11n specification, but was never widely implemented in the past. However, LDPC is becoming more prevalent both in smartphones, access points, and smart accessories.

You can determine if your AP supports LDPC by looking at the the HT Capabilities Info element within a Beacon sent from your AP.

(13 Aug '15, 08:31) Amato_C

If the supplied answer assisted you, please accept the solution. This helps others with similar questions.

Thank you.

(13 Aug '15, 09:44) Amato_C

Thanks again!

(16 Aug '15, 09:22) SamA

Hi again, After quite some digging, I decided to go for Edimax EW-7811UTC (AC600). This one is supposed to support monitoring mode, but I simply can't find a Linux driver that works. Any suggestions where to look?

BR Sam

(24 Mar '16, 14:56) SamA

@Amato_C Were you able to get AE6000 to work in monitor mode at 5Ghz? If so, any pointers on which FW to use, and how you did it? Thanks!

(27 May '17, 10:22) JBaczuk
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