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[SOLVED] Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for?

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:47 am
by FamCompKid
UPDATE: I got an EDUP EP-AC1661 and it works. Had some hiccups at first, though. (Here's the thread, shout-out to @JeremyB!)

Thanks everyone for helping this clueless Mint fan.

--

I have no idea.

Will be ordering overseas (Amazon US).

Is the internal PCI adapter better than a WiFi adapter, or are they equally good? Due to the pandemic, however, stores over here are still moving slow and I imagine having the former all set up would take longer (I don't want to be setting it up myself).

I see Panda Wireless and BrosTrend as the only two brands guaranteed to work with Linux. What else should I look for?

I'm not in the US but will be ordering from there. Above brands are not available over here.

It also looks like I'll be upgrading to LM 20 soon because the apps I use are catching up. Is it normal for WiFi adapters to turn incompatible after kernel updates, etc.?

Code: Select all

System:    Kernel: 5.4.0-48-generic x86_64 bits: 64 compiler: gcc v: 7.5.0 Desktop: Cinnamon 4.4.8 
           Distro: Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia base: Ubuntu 18.04 bionic 
Machine:   Type: Desktop Mobo: MSI model: H81M-P33 (MS-7817) v: 1.0 serial: <filter> BIOS: American Megatrends v: 1.6 
           date: 07/01/2014 
CPU:       Topology: Quad Core model: Intel Core i5-4590 bits: 64 type: MCP arch: Haswell rev: 3 L2 cache: 6144 KiB 
           flags: lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx bogomips: 26399 
           Speed: 1217 MHz min/max: 800/3700 MHz Core speeds (MHz): 1: 1718 2: 1707 3: 2036 4: 1913 
Graphics:  Device-1: Intel Xeon E3-1200 v3/4th Gen Core Processor Integrated Graphics vendor: Micro-Star MSI 
           driver: i915 v: kernel bus ID: 00:02.0 
           Display: x11 server: X.Org 1.19.6 driver: modesetting unloaded: fbdev,vesa resolution: 1366x768~60Hz 
           OpenGL: renderer: Mesa DRI Intel HD Graphics 4600 (HSW GT2) v: 4.5 Mesa 20.0.8 direct render: Yes 
Audio:     Device-1: Intel 8 Series/C220 Series High Definition Audio vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: snd_hda_intel 
           v: kernel bus ID: 00:1b.0 
           Sound Server: ALSA v: k5.4.0-48-generic 
Network:   Device-1: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet vendor: Micro-Star MSI driver: r8169 
           v: kernel port: e000 bus ID: 02:00.0 
           IF: enp2s0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter> 
Drives:    Local Storage: total: 931.51 GiB used: 299.52 GiB (32.2%) 
           ID-1: /dev/sda vendor: Western Digital model: WD10EZEX-08WN4A0 size: 931.51 GiB 
Partition: ID-1: / size: 915.89 GiB used: 299.52 GiB (32.7%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda1 
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 41.0 C mobo: N/A 
           Fan Speeds (RPM): N/A 
Info:      Processes: 211 Uptime: 48m Memory: 7.66 GiB used: 2.95 GiB (38.5%) Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Compilers: 
           gcc: 7.5.0 Shell: bash v: 4.4.20 inxi: 3.0.32 
TIA.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:50 am
by Pjotr
PCI or USB doesn't make much difference. Practically all WiFi chipsets can be made to work in Linux. In general, least problematic are those with an Intel or Atheros chipset: those usually work OOTB (truly plug-and-play). Realtek often requires more work.

Don't pay any attention to the name of the manufacturer or the brand. It's only the chipset that the manufacturer has put in his adapter that counts. Those vary wildly: unfortunately manufacturers regularly change the chipsets in their adapters, which is the reason why you should completely disregard the manufacturer/brand name.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:14 am
by FamCompKid
Thank you! :)
Pjotr wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:50 am
In general, least problematic are those with an Intel or Atheros chipset
I'm assuming WiFi adapters regularly have to be "reinstalled" after huge updates, is this correct?

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:06 am
by Larry78723
I've never had to reinstall wifi drivers due to an update. My wifi uses an Intel chipset.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:32 am
by Pjotr
FamCompKid wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:14 am
I'm assuming WiFi adapters regularly have to be "reinstalled" after huge updates, is this correct?
Only the drivers of some chipsets need to be re-installed after a kernel update (i.e. a newer kernel). Usually not necessary for the "plug and play" Intel and Atheros chipsets, because the newer kernel should contain their drivers by default as well.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:37 am
by FamCompKid
Thanks for your replies!

I searched for adapters available locally and it seems those with Intel and Atheros chips are hard to find. The most I see is Realtek, then Ralink, which are also found in cheap brandless ones from China.

I must add that I couldn't connect my desktop to the internet (I'm using my laptop). Should the plug-and-play adapters start working on an offline PC?

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:37 am
by RollyShed
I have a desktop out in the workshop and a WiFi card in it, type unknown, problems none.
I have an ADATA USB stick and it also works.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:41 am
by Pjotr
FamCompKid wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:37 am

I must add that I couldn't connect my desktop to the internet (I'm using my laptop). Should the plug-and-play adapters start working on an offline PC?
The most I see is Realtek, then Ralink, which are also found in cheap brandless ones from China.
In Linux, Ralink is more often "plug-and-play" than Realtek.

However, almost all Realtek chipsets can be made to work in Linux, as well. Just a bit more work for some of them; not hard to do. So don't attach too much importance to "plug-and-play". :)

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:46 am
by GS3
Pjotr wrote:
Sun Oct 18, 2020 7:50 am
PCI or USB doesn't make much difference. Practically all WiFi chipsets can be made to work in Linux. In general, least problematic are those with an Intel or Atheros chipset: those usually work OOTB (truly plug-and-play). Realtek often requires more work.

Don't pay any attention to the name of the manufacturer or the brand. It's only the chipset that the manufacturer has put in his adapter that counts. Those vary wildly: unfortunately manufacturers regularly change the chipsets in their adapters, which is the reason why you should completely disregard the manufacturer/brand name.
To expand a bit on this: Brands do not determine drivers, chipsets do. The chipset is what determines and needs to correspond with the driver.

But the same chipset can give poor results in one product and very good results in another. You want to look for a good quality adapter first and then make sure it is supported. Or do what I do which is to buy cheap ones by the dozen and then play around with them.

Years ago, when I was starting to deal with WIFI, I preferred internal PCI WIFi adapters because it was "one thing out of the way" and they worked fine as long as the WIFI connection was perfect. But then I started dealing with less than perfect WIFI connections and having a USB adapter which I could move around proved to be much better. Now even all my laptops have an external USB WIFI adapter because they work a million times better than any internal one. An external antenna makes a huge difference.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:55 am
by FamCompKid
Pjotr wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:41 am
don't attach too much importance to "plug-and-play"
Actually I'm worried whether I can install missing drivers on my offline desktop through my online laptop and maybe a USB flash drive. The router is outside my room and is at a spot where I can't really set up my desktop beside it for internet connection :D

Found a few adapters locally, Realtek mostly, but all the better ones are on USB 2.0, which I'm not sure I like. Will keep looking. Are those with long external antennas generally better? My laptop of course has none but I'm pretty happy with it.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:09 am
by FamCompKid
GS3 wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:46 am
Or do what I do which is to buy cheap ones by the dozen and then play around with them.
I found a brandless adapter that seems to be exploited by those "private label" brands. There's also a couple that are not really cheap but got good reviews. In a way Amazon US is similar to our local marketplace in that regard. Yeah since this is kind of trial-and-error anyway I figured that shotgun method of yours can be a good idea hehe although I only need it for one PC.
GS3 wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:46 am
An external antenna makes a huge difference.
Should I go for the long external antennas over "thumb drive" adapters?

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:51 am
by Pjotr
FamCompKid wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:55 am
Actually I'm worried whether I can install missing drivers on my offline desktop
You can use the USB tethering feature of your smartphone:
https://easylinuxtipsproject.blogspot.c ... ernet.html
FamCompKid wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 6:55 am
Found a few adapters locally, Realtek mostly, but all the better ones are on USB 2.0, which I'm not sure I like. Will keep looking. Are those with long external antennas generally better? My laptop of course has none but I'm pretty happy with it.
Your laptop probably has "hidden" antenna wires alongside its display. Indeed a long antenna is better than a short one; but in many cases a long antenna is superfluous.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:03 am
by Webtest
Esteemed Forum Participants and Lurkers:

"RollyShed" says "I have an ADATA USB stick", however I found NO instances of any "ADATA" WiFi adapter through Google, Amazon, and eBay searches ... not even on the ADATA web site PRODUCTS tab???

"Pjotr", incidentally a LEVEL 22 Guru, says "almost (Red Flag!) all Realtek chipsets can be made to work ... not hard to do". Maybe it is "not hard" to do for him, but for a meager Level Level 4 mostly appliance user like me, it is a much different story ... WiFi Driver Install 'deb' FAILS: Realtek 8811au

"GS3" says "even all my laptops have an external USB WIFI adapter". Hey, thanks for your comments, but why not include some brands and models and make your post actually meaningful???

Thats the VERY most frustrating thing about all of this. We are looking for BRAND and MODEL suggestions, and there isn't a single one in this ENTIRE thread! So I'll add one ... DO NOT go for the "OURLiNK WU636 WiFi USB Adapter" (Realtek RTL8811AU chipset)" (unless you are on "Pjotr"'s Level!) or are using Windows 10 where it works GREAT.

Blessings in abundance, all the best, & ENJOY!
Art in Carlisle PA USA

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:09 am
by FamCompKid
Pjotr wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:51 am
USB tethering feature of your smartphone
Of course I didn't know that! :) Thanks!
Webtest wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:03 am
Level 4 like me
I consider myself Level -10 haha. Well, it's what the forum is for I guess?

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:34 am
by Pjotr
FamCompKid wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:09 am
Pjotr wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:51 am
USB tethering feature of your smartphone
Of course I didn't know that! :) Thanks!
You're welcome... If you find that you need to install a driver and don't know how, I'll be happy to help. :)

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:29 am
by GS3
FamCompKid wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:09 am
Should I go for the long external antennas over "thumb drive" adapters?
My experience is that there is a very big difference in performance between the two types and I would go for the types with external antennas. When I travel and stay in hotels or other places, having an external adapter with antenna makes a huge difference over the laptop's internal adapter. The "thumb drive" type might work OK for a fixed setting at home where you know you have good reception but for unknown and unforeseeable conditions I prefer to carry a better adapter with my laptop's kit.

But not all types with external antenna will perform equally. Some years ago, when I was experimenting more, I remember Alfa USB WIFI adapters gave me very good results but I am not quite up to date with models these days. I suppose it is not only the antenna but the electronic circuitry.

This type has generally worked well for me. I mean the general physical format, not that item in particular. They have the huge advantage that you can move them around and very often just placing it somewhere else will make a huge difference. You can run a program which can give you the signal strength.

I never went for the most expensive models because of the risk they would not perform so I would rather buy several cheaper ones and test them under varying conditions.

OTOH, if this is just for a fixed home installation, you might want to consider ethernet over powerline adapters. Still, nothings beats actual ethernet cable, not only in speed but in reliability and ease of use and troubleshooting.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:38 am
by GS3
Webtest wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:03 am
"GS3" says "even all my laptops have an external USB WIFI adapter". Hey, thanks for your comments, but why not include some brands and models and make your post actually meaningful???
Because I do not have current info on brands and models but I have information which I was hoping the OP might find useful. Since you are not the OP nor a mod I cannot see why you need to criticise other people's posts in this way.
Webtest wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:03 am
Thats the VERY most frustrating thing about all of this. We are looking for BRAND and MODEL suggestions, and there isn't a single one in this ENTIRE thread!
Speak for yourself. You are not the OP. It seems the OP is finding the information provided is useful and, in any case, we are not obligated to respond to the satisfaction of anybody. We are all trying to be helpful but we are not paid and we are not obligated to give you any level of satisfaction.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:23 am
by Webtest
Esteemed Forum Participants & Lurkers:
Hey, I just found the following:
Realtek 8192 300Mbps 802.11n/g/b USB Wireless WiFi LAN Network Card Adapter - Brand: DIZA100 currently for $10 US. That is worth the risk to try it ... oh joy ... there is "Only 1 left in stock" AND it ships from China. Oh well ...
Comptability
- Any PC with an available USB port, 1GHz CPU, and 1GByte Memory
- Any brand 802.11g or 802.11n router using 2.4GHz frequency band only ( Doesn't work on 5GHz band)
- Compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10/2008r2/2012r2, Mac OS 10.4-10.10, Mint, Ubuntu

Blessings, Art

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:40 am
by Pjotr
Webtest wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:23 am
Esteemed Forum Participants & Lurkers:
Hey, I just found the following:
Realtek 8192 300Mbps 802.11n/g/b USB Wireless WiFi LAN Network Card Adapter - Brand: DIZA100 currently for $10 US. That is worth the risk to try it ... oh joy ... there is "Only 1 left in stock" AND it ships from China. Oh well ...
Comptability
- Any PC with an available USB port, 1GHz CPU, and 1GByte Memory
- Any brand 802.11g or 802.11n router using 2.4GHz frequency band only ( Doesn't work on 5GHz band)
- Compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10/2008r2/2012r2, Mac OS 10.4-10.10, Mint, Ubuntu

Blessings, Art
As it's Realtek, it'll probably need some work before it'll function properly. When you've received it, you can start a new thread about it.

Re: Wireless adapters for desktop on LM 19.3 and beyond: What are guaranteed brands and what to look for? PC specs in te

Posted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:05 pm
by FamCompKid
Webtest wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:23 am
Hey, I just found the following:
Realtek 8192 300Mbps 802.11n/g/b USB Wireless WiFi LAN Network Card Adapter - Brand: DIZA100
That was what I was talking about in a previous reply, "private label" stuff--people just seem to take a generic adapter and put their "brand" on it. Not sure if this kind falls under the "cheap" ones we should be trying.

I was also thinking of posting what I find here. So far I've found only one I like and locally available here: EDUP, tagged "Amazon's Choice." It's on Realtek.
GS3 wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 9:29 am
OTOH, if this is just for a fixed home installation, you might want to consider ethernet over powerline adapters. Still, nothings beats actual ethernet cable, not only in speed but in reliability and ease of use and troubleshooting.
This is something I see that should be done over here but not in the near future. I actually prefer laptops now even just at home, so setting up a cabled home network may not be desirable anymore, at least to me. Plus the fact that we're not really thinking about it and techie to set one up. Like, we already have wifi and that's enough! I think I get what you're saying, coming from having used a desktop on ethernet cable for a while (a long story, please don't ask) but yeah, maybe the convenience brought by USB adapters appeals to me.

Great points on external antennas, looks like it's what I need. Thanks.
Pjotr wrote:
Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:34 am
You're welcome... If you find that you need to install a driver and don't know how, I'll be happy to help.
Thanks again everyone! In hindsight I think what really made me jump to Linux last year was the community, people like you! :) (Well, aside from that hideous thing I was running away from.)