My view on various ALFA adapters.

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking Cards' started by kevsamiga, 15 Jan 2014.

  1. kevsamiga

    kevsamiga Well-Known Member
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    I thought I would do an objective write up/summary of all the ALFA adapters I have experienced using which someone may find useful if they are actually going to buy one...

    The adapters covered in this article are AWUS036H v5, AWUS036NH, AWUS036NHA, AWUS051NH, AWUS036NHR v2, AWUS036NHV.

    I will continue to edit this article as more experience/information/adapters comes to light.

    ALFA AWUS036H V5

    Containing the Realtek 8187L chip. The workhorse of the fleet, no more can be said as to how infamous this adapter has become for that little extra kick when de-authenticating and for finally being able to sit outside McDonalds leeching instead of inside. Even if the adapter is now old news, this means the drivers are also very mature, so much so that development has ceased since 2011, and it just "works" out of the box under linux without any hassle of the other adapters with possibly the exception of the 036NHA. It will go down in history as one of the worthiest adapters to own for some time to come, so it still belongs in everyone's pen testing bag, or your first choice to see what all the fuss is about, and rightly so.

    However not compatible with Mac OS X Mountain Lion unless you opt for an R36 ALFA which can turn out as more expense. For day to day everyday usage in Windows however the adapter is slow and can be bothersome in connecting to AP's sometimes needing multiple attempts to incompatibility connecting with some AP's, and disconnects about once a day for no apparent reason.

    Devoid of any 11N capability unlike the other adapters (although you can still connect as long as the AP is running in mixed mode). Contains TX power control ability under Windows. The first and probably the only adapter you will really need for dabbling with penetration testing, however for day to day Windows use as your primary adapter there quite clearly exists newer, and faster adapters with more up to date functionality, and more features and tech to improve the connection over the slow, old, and disconnection prone 036H. Has a bias of getting hotter in operation than any of the other adapters, and thus not recommended for extended streaming usage, and now showing it's age despite still being very capable at times and feeling this is as good as it gets, yet it can be irritating and annoying at others because of lack of consistency.

    Satisfactory improvement from larger antennas due to high receive sensitivity figures. Low TX punch in comparison to 036NHR or 036NH, but not as worse in TX power as an 036NHA. Driver development has stagnated.

    Device statistics

    USB power reserved for device 500 mA.

    LED colour

    Green

    Reliability

    Moderate to High

    Output power

    24dBm+-2dbm (OFDM)
    30dBm± 2dBm (CCK)

    Sensitivity figures :

    1, 2 Mbps (BPSK, QPSK): - 96dBm
    11 Mbps (CCK): -91dBm
    (Typically @per < 8% packet size 1024 and @25ºC + 5ºC)

    Sensitivity​

    802.11g
    54Mpbs (64QAM): -71dbm
    48Mbps (64QAM): -76dbm
    36Mpbs (16QAM): -78dbm
    24Mbps (16QAM): -80dbm
    18Mbps (QPSK): -81dbm
    12Mpbs (QPSK): -82dbm
    9Mbps (BPSK): -85dbm
    6Mbps (BPSK): -91dbm
    Version Differences

    There are several models of this adapter, the older ones came with a Y cable to provide extra power for 1990's laptop USB ports, and a 2dbi antenna. The older one doesn't have a number 1 on the casing. The V5 runs cooler than older models but still get's toasty.

    ALFA AWUS036NH

    Containing a Ralink 3070L. The first attempt in the line of Wireless N and it almost succeeded, shows lot's of networks like the RTL8187L, but unlike the RTL8187L the transmit capability is up to scratch and exceeds the 036H output by double, but the recieve sensitivity is found wanting, so lot's of networks are still displayed you can't actually connect to.

    Drivers are very mature in Windows, works fine under linux same as RTL8187L with the exception of not seeing any AP's sometimes unless you unplug and replug the adapter. Finds around the same number of networks as 036H although the 036H still retains a slight edge in that department over the 036NH due to higher receive sensitivity figures.

    Not as fast as the 036NHR or 036NHA, but definitely an improvement in speed and connection stability over the tired old 036H. Moderate to good benefit from using larger antenna's due to already low receive sensitivity figures in comparison to the others. Has around the same punch in TX power as the 036NHR.

    Altogether not a bad foundation choice as a first adapter and will serve you exceedingly well just as much as an 036H does, one of the least fussiest, and easiest adapters to get along with same as the NHA for mostly hassle free operation, but with more power than either the 036H or 036NHA which is what you want if your fed up of coaxing your tired old 036H to just "work" decently in Windows half the time, and you can't be doing with the black sheep of the family that the NHR is, or face staring at less signal bars all day from using an NHA or being saddled with less output power.

    Driver development is still active.

    Device statistics

    USB power reserved for device 450mA.

    LED colour

    Blue

    Reliability

    High

    Output power:

    802.11b 33 dbm +-2
    802.11g 32 dbm +-2
    802.11n (HT20) 32dbm +-2
    802.11n (HT40) 33dbm +-2

    Sensitivity figures :

    Sensitivity
    11b: -92dBm
    11g: -76dBm
    11n: -73dBm@HT20
    -70dBm@HT40
    Version differences

    One medium, and one small redesigned pcb.

    ALFA AWUS036NHR v2

    Containing a Realtek 8188RU. I really don't know what to make of this adapter or where to place it. Some love it, along with those that hate it in equal measure. I just can't figure out what it's purpose or place is meant to be over the 036NH or 036NHA, but it's the only adapter to come with a USB Y cable for extra power.

    The drivers under Windows and Linux seem to behave rather odd especially in network scanning and reported signal strengths, and the signal strength seems way off in comparison to link quality once connected. The jury on range is still out being as the figures for output run up to 33dbm, and there is a definative electrical fizz coming from the adapter when operating in high throughput which also happens on the 036NH to a lesser extent.

    I don't think the 8188RU chipset was ever intended to be a packet injection monster. It is faster than the 036H or 036NH however, but slower than the 036NHA getting 15Mbps throughput on a fibre connection. It also has better strong capability than the other N class adapters at connecting to Wireless G access points akin to the 036H.

    The adapter seems to benefit from and utilise larger antenna's more so than the other adapters. The standard 5dbi included with this adapter is practically worthless on this adapter compared to the others unless the AP is relatively close, showing only a handful of networks and seems to have not as much range with the 5dbi at all unlike the others, but a 7dbi panel or 9dbi improves matters significantly. Time will tell if V2 fixed the reliability issues that plagued the V1's premature death syndrome. Linux drivers still leave a lot to be desired. However seems a superior NIC at wireless interference rejection unlike the 036NH or 036H.

    On paper the specifications for the NHR indicates it's the strongest adapter available at transmit and receive figures, but in reality this is not borne out in the practice, and equally not as sensitive as the NHA despite having practically the same or better receive figures, turning out to be in the middle speed order inbetween 036NH and 036NHA, and further not showing as many networks as 036H, 036NH or 036NHA since the receiver can be highly amok and temperamental as to what networks its shows requiring pinpoint accuracy in placement or you can lose up to 20% signal. The only other adapter apart from the 036H that contains TX power control ability under Windows. Failure stories of the V1 model were common possibly due to bad soldering or ESD discharge, the jury is still out on V2.

    What you'll want to hear is that the redesigned V2 model has slightly better receive capability than the V1 does. But both of these models performance in the real world doesn't outshine the other adapters. The receiver on the NHR seems to have a mind of it's own. Despite the increase in chip model from 8187 to 8188 from Realtek, the result is somewhat disappointing and markedly worse than it's brethren, despite it's undeniable increased connection robustness over the 8187L equipped 036H and support of wireless N.

    If you were hoping to find more networks than the 036H or 036NH presents, being as the NHR is regarded as the 036H's true successor, then sorry to say I'm afraid you are in for nothing more than a bitter disappointment. And this, coupled with the Linux foibles and being saddled with older drivers to get it to work correctly in signal strength and output power, means it still doesn't deliver much of substance to distinguish it over the others, neither on it's promises on the spec sheets, nor in it's potential as a superior NIC. However the reliability due to the redesign should be increased.

    All in all just a paper champion that doesn't live up to the hype if you have become used to being spoiled using an 036H or 036NH. But it's still superior to use than any built in wifi solutions if you don't have any external adapter at all. Driver development still active.

    Device statistics

    USB power reserved for device 500mA with included Y cable providing up to 1000mA.

    LED colour

    Blue

    Reliability

    Poor to complete crap (036NHR v1), unknown (036NHR v2)

    Output power :

    802.11b 33dbm +-2
    802.11g 32dbm +-2
    802.11n (HT20) 32dbm +-2
    802.11n (HT40) 33dbm +-2

    Sensitivity figures :

    11b : -96dbm
    11g : -92dbm
    11n : -91dbm

    Version differences

    There are 2 models of this adapter. The first model was plagued with numerous reliability issues and had a tendency for going deaf or simply stop working a few months into service, with even some being as bad as dead on arrival.

    The second version is a much smaller circuit board redesign with ESD protection. Both models allegedly require different drivers which are not interchangeable, but still seem to work however although using newer v1's drivers on the V2 you can expect less range and wrong reported signal strengths. It's hard to ascertain at the moment whether the 036NHR v2 is actually improved over it's predecessor which indications seem to point that this is indeed the case, or given it's older (new) drivers that it is simply a cost reduction exercise given the NHR v1's overall PCB being an overly complicated build, and a resulting high failure rates of the v1.

    To me, it makes absolutely no sense that an adapter launched in late 2013 is forced to use an even older driver than what is available for the 036NHR v1 in order to work correctly or the RSSI and output power on the V2 model will be incorrect. But alas this is exactly how it is.

    ALFA AWUS036NHA

    Containing an Atheros AR9271, this adapter finally get's things back on course since the 036H. Yes the signal strengths can be reported low compared to the other adapters, but on the other hand it has robust connection stability in light of this, and has the fastest speed over all the other adapters even at these low reported signal strengths which can go all the way down to -127 and can still sit on a connection all day long at 1 bar so don't let the reporting of low signal strengths fool you. Those with a keen roving eye on this article will have noticed the sensitivity figures for the 036NHA are exactly the same as for 036H in b and g modes, but this adapter also sports N mode with the same sensitivity in N mode as the NHR.

    On the downside in practicality, larger antenna's seem to offer little if any benefit for this adapter in comparison to the others making not much if any difference to signal strengths, and it has the weakest TX power of all the adapters, but this is compensated by making more weak signals usable, and can actually pluck a signal out the air and connect at 1 bar when the other ones cannot with marginal signals, with more speed to boot, even at these 1 bar lower levels.

    Good Linux compatibility has also been delivered over the last few years and offers all 6 wireless modes under Linux, and the drivers under Windows seem relatively trouble free if a little on the sparse side compared to all the others, and only has a GUI utility when installed in Windows XP. Has good interference rejection along with the 036NHR and can still suffer from the occasional drop although not to the extent the 036H or 036NH does which is possibly due to an outstanding and unlikely to be fixed driver bug where the adapter shuts itself down randomly around every few days.

    The fastest of all the adapters achieving 35Mbps on a fibre connection and a direct competitor to 036H for title of best all rounder due to having most bases solidly covered akin to the 036H. Driver development has stagnated. Hard to find decent drivers that work correctly without disconnects or shutdowns on Win 7 x64 or Win 8 as Atheros drivers can be flaky for these latter OS's.

    Device statistics

    USB power reserved for device 500mA.

    LED colour

    Blue

    Reliability

    High (AR9271), Very High (AR9271L)

    Output power:

    802.11b 29dbm +-2
    802.11g 27dbm +-2
    802.11n 27dbm +-2

    Sensitivity figures:

    Sensitivity11b: -96dBm @ 1Mbps
    11g: -91dBm @ 6Mbps
    11n: -91dBm@HT20 MCS0
    Version differences

    There are 2 versions of this adapter. The original containing an AR9271, and the new release from 2012 onwards containing an AR9271L. The newer revision of this device runs on the AR9271L-AL3A chip vs AR9271-AL1A. The L stands for low power consumption. There is speculation around that the 2012 model is restricted to 40mw, however this is not the case. The TX items of the Atheros Client utility play no part in the operation of the adapter which is 800mw (630mw without antenna attached). The AR9271L trades off maximum transmit power (13db -17db) depending on bitrate.

    So is the new release 2012 model some kind of dumbed down version ?

    Well it turns out no. After speaking with manufacturers, I confirmed that the AWUS036NHA with AR9271L chipset compared to the original that has the non L version of the chip has extra components added in the parties responsible for the reception and transmission, so that in this way the power remains the same as the original, ie. 630MW. The TX power is handled by the SE2576L chip so the change to a lower power draw chip version has no effect essentially other then a cooler, quieter AR9271 chip that doesn't require as much power to do the same job.

    Alfa AWUS051NH

    Discontinued in 2012, so the remaining stocks have raised prices, this 500mw adapter uses the same driver as the 036NH, but offers 5Ghz and MIMO capability by way of Ralink 2770+2750 chips (RT3572 in the 051NH v2). It is the 036H's 2009 close cousin being gold instead of silver but catering for all a/b/g/n modes and having miso capability to boot unlike the 036H.

    There is a printed dual band strip internal antenna at the top right corner of the pcb, and crazy as it sounds the included 5dbi antenna is 2.4ghz only not picking 5Ghz, The RP-SMA port accepts 2.4 antenna's only 5 Ghz doesn't exist on that jack only inside. The original 050NH v1 adapter which is discontinued after the 050NH v2 launched, was quite poor in 802.11g mode, and the early units of the 050NH v2 also malfunctioned, while being better in G mode, whereas the 051NH finally fixed both of these issues, and is a very reliable adapter and sees more AP's than the earlier versions did. I could not test the 5Ghz features as no AP around me is using it and you have to be very careful which drivers you choose 3.1.80 and 3.2.9.0 being the better ones. While I am confident of it's capability in 802.11a @5ghz, I am not so confident that 802.11N @5ghz is also catered for unless I can find information to the contrary. Works fine in Linux as using the 2800usb driver although you may have a problem injecting at 5Ghz.

    Overall a decent adapter if 5Ghz or MIMO is important to you. I didn't find a problem with it's performance unlike some. The third attempt to get it right after 050NH, and 050NH v2. Gives less RX retry errors than 036NH possibly due to MISO replicating and benefitting the signal.

    A weakfish adapter in reception akin to the NHA (but better range than the NHA) don't know if this is due to it's output power which is tested the highest of all the ALFA's. Although the network signal strength shows less, data transfer is actually better than the Alfa 036H that was launched around the same timeframe, with better data flow, and can actually run completely fine off a signal showing the red "R" in the system tray, unlike the 036NH which poops out and disconnects when on red. Caveat though...Larger and higher dbi antenna's seem to make little or no difference to the SS readings at all on this adapter, and the adapter has a finite range before the speeds seriously start to drop off. Remember also that the RP-SMA port is NOT dual band as assumed in the specs. 5Ghz operation comes from the tiny internal micro strip antenna only. If you want higher dbi and 5Ghz your going to have to buy an 036AC.

    Device statistics

    USB power reserved for device 450mA.

    LED colour

    Green

    Reliability

    So far ok.

    Version Differences

    050NH v1 while great in 5Ghz had reception flaws in 2.4Ghz, 050NH v2 early units malfunctioned while better than 050NH v1 in 2.4Ghz modes, 051NH fixed both of these flaws. 051NH v2 launched in August 2013 has an RT3572 instead of 2770F.

    Alfa AWUS036NHV

    Launched in mid 2014, a re-vamp of the 036NHR featuring a Realtek 8188EUS Chipset instead that can use modern drivers up to Win 8.1 without any hassles, and has similar output power and sensitivity figures as the 036NHR using the modern drivers (unlike the NHR), but connections seem more consistent, reliable and stable if not slightly faster vs NHR, and this time it shows reasonable signal strengths on modern drivers unlike the NHR without having to use beutify signal tricks to fake it. Likes to play with higher dbi antenna's same as the 036NHR. Has a slightly higher connect rate vs the NHR for the same position placement+5dbi.

    Specified in some places as a 1500mw adapter, but in my tests it gives just as much output power as an NHR which is 2000mw but claims like this can be taken with a grain of salt anyway, since the output of the NHV is also up to 32dbm the same as the NHV, I like this adapter very much, and the best of all, because it's everything the NHR should have been but...beware, Linux support very spotty at present for this and also the 036AC, so for now forget about hacking with it although monitor mode may be possible in the future as with the NHR.

    Device statistics

    USB power reserved for device 500mA.

    LED colour

    Blue

    Reliability

    So far ok.

    Sensitivity Figures :

    11b: -96dB
    11g: -91dB
    11n: -91dB@HT20
    -87dB@HT40
     
    #1 kevsamiga, 15 Jan 2014
    Last edited: 10 Sep 2014
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  2. keatlck

    keatlck Well-Known Member

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    So 036H is the winner or 036NHA?
    I just bought the 036H 1 month ago :facepalm:
     
  3. air_pull91

    air_pull91 Well-Known Member

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    Not in my opinion..H can get a lot of wifi signal and good at packet injection..while nha u can use it once u get the line crack even the line is only 1 bar..no drop sgnl at all..
    The all rounder card still goes to H..

    Sent from my Lenovo P770 using Tapatalk
     
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  4. kevsamiga

    kevsamiga Well-Known Member
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    There is no "Winner" or best card. They all experience different results placed in the same position and different results based on how they're installed along with other variables you can't factor like interference. They can almost all "packet inject". If we're talking about de-authentication of clients to capture handshakes then we're playing Russian roulette because nothing is guaranteed here whatever the adapter.

    You can't go much wrong with either adapter. But the 036H is now very long in the tooth, the drivers have fell by the wayside for Mac use, and it cheats and exaggerates on the signal strength figures and is devoid of any N capability and is, well, just much older tech, and has it's annoyances and grievances...Hey it's still a great adapter, but you shouldn't use it to the exclusion of all else because having choice and options only increases potential for success.

    Now I don't know if I have a different revision of NHA or not because I only purchased it recently, but out of a back bedroom window attached with an active USB cable and an Alfa 7dbi panel, the NHA found more AP's available than any other card I own (which is most of them), and could connect to significantly more of these AP's than the other adapters could even only at 1 bar despite the many proclamations of it's "weakness" in comparison to the others.

    So for me at least the 036NHA has at least the edge based on it's Linux interoperability, being the fastest ALFA adapter to boot, and being the best card for reavering despite the obvious lack of apparent signal strength which doesn't mean you can't connect or even be stable without disconnection even at these low levels.

    And because of these facts, 036NHA for me has the edge. Plus it's finished in a nice glossy black (maybe I should get out more often). :)
     
    #4 kevsamiga, 15 Jan 2014
    Last edited: 16 Jan 2014
  5. gunz_kruung

    gunz_kruung Well-Known Member

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    Wow nice thread everybody can share their thoughts, I would make my review on the realtek 8187l and atheros AR9271 Alfa cards. :)

    For me I think these two cards are much better to used when we are separating it between their capability in what area and what are the persons desires for the using between this two cards.

    Situation A {1} [ for cracking activities ] these situation are for the long ranges [ more obstacles] or distance "AP"
    Let say the targeted AP we don't know it yet and we are using the standard 5 dbi antenna on both of the cards and at the same place and position

    Awus036NHA= cannot detect any AP and for the mean time we would assured that there were no AP at all that we can cracked so we just stopped there

    Awus036H = detect an AP and if the signal are good enough we can directly cracking it but if the signal not really good so there would be a hoped for us to find a good spot to have a good signal for attacking..

    Situation A {2} [ for cracking activities] these siuation are for the short ranges[ less obstacles] or distance "AP"
    Let say the targeted AP we already knew and aim for it.. and we still using the standard 5 dbi antenna both cards and at the same place and position

    Awus036NHA = detect the specific AP that we want to crack and we would successfully cracked it [good at injection], and maybe 5 more other AP that been detected.

    Awus036H = detect the specific AP that we want to crack and we would successfully cracked it [good at injection] and maybe 10 more other AP that been detected

    * conclusion for cracking activities as we all know that the two important things when we do pentesting attack [ penetration test ] we should have a good RSSI [PWR] and RXQ
    RSSI {pwr} = indicates to the distances between you with the AP [include the obstacles] the lower are the better
    RXQ = indicates our signal reception quality between the AP, and this can be interfered such as cordless phone, microwaves.......it is good to maintain RXQ rather than unstable RXQ.
    As we can see if we tried to crack the longer range AP { using the Awus036H are much more better because Awus036NHA can't afford to do it } but if the range are short [less obstacles] {using the Awus036NHA would be no problem at all}

    Situation B {1} [non cracking activities] these situation for the n mode, surfing, updating, range

    Awus036NHA = all these three [ n-mode, surfing, updating, ] NHA would be the most perfect card to choosed it fully n-mode 150mps, surfing is good, the link quality are much more stable.. and the driver still updating so it's still not the top peak for the card, it still improving..but as we know it poor on it range..

    Awus306H = all these two [n-mode and updating] it would be the downfall for H because it not fully compitable with the n-mode [150-mbps] but it would still connected at 54-mpbs.. This card's already at the top of it peak [no more updating driver] so after time to time we dont know whether these realtek chipset [8187L] would be as great it would as now.. When it come to surfing this card are also good but sometime the link qualtity would drop then maintain [not like the NHA] but it is not a big problem.. the range it still the longest one..

    *conclusion if comparing between the realtek 8187L and atheros AR9271, the realtek 8187L still much more powerful when it performing in [ non cracking activities] although it is often that peolple would said that atheros AR9271 chipset would get connected to a single bar and the link quality is good rather than realtek 8187L but they forget that if the atheros can get a single bar then how about the realtek 8187L chipset for sure it already captured more than single bars maybe 3-4 bars already, and for sure that the link quality would be better, except if we're playing with tx-power by maximize to it maximum power completely then I believe that the link quality would drop out because it would boost up the signal quality and boost down the link quality..[ playing this on the long run, your card might be burn much faster]

    So to wrap up all the thing :
    I would love to used NHA if I don't care about the distance and there a lot of AP nearer to me and I am stay low at the cracking, I wanted to enjoy the full 150-mbps and waiting for the new updates to comes..:D

    I would love to used H if I am the typed of person that love to crack so much and I wanted to get a better signal even though I am far away from the "AP".. 54-mbps already enough for me and I don't care the driver are not been updated anymore and yet it still compatible with most OS, especially it compatible for most penetration tools..:D

    No offend to others that read these.. It only my point of view when using these two cards:)
     
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  6. kevsamiga

    kevsamiga Well-Known Member
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    Points taken on board, but the point of "cracking" is to actually crack but to actually "use" the connection after progression from "crack" is a different animal...

    In that case 036H is far from the best. It connects originally at 54Mbps then usually sinks down to solid 11Mbps speeds to remain stable.

    It is old, and it is slow. So it's probably best to have multiple adapters for multiple purposes like you inferred.

    Since there isn't a standard for what 1 bar of signal actually means, or represents, the reporting of 036H signal strengths all mostly at 5 bars by the 036H is ultimately meaningless, because the figures could well be interloped with by the driver to display whatever it wants to display, and have you believe whatever you want to believe, and there is no way of knowing what the real values are, so the only thing that counts is practical real world testing.

    The NHR V2 has even higher receive sensitivity figures than the 036H has, using a newer chip from the same company, yet it does not award all visible connections mostly 5 bars...So the eye candy of the 036H is nothing more than the mother of all smokescreens, an optical illusion and trickery. You are not getting 5 bars on almost everything you see, because the behaviour of the connections therein doesn't represent or translate to 5 bar performances. In fact, compared to the other 3 adapters, performance is inferior not because of lack of N capability, but in G modes as well. :)

    The only 2 things that matter of course is can you either connect, or can you not connect. And based on my practical testing, the supposedly "weak" NHA shock horror, could or would "connect" to more signals that were distant whilst still being actually of any use without bombing out and disconnecting as could the NHR, whereas the NH and H were found wanting in those respects, that's if they could even connect at all. These 2 adapter's in particular cope exceedingly well in low signal conditions and in rejecting interference, so no one should disregard them offhand in their rush to go out and buy a chipset that is now exceeding 9 years old. But we can discount the NHR compared to the other 3 because it is no crack monster and mostly worthless for cracking in any case...

    You don't even need to know the AP's password to perform or confirm these tests for feasibility across adapters. Just enter some random junk in the WPA box of the AP you are interested in shooting at. No fancy equipment or field strength meters are required.

    The difference in Windows is either of "Cannot connect to this network" when negotiating which means you are not able to connect at all, vs getting a "Network security key mismatch" error which means if you actually knew what the right password was you actually can make use of the connection you don't know the password of.

    In head to head testing of this, with the adapters positioned in the same place, the NHA could or would potentially actually link up to those AP's that on the 036H and 036NH would or could not do so. So something in the Atheros chip is making the difference in connectivity vs none for me, what that "something" is to reach me out that little bit further than was possible before over the others, I have no idea.

    I find myself lucky to reside in the ETSI domain, where all AP's transmitting over to you cannot exceed 100mw or 20dbm. So, ignoring the flashy figures on the ALFA boxes they ship on retail or raising the TX which is meaningless for ETSI because Wifi is a two way street, I found the 036NHA to be the best performing "all round" adapter in these particular set of circumstances all else being equal.

    For places like the U.S of A where you are allowed greater output powers, my final conclusions would probably be turned around on it's head as the weakest TX power of the NHA would be laid bare and exposed, and clearly evident in comparison against the others. For where I am however, this "oh it's got the weakest TX of all the ALFA adapters babble" matters not very much at all over the 036H, because here more power means very little, but on the upside the NHA's performance, connection robustness, and Linux compatibility is high.

    Did I also mention that it comes in black ? :)

    While there isn't anything wrong with the 036H as a crack adapter per se, I wouldn't or couldn't just have that, and only that as my go to adapter in my arsenal to the exclusion of all else, without ever trying or bothering to explore the possibilities, and being surprised with the results of different adapters placed in the same positions. You then start to realise what is hype, and what is tangible improvements you can actually use.

    I seek further proof that the NHA is "as proclaimed" poor on range, for I have not seen, nor felt that factor anywhere for myself in any of my tests. If we are talking how many bars of signal you have available to look at when instead your staring at 2 or 1 instead from the NHA it really doesn't matter if you can connect stably and throughput is fine, see above.

    Quite the opposite in fact, so perhaps some dude in Taiwan slipped using the soldering iron when constructing it, or maybe added one component in too many...

    The one I have does not need a switcheroo of it's 5dbi antenna, to have the same connectivity to networks, the other adapters need 7dbi panels and 9dbi antenna's for to achieve the same effect for reaching and grabbing at AP's...make of that info what you will. I'm being entirely unbiased in my assesment here, as I own all four in order to have options, but the NHA happened to somehow bubble to the top of the pile for some unknown reason. I for one certainly didn't expect that to be the case when I first started out.
     
    #6 kevsamiga, 16 Jan 2014
    Last edited: 16 Jan 2014
  7. gunz_kruung

    gunz_kruung Well-Known Member

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    LoL..:D Yup my bad :p thanks kevsamiga for giving me a tickle didn't noticed that.. it should be [ for hacking ] hope others would understand my real intention by reading the elaborations ;)
     
  8. air_pull91

    air_pull91 Well-Known Member

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    so..it possible for my own *conclusion i could have the best combo if i owned H and NHA?
    need ur opionion @gunz_kruung and @kevsamiga..
     
  9. kevsamiga

    kevsamiga Well-Known Member
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    They *all* have a place, because they all get different results placed in the same position, with the exception of the NHR, although while a superior NIC
    it loses traction against the others due to a) reliability issues b) poor drivers in Windows and Linux and c) doesn't live up to the perceived
    hype or it's figures on paper as dethroning the 036H, possibly due to b) and a).

    There is no *golden* egg or super chip. You have to try them all to figure out what works best in your own situation.

    If I were you, it would be NHA for connection stability even in low signal conditions of dense AP area, 036H for detecting all available signals around you, and an NH used for the power to kick clients, bearing in mind not all adapters leave the factory created equal and can be as much as 10db variance across components and temperature conditions.

    But it all depends on what you want to be using them for...036NHA is a good all rounder same as 036H, but without the slowness of the 036H for regular Windows use.

    Stay away from the NHR, it's just not worth the bother, even in Windows, and that's coming from someone who's NHR v2 is less than 2 weeks old and the novelty factor hasn't worn completely off yet...I don't have a "preference" for a certain adapter because I end up giving them all a spin depending what mood I'm in, and mainly because I keep tinkering with different drivers and making my own cocktails.

    I'm afraid It's all show, but no go. If you already have sampled an 036H and you get an NHR, you'll only end up disappointed. For those that don't own the better ones, or are using crappy laptop chips, or Chinese chicken brand adapters, maybe it might just rock your boat. And I emphasise word "just". I was considering buying an 051 (the gold one), but the average joe results according to reports using it for G mode networks puts me off.

    What an incredibly poor show, jumping from 8187 to 8188 makes using Realtek. :)
    It attempts to be "jack of all trades" but ends up being "master of none".

    Also, nice to see some cheeky "E$"£$% cut, paste, and stole my entire article off xiaopan after only 1 day on Alfa adapters, changing the title of it thus, and not bothering to list any credits for work thereof : :areyoukiddingme:

    Google Translate
     
    #9 kevsamiga, 20 Jan 2014
    Last edited: 20 Jan 2014
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. gunz_kruung

    gunz_kruung Well-Known Member

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    air_pull91
    Do you own any chipset right now [8187L or AR9271]..? it doesn't matter if it not an "Alfa" brand's because it would still work as it should be :).. Except sometime the packaging(box) really are shown beyond logical specs such as [6800mw 68dbi] lol..:D but for me it just for "satisfying customer expectations" [ the higher the specs= the higher it demands ] and maybe a bit of lack structural quality in some parts or maybe not.. Just to add I had used sinmax [ realtek 8187L] and signalking [ ralink 3070L] I can said that it a good card though no complain at all for it abilities {;)}.. If one of the chipset you had already owned then just go buy the other one.. and if it happen to be the NHA, you should bought with an extra " 7dbi panel antenna" [for ranges or obstacles] because it really need it compared to the 5 dbi or 9 dbi dipole antenna..Or if you had more to spent on your pocket then take the 24dBi Grid Parabolic Antenna 2.4GHz
    [ALFA NETWORK Inc. even though I don't owned it but I'm sure that you would be still satisfied with it:)..

    But before you make up your mind.. maybe it good to read TCB13 post maybe it could help you..
    AWUS036NHR v AWUS036NH Comparison | Page 6 | Xiaopan Forums

    Hope can help you a bit dude's :):D

    kevsamiga
    ZZZzz sad for you man, did you scold the person's already..:mask: It just like a rats stealing things but rats are much better than the person's because rats never took pride's for other work's..except for hamster lol..:p
     
  11. air_pull91

    air_pull91 Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the info @gunz_kruung..
    that 24dbi grid parabolic antenna gonna be in my next wish list..
    but i have a few question about it..
    how do i connect the antenna with my adapter?
    is the cable to provided together with the antenna?
     
  12. air_pull91

    air_pull91 Well-Known Member

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    Nvm..i have already ask local alfa retailer here..they provide with 8m coaxial cable to connect with the adapter..
    Btw, need to double confirm here, dat outdoor antenna is for receiving wifi signal right not for transmitting rght?

    Sent from my Lenovo P770 using Tapatalk
     
  13. kevsamiga

    kevsamiga Well-Known Member
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    It's for receive and transmitting, in a tighter beam focusing the signal more than panels or yagi uda's (which as a result makes it harder to aim). And usually focused on one AP at a time. Also the best interference rejection as it ignores signals more you are not focused on.

    Think of it like a light, an Omni is a candle, panels or yagi's are a torch, and a parabolic grid is a laser. They all just focus the beam using the available light "there already is" which is your power output limits.

    I was considering one myself at one stage, but it is big and heavy, and would be a waste of time for me or my setup indoors. I don't even see any real benefits from panels or yagi's indoors in the ETSI domain, so I didn't wanna waste even more money on a parabolic grid. Not without trying to make your own out of a scrap satellite dish first. 8 mtr of cable is far too long for that grid unless it's top quality very low loss stuff.

    Most of the signal will be swallowed up and attenuated by the cable at these frequencies, so 24dbi gain will lose lot's of dbi in the cable making it around the same or worse than a lesser antenna.

    Keep coax cable short around 3ft, and use active usb repeater instead for the cable runs (no loss with usb).

    And remember as with any antenna..... Height is might.. :)
     
    #13 kevsamiga, 21 Jan 2014
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2014
  14. air_pull91

    air_pull91 Well-Known Member

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    So u mean if i use usb cable let just say 10meter no data loss at all?
    Then better for me to put up my alfa at the roof and use the usb cable to connect with my pc..

    Sent from my Lenovo P770 using Tapatalk
     
  15. kevsamiga

    kevsamiga Well-Known Member
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    Coax cable loses signal badly at 2.4ghz for anything other than short cable runs. Most of the power is wasted in the coax and doesn't reach the antenna, and then with SWR mismatch on the edge of the frequency bands to calculate on top from cable run which will reflect the signal back up the coax.

    The higher the frequency, the worse this effect... There is *no* signal loss with long USB cable because it's the coax that feeds your adapter that loses
    the signal, the usb just provides power and data from the adapter to the computer, not dealing with radio signal like antenna to adapter.

    Better to make the 10m cable roof run with an active usb repeater cable which boost the usb power to the *adapter* over this distance because normal usb is limited to 5m.

    So the short answer is the least coax as possible.

    Using coax over any distance will seriously degrade the signal to not make the installation worth the bother unless it's top end thick coax, and then, still worse than no loss at all from long usb cable.

    You can get good quality active usb cables around 20m and waterproof housing for the adapter/cables instead while still keeping all your transmit power
    and 24dbi reception capability from using a parabolic.

    Wheras a long coax run would end up 24dbi - any db cable loss from a x meters coax affecting recieve and transmit because power is wasted in the coax. Understand ?
     
    #15 kevsamiga, 21 Jan 2014
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2014
  16. GeekDeveloper

    GeekDeveloper Active Member

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    Lol man.....I was thinking of buying that 36H, because all of the good coustomer reviews at amazon and some other sites (this card is like their super hero on those sites) but after reading this article, I am very much disappointed with the 36H. Is this card worth buying? I want a good card for cracking kinda stuff and I am living in a residential area. And please someone do tell me its range in Kilometers. And also suggest me which one of these should I buy? THANKS! :)
     
  17. kevsamiga

    kevsamiga Well-Known Member
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    Alfa just has everyone buying them like pigeons....lol :)

    I've offered an unbiased opinion on each one. My 036NHR v2 is barely less than 2 weeks old, but it didn't get anywhere what it should have done. Total poop compared to the others, and the 036H inflates artificially it's bars and RSSI, because you still can't connect even when the figures say you can.

    As for distance, there is no right answer because radio propagation is not an exact science.

    With line of sight, anything is possible. Without it your talking in feet not kilometres, but vastly superior than inbuilt wifi that would be lucky to put even 10mw into it's strip antenna built into the laptop screen.

    Every time the signal is reflected off an object it's wave polarisation changes from vertical to horizontal and vice versa.

    Every time it does this reflection the signal loses power. Helical antenna's can get around degradation of signal that reflection causes because they are circularly polarised but all depends on how much money you're willing to spend for a distance link, then you have to calculate Fresnel zones, multipath fading, interference which is invisible, density of AP's all transmitting and fighting over 3 non overlapping channels and it all starts to get very complex, not to mention the speed drop, because your going to get nowhere close to 54mbps at any distance. Not in Europe, anyway...if you happen to live in Bolivia or Belize then your in luck.

    Unfortunately there is no real winner, and no "golden card" that beats everything. They all behave differently, some see access points others
    don't, and some can connect to those that can't. It's more of an art rather than a science.

    Unless your living in a cave at the top of a mountain lined with foil to act as a waveguide, your going to have to lower your expectations about the kilometres erm, thing....

    I can't even snag a signal when it rains half the time. :)
     
    #17 kevsamiga, 22 Jan 2014
    Last edited: 22 Jan 2014
  18. GeekDeveloper

    GeekDeveloper Active Member

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    Thanks for the answer, but I want to implement WPA evil twin attack, which one is better for that? And I am also stuck between 36H vs 36NHA?
     
  19. kevsamiga

    kevsamiga Well-Known Member
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    The NHA is the only one to support all 6 different wireless modes regardless of signal strength.

    Which are Monitor, Master, Managed, Ad-hoc, Mesh and Repeater.
     
  20. air_pull91

    air_pull91 Well-Known Member

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    what is the minimum for me to get the coax cable?5m?
    and how much is the data loss per meter in the cable?
     
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