Wifi Adapter Review (new member)

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking Cards' started by backBreaker, 21 Mar 2013.

  1. backBreaker

    backBreaker Well-Known Member

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    I just registered to this forum. I have a number of wifi adapters I have tested and I will post my experiences here.

    List of adapters tested:

    Alfa 1000mW AWUS036H (RTL8187) 7 dBi Panel Antenna and 5 dbBi Omni Directional

    PowerLink PL-18N 600 mW (RT3072) 9dBi Dual Antenna

    Generic 400mW 5dBi Antenna (RTL8187B)

    Gsky 500mW 27dBm (RTL8187B) 5dBi Antenna

    TP-LINK - TL-WN722N 100mW (AR9271) 4dBi Antenna

    Etekcity (Sinmax) 1000mw (RT3072) Dual 6 dBi Antenna

    Antennae all detachable.

    Separate Antennae tested:

    EnGenius EAG-2408 Outdoor HighGain 8dBi Omni-Directional Antenna

    BilcoWifi 20dbi Cantenna

    I use the Linux OS almost exclusively. I have noticed that the 8187 chipset seems to work better with Windows than with Linux, by that I mean they have a more stable connection to an AP with better data through put.

    All the adapters work with Linux. I have tested with Gentoo/Sabayon, System Rescue CD, Slackware, plus a number of others. Most work well with BackTrack5 r3; however, the TP-LINK is unstable for penetration testing. Did not test PowerLink with BT5r3.

    Alpha is the most sensitive and picks up the most APs. Etekcity picks up almost as many APs as Alpha but is more stable, once it connects to an AP, it doesn't drop the signal. TP-LINK picks up a lot of APs and once it connects, is very stable. Gsky and Generic are just average performers. Power Link is better than Gsky or Generic but not as good as Etekcity.

    The Engenius antenna gives a noticeable improvement over the antennae that come with the adapters. For example comparing Alpha with its 5 dBi omni antenna and Alfa with the Engenius antenna, I left kismet running over night for both, the 5 dBi antenna resulted in 289 networks spied and the Engenius antenna resulted in 400 networks spied. (I live in a city and there are a lot of APs nearby, I have identified 53 with strong enough signals to attempt a crack. 4 are open with no security; 27 are WEP - 21 cracked, 2 hidden SSID and 4 out of range; 22 WPA - 6 cracked, most of the rest are too old to have WPS so reaver does not work or are out of range, only 1 had WPS turned off. It requires a much stronger signal to crack WPA than it does to crack WEP.)

    Comparing the Alpha Omni antenna to the Panel antenna, I observed no difference in performance either with signal strength or number of APs spied.

    I tested all adapters with txpower settings from 50mw to 1000 mw (or max for the adapter). The transmit power has no effect on the number of APs spied, signal strength, or stability of connection. Not surprising since the receiver's sensitivity is unaffected by the transmitted power. Once you have adequate transmit power, the receiver sensitivity is the limiting factor. I just use the 50 mw setting for all of them now, it cuts down on interference.

    I just got the BilcoWifi Cantenna and have only tested it a little with the TP-LINK, it is very directional. If you point it directly at an AP, there is a dramatic improvement in performance wrt all the other antennae.

    The signal strength and signal quality that Linux reports for wifi adapters is pretty meaningless. To compare 2 adapters, I use a program called iperf, it is a simple Linux command line tool that tests data transfer speed between a client and server.

    A tip for using BackTrack:

    I had problems using airmon-ng and monx interfaces.

    The following works without problems:

    ifconfig wlanx down

    iwconfig wlanx mode monitor

    ifconfig wlanx up

    Then just use wlanx instead of monx.
     
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  2. Remington

    Remington Well-Known Member
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    Good info. When comparing the Alfa 5dbi Omni to the Alfa 7dbi Panel antenna, I observed a significant difference in performance in signal strength. I never use Omni's because I find the directional panels (I have 3) just blow them away. I did find that the Alfa 5dbi omni did outperform a ebay 12dbi omni and my Kasens 18dbi omni.
     
  3. Shah Legno

    Shah Legno Member

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    Good review...i hope you can tested Signal King product 999Wn to compare direct with Alfa Network product, i want to see some result...
     
  4. sahreel

    sahreel Active Member

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    Shah Legno: i had use the 999wn and alfa awus036nhr, both use in linux fedora the 999 just pickup a 3 ap with low signal and 1 ap strong signal the alfa pickup also 4 ap but with all strong signal but i cannot connect...problem with the driver in linux and also in windows...plug n play detect but cant connect(in linux)?? the 999wn can connect with stable connection only the strong signal one...overall signal pickup in linux is better then in windows...now i just use 999wn the 036nhr still had problem:(.
     
  5. Shah Legno

    Shah Legno Member

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    Great...i was using 999wn only now...it give me full 4 or 5 bar signal when i put it at the side of my house window at level 19...35 AP i can catch..
     
  6. sahreel

    sahreel Active Member

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    level 19 wow its very good such tall building sure can pickup many ap's..for now i will stick with 999wn and maybe a couple of days or weeks i will try alfa 036h..this is old adapter sure the driver is mature for linux and windows.:happy:
     
  7. Shah Legno

    Shah Legno Member

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    yeahh...at level 19, i got so many AP....now can't wait to compare it with my AWUS036H...to see how it perform with my signal king..
     
  8. sahreel

    sahreel Active Member

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    great for u, so i hope u can share with us how the alfa and the 999wn perform in comparison..:happy:
     
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