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Old 07-20-2015, 11:41 PM   #1
soonermike
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Smile wireless connection


Do any of the many Linux distros support usb wireless adapters.
I would like to change over to one if they support it. I am leaning towards Ubuntu or mint. If anyone responds with a positive, I would appreciate it they would send some how-tos with the reply.Thank you very much
 
Old 07-21-2015, 12:50 AM   #2
JaseP
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Yes. Most mainstream distros (the K/X/Ubuntus, Linux Mint, Fedora, CentOS/Scientific Linux, Debian, Slackware, etc., ad nauseum...) will support standard brand USB wifi adapters. I'd personally recommend sticking to ones based on Atheros chipsets, as opposed to Broadcom (Just personal preference/experience).
 
Old 07-21-2015, 01:28 AM   #3
ardvark71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soonermike View Post
Do any of the many Linux distros support usb wireless adapters.
I would like to change over to one if they support it. I am leaning towards Ubuntu or mint. If anyone responds with a positive, I would appreciate it they would send some how-tos with the reply.
Hi...

Welcome to the forum

While many USB adapters are supported, some are not (or require a significant amount of work and know-how to get them working.) If you would, please give the brand and model number (including any version numbers,) so we can give you a better idea if your adapter will work.

Regards...
 
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:34 AM   #4
fatmac
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Welcome aboard.

Adapters based on an Atheros chipset stand the best chance of working with Linux in my experience.
 
Old 07-21-2015, 12:49 PM   #5
RockDoctor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatmac View Post
Adapters based on an Atheros chipset stand the best chance of working with Linux in my experience.
I must be getting old - I remember when this was definitely not the case. I've been using usb wireless adapters on my desktop PCs since 802.11b days. Current dongle is a $10 Microcenter special and I've had absolutely no problems running it with Fedora, Mint, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, every Puppy Linux variant I can find, Proteus, and probably a few others over the years.
Code:
~$ lsusb
Bus 002 Device 003: ID 0846:9030 NetGear, Inc. WNA1100 Wireless-N 150 [Atheros AR9271]
 
Old 07-21-2015, 02:29 PM   #6
rtmistler
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I'd say "they just work", Atheros, Broadcom, whatever. I really don't have problems probably since the kernel went beyond 2.6. Modern kernels seem to have this fine. And further, there's not really tons of new USB WIFI chipsets coming out either. 802.11n is about the highest they've developed in a while and hence the chipsets in use seem to be stable, as is the kernel support. The only worry would be if you were to be building a customized kernel and had disabled lot of features. Or similarly if you were using a kernel highly customized by someone. Not usually what you run into when you grab a distribution.
 
Old 07-21-2015, 02:36 PM   #7
ardvark71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtmistler View Post
I'd say "they just work", Atheros, Broadcom, whatever. I really don't have problems probably since the kernel went beyond 2.6. Modern kernels seem to have this fine. And further, there's not really tons of new USB WIFI chipsets coming out either. 802.11n is about the highest they've developed in a while and hence the chipsets in use seem to be stable, as is the kernel support. The only worry would be if you were to be building a customized kernel and had disabled lot of features. Or similarly if you were using a kernel highly customized by someone. Not usually what you run into when you grab a distribution.
Hi...

Unless you are referring to something different, this has not been my experience. I'm currently using a USB adapter that was not supported "out of the box" and had to patch and compile the manufacturer's Linux driver to get it to work. Fortunately, I found detailed instructions and commands in how to do that. Most folks who are new to Linux and have no command line experience aren't going to know how to do that or want to be bothered with it.

Regards...

Last edited by ardvark71; 07-21-2015 at 02:41 PM. Reason: Added information.
 
Old 07-21-2015, 03:45 PM   #8
beachboy2
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Quote:
....this has not been my experience. I'm currently using a USB adapter that was not supported "out of the box" and had to patch and compile the manufacturer's Linux driver to get it to work. Fortunately, I found detailed instructions and commands in how to do that. Most folks who are new to Linux and have no command line experience aren't going to know how to do that or want to be bothered with it.
I am with you on this one ardvark71.

I have lost track of the number of USB wifi adapters that, according to reviews, were supposed to work "out of the box" in Linux, both for myself and others.

Some worked after command line tweaking and others appeared to be for Windows-only.

Non-functioning wifi adapters take up a large number of threads on Linux forums.

Last edited by beachboy2; 07-21-2015 at 08:27 PM.
 
Old 07-21-2015, 03:49 PM   #9
Timothy Miller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachboy2 View Post
I am with you on this one aardark71.

I have lost track of the number of USB wifi adapters that, according to reviews, were supposed to work "out of the box" in Linux, both for myself and others.

Some worked after command line tweaking and others appeared to be for Windows-only.

Non-functioning wifi adapters take up a large number of threads on Linux forums.
And the vast majority of them will be based on Broadcom chipsets. Atheros nowadays has VERY good support in the linux kernel, but Broadcom never has, and I rather doubt ever will, have very good support. They can usually be MADE to work, but rarely will simply work out of the box.

In the end, if you find a USB adapter you want, find what actual chipset it's based on, not just if some reviews say it works. If you know what chipset it's based on, much better likelihood of finding if it simply works or not on distribution of your choice.
 
Old 07-21-2015, 03:55 PM   #10
wagscat123
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I recently set this up for one of my older desktops. It worked out of the box with a "Belkin N300 High-Perofrmance Wi-Fi USB Adapter" with openSUSE 13.2, Ubuntu 12.04, and LinuxMint 17 if a model suggestion is of any help. Another USB adapter I bought 6 months ago required hours of looking through obscure Ubuntu forum posts and manually carrying packages and their dependencies across with thumbdrives to get it to work.

Last edited by wagscat123; 07-21-2015 at 04:26 PM.
 
Old 07-21-2015, 04:18 PM   #11
tweaklinux
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Nah, I've bought 5-6 wireless usb-dongles for that purpose, but only one of them worked out of the box with everything, and it was NOT the Think Penguin adapter.

The one that works for me with everything, is this one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/150Mbps-Mini...item27d3f54d6d

Last edited by tweaklinux; 07-21-2015 at 04:21 PM. Reason: correction
 
Old 07-21-2015, 04:42 PM   #12
ardvark71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tweaklinux View Post
and it was NOT the Think Penguin adapter.
I'm guessing this is because it has a newer chipset.

Regards...
 
Old 07-22-2015, 03:06 AM   #13
beachboy2
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soonermike,

This USB wifi adapter list may be of some use to you in avoiding problematic devices:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Wi...CardsSupported

Quote:
In the end, if you find a USB adapter you want, find what actual chipset it's based on, not just if some reviews say it works. If you know what chipset it's based on, much better likelihood of finding if it simply works or not on distribution of your choice.
Timothy Miller's advice is sound.

Broadcom adapters can be put to one side because they are in a class of their own.
See frankbell's excellent sticky for advice on these:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ux-4175434970/


However, many well-known brands of wifi adapters, such as Belkin, D-Link, Edimax, TP-Link and Netgear also have problems in Linux.

The very cheap, tiny nano devices are often a real pain in my experience.
 
Old 07-22-2015, 08:45 AM   #14
RockDoctor
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FWIW, I've walked into both Microcenter Best Buy with my favorite Linux on a flash drive to test laptop compatibility. I suppose one could do the same for wireless dongles (but be polite, and don't try it unless you're willing to buy it if it works)
 
Old 07-22-2015, 10:09 AM   #15
tweaklinux
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RockDoctor View Post
FWIW, I've walked into both Microcenter Best Buy with my favorite Linux on a flash drive to test laptop compatibility. I suppose one could do the same for wireless dongles (but be polite, and don't try it unless you're willing to buy it if it works)
That's a good idea. But not an alternative if you shop cheap at ebay
 
  


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