Murray's Blog

Linux-compatible wireless USB adaptor: Results

After my 3 previous posts, I decided to get serious. I tried four different USB wireless adaptors – the most widely available ones that were most likely to work based on my previous entries. I knew one of them would work, but I wanted facts.

My interpretation of “widely available” is “available from Amazon”, partly because they have a wide range, including products from extra sellers. And because I’d like to fund my research through the Amazon associates links, by creating an über-simple page of just-works Ubuntu hardware. If that works then I can use the income to keep the results up-to-date by buying new devices for testing. It’s unlikely that I’d make a profit on that.

Maybe it’s a silly idea, but nobody else is offering a list of just-works hardware for just one distro, for the people who want a simple answer. All the lists I’ve seen so far are vague and out-of-date and/or have a bizarre understanding of “works out-of-the-box”. It’s time to simplify the question that we are trying to answer.


Update: Get a ZyXEL ZyAir G-220 v2. Otherwise try to get the MSI US54SE (more difficult as time passes). The ZyXEL ZyAir G-220 v2 now works perfectly in Ubuntu Gutsy, and it’s still available. There is no improvement in the support of the other cards in Ubuntu Gutsy.

Old text: Get an MSI US54SE if you possibly can. That seems difficult in the USA, but it’s on Amazon Germany. It works out-of-the-box on Ubuntu Edgy, and Feisty, but not Dapper. There don’t seem to be any alternative non-working versions with the same model number. This is how it should be. If someone finds a source for MSI US54SE sticks in the USA, please let me know. Richard Hughes’ experience with a 3CRUSB10075 suggests that it might be just as good, probably with the same chipset, using the same zd1211rw driver, but the model name is vague and I suspect there are various different versions.

And Linux Emporium generously sent me a sample of their Edimax 7318USg wireless USB stick. They know this doesn’t work out-of-the-box, due to driver problems with the new RT2571 chipset, but they’ve done lots of research and testing on various Linux distributions, and provide drivers on a CD, with a very simple command-line script that installs everything, and then works on Dapper, Edgy, and Feisty. This model is not available on any Amazon sites, so they seem to have found something special. They’ve spent considerable time on a product that probably has a very small profit margin, because they want to give back to the community, out of the goodness of their hearts. So buy stuff from them.

Note: This test was only on an open wireless network. Frankly I was glad to get something that worked at all, and more detailed tests can happen later.



It’s no longer available from right now anyway. You can still get it from
The script/driver from Linux Emporium for the Edimax 7318USg also made this ASUS WL-167G work, though with the same lack of integration with the Network Applet or Networking control panel.

Edimax 7318USg

Note that this worked on all vesions of Ubuntu with the supplied driver, though you’ll need to use the command-line to connect, and you’ll need to rebuild the driver every few months when your Linux kernel is automatically updated.


Note: I also tried to get the MSI US54G, because it’s available in the USA, and I suppose there’s a remote chance that it’s similar to the MSI US54SE, but after two weeks has not yet been able to deliver it. Frankly, it’s not very likely that it works. I’ll update this information if I get my hands on one.

ZyXEL ZyAir G-220 v2

This was a wild-card choice, because I’d read somewhere that some of their other models, now unavailable, worked out of the box. I think this one has a zd1211b chipset. In Ubuntu Gutsy it seems to use the “zd1211rw” driver. I’d love to hear reports about the more recent ZyXEL models.

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