It seems that several people (myself included) are having great difficulty getting different wi-fi adapters to work reliably with the Pi. Some adaptors seem to require excessive amounts of power and a mandatory powered USB hub, others require tricky configuration steps, and some even require Kernel modifications.

Is there a low power compact usb wi-fi adapter available that doesn't require any external power and is compatible with the Raspberry Pi and the greater majority of images (such as Raspbian, Arch Linux, RaspRazor, RaspBMC and OpenELEC) out of the box? If so, where can we buy it from that will ship internationally?

7 Answers 7


The "EDIMAX EW-7811UN Wireless USB Adapter" works out of the box for me.

Raspbian (2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.zip) comes with drivers for it.

No extra power-supply is needed. The configuration with wpa_cli took 10 minutes.

  • 1
    Second that, works reliably with a 1 A power supply in combination with a Ethernet connection. Jan 14, 2013 at 14:23

The following website has a good list of Working Wifi Adaptors which have been tested on various images.

Please check the above link to know more.

  • Ah thanks - yeah I'm aware of the list but most of the entries don't note the power consumption which is one the main considerations. Ideally it needs to work without a powered hub alongside a wireless keyboard/mouse. Nov 9, 2012 at 5:38

Did not find any that works out-of-the-box however this one: https://www.adafruit.com/products/814 Smallest I found with little to no configuration to get it to work.

If using with a Raspberry Pi: The Wheezy distribution does not support this module out-of-the-box. However, this easy-to-use script will update the kernel to support it! Also, the Adafruit Occidentalis distribution has support built in.

  • This adapter worked for me. I only needed to make some minor changes to get the adapter to come up automatically after a reboot. My steps are documented in this answer. Nov 7, 2012 at 16:07
  • Very nice, seems like a good solution! Do you know the power consumption / have test probe voltmeter/ammeter data when it's at idle and/or actively communicating on the network? Nov 9, 2012 at 5:41
  • Wasn't sure if this one works well with RaspbMC but bought one and can confirm that it works very well, out of the box. Aug 24, 2013 at 16:39

I have a TPLink WN823N, quite small. I think i noted yesterday (in trying to work out my SMB performance issue) that it draws about less than 1A of power.

I'll double check this later on. but i did notice that it seemed to use a tiny amout of power.

oh, it also required no configuration or extra drivers on the rasbian/raspbmc side. so it worked straight out of the box


I purchased the AirLink101 AWLL5088 Wireless N 150 Ultra Mini USB Adapter card which worked out of the box with the Raspbian 2012-12-16 Wheezy image.

The only configuration I had to do was add my WiFi information to /etc/network/interfaces:

allow-hotplug wlan0
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
    wpa-ssid YOUR_SSID
    wpa-psk YOUR_PASSWORD

http://www.MCMelectronics.com sell RPi and accessories. Among the accessories are "Wi Pi" from Element 14 and "EDiMAX Nano USB Wireless N USB Adapter". Both are USB dongles and I presume are suitable for RPi. US$10 and US$12 respectively.


I bought and currently use the CNet CQU-906 Wireless-N Pico USB Dongle. super small and worked about 1-2 minutes after plugging it in(counting the reboot time due to a new USB device being plugged in). fully compatible on my device and i was connected to my network faster than my laptop can connect with its built in wireless. here's a link to it. http://www.walmart.com/ip/CNet-CQU-906-Wireless-N-PicoUSB-Dongle/15571889

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