USB WiFi Adapter, driver installation

Questions about hardware, drivers and peripherals.
In the Original Post please also include the output of inxi -Fzx
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Mister Magoo
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Joined: 26 Aug 2013 23:58
Location: Québec, Canada

USB WiFi Adapter, driver installation

Postby Mister Magoo » 29 Nov 2017 22:35

Help nedded to install the driver of a USB WiFi adapter, from ASUS (USB-AC51)

The WiFi of my old Sony VAIO is been showing sign of fatigue for some time. I am using it mostly for the web, like other use android tablet. News, email, file exchange, contact, etc. So I invested in the device mention in the title.

The instructions in the manual are mostly for Window installation. The installation read me file in the driver .zip is uncomprehensible for me. Anyway I tried the make terminal command and failed.

I wrote to the ASUS support departement. The reply came back with instruction on how to download the driver and the manual. No instruction for the installation. Even if I insisted for DEBIAN installation instruction.

I have included the computer info, If somebody have the patience to help me it will be appreciate.

The zip files been to big for the forum I include the links given by the Asus support to access the driver
and the manual ... 1510590809

Code: Select all

:~$ apt policy firmware-realtek
  Installed: 0.43
  Candidate: 0.43
  Version table:
     20161130-3~bpo8+1 0
        100 jessie-backports/non-free amd64 Packages
 *** 0.43 0
        500 jessie/non-free amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
:~$ apt policy wireless-tools
  Installed: 30~pre9-8
  Candidate: 30~pre9-8
  Version table:
 *** 30~pre9-8 0
        500 jessie/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
:~$ apt policy wpasupplicant
  Installed: 2.3-1+deb8u5
  Candidate: 2.3-1+deb8u5
  Version table:
 *** 2.3-1+deb8u5 0
        500 jessie/updates/main amd64 Packages
        100 /var/lib/dpkg/status
     2.3-1+deb8u4 0
        500 jessie/main amd64 Packages
:~$ lsusb
Bus 005 Device 002: ID 05ca:1836 Ricoh Co., Ltd Visual Communication Camera VGP-VCC4 [R5U870]
Bus 005 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 004 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 003 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0001 Linux Foundation 1.1 root hub

:~$ /sbin/ifconfig
eth0      Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:13:a9:85:91:24  
          UP BROADCAST MULTICAST  MTU:1500  Metric:1
          RX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:0 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:0 (0.0 B)  TX bytes:0 (0.0 B)

lo        Link encap:Local Loopback  
          inet addr:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
          UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:65536  Metric:1
          RX packets:808 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:808 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:0 
          RX bytes:109382 (106.8 KiB)  TX bytes:109382 (106.8 KiB)

wlan0     Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:18:de:da:a6:f7  
          inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
          inet6 addr: fe80::218:deff:feda:a6f7/64 Scope:Link
          RX packets:2830 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
          TX packets:2333 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
          collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000 
          RX bytes:1990790 (1.8 MiB)  TX bytes:342054 (334.0 KiB)


SolydX,: Lenovo laptop, Fujitsu i3 laptop, Sanyo VIAO Laptop
Devuan, MX17, SolydX : on Bootable USB HDD
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Re: USB WiFi Adapter, driver installation

Postby kurotsugi » 30 Nov 2017 00:25

AFAIK the correct driver is either rt2860sta (firmware-ralink) or mt7610_sta. unfortunately the driver is known to be buggy so I don't know whether if it will work or not.

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Re: USB WiFi Adapter, driver installation

Postby ilu » 30 Nov 2017 22:04

Before you buy that kind of hardware always check Linux support first. From
Currently there are only a few modern wifi chipsets readily available that work with free software systems. For USB wifi devices this list includes the Realtek RTL8187B chipset (802.11G) and the Atheros AR9170 chipset (802.11N). For Mini PCIe all cards with an Atheros chipset are supported.
Wifi has always been a problem for free software users. USB Wifi cards are becoming less free. With the older 802.11G standard many USB wifi cards had free drivers and did not require non-free firmware. With 802.11N there is only one chipset on the market from Atheros which is completely free.
One company which specialises in free software and sells 802.11N USB wifi cards,, has indicated the availability of free software supported 802.11N USB wifi cards is disappearing. Solving this problem will require more demand than currently exists. Next time you purchase a piece of hardware ask yourself if it is free software compatible.
Practical problem is that by buying type "xyz" of dongle you can't be sure what chip will be on it. Next a lot of drivers were developed for kernel version 2.x and won't compile with newer kernels.
Just for the laughs, here is one of the possible chip manufacturers installation guide (notice the word "quick"):
MT7610U Linux Driver quick start
Check tools:
*Before install driver, please check already install compile tool and kernel source code
1>Install compile tool
$yum install gcc-c++
2>check kernel source code exists /usr/src/kernels/ "kernel name"
Download your kernel source code
$yum install kernel-devel
Anyway, you need to figure out the chip first, as kurotsugi said. You seem to think its a realtek? I can't access the links you posted. Show us the result of "lsusb -v" for your dongle (please cut out the irrelevant parts).

An internet search for ASUS USB-AC51 will show you possible solutions; use one of the available sources at github and compile the driver yourself ... ink-RT2870. Success is not guaranteed. You might not be the type of guy to go to such lengths, I know I wouldn't.

Can you return it? I bought a wifi dongle for my Raspberry pi (don't remember the type) and it worked without any problems - so it should be possible to get a troublefree product. Have a look either at or dig through the Raspberry community. Be ready to go through several return cycles if you get the wrong chip.

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Joined: 09 Jan 2014 00:17

Re: USB WiFi Adapter, driver installation

Postby kurotsugi » 02 Dec 2017 11:52

limiting oneself to either atheros or realtek would be hard. the main problem lies on how linux kernel drivers were made. the open source nature of linux doesn't mean that those driver were made by some random person. in fact, most of the kernel driver is created by the factory employee. due to the competition, the employee can't freely reveal all the code into linux source code. intel was doing that (i.e: they put all their code into the source code) but recently both AMD and intel only put several parts of the code into the source code while maintain some secrecy on their driver. if you check into your package list, you'll surely found intel-microcode/amd-microcode. these are the propietary part of intel/amd driver.

the common practice are either doing intel's way, (i.e: put several part into source code while maintaining some propietary code) or broadcomm way (put all the code as propietary code). in wifi drivers realm, AFAIK only atheros and realtek still maintaining full opensource model. however, as we can see, these model is now declining.

my suggestion would be choose whatever works in linux. it doesn't matter whether if it's propietary, half-propietary or full opensource. broadcomm might be using full propietary driver but they fully working on linux. it still a good choice for linux user.

that being said. mediatek chip is on my blacklist. they maintain an opensource driver's a sh** :|

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Re: USB WiFi Adapter, driver installation

Postby ilu » 02 Dec 2017 15:16

If companies honor the open source idea I try to reward them - so I prefer to buy one of their products if I can get it. Also companies like put in extra effort which should be rewarded. Even if they seem more expensive than on a first glance that's not true if you count the hours you need to get the amazon stuff working - count your time, count our time, count RMA cost, and the specialized Linux vendor will come ahead. Not with every kind of product of course, but definitely with WLAN dongles.

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