I have a NetGear WNA3100M(v1) Wireless-N 300 adapter, and it sort of works. That is, the speed annoyingly often drops down to just a few Mbit/s.

I find if I disconnect from my connection, unplug the N-300, plug it back in again, and wait for my computer to reconnect, the speed usually goes back to normal, which I know to be 30-40 Mbit/s.

Should I however unmount the USB adapter before I plug it out? It does not turn up as a USB drive in the file manager, so I can not right click it and choose unmount. On the other hand, it does turn up in the system tray in Windows 10, and from there I can safely eject it, before unplugging it.

I know Ubuntu is not Windows, and all that, but since I unplug the adapter quite often, it's important to know if I need to unmount it to prevent it from becoming corrupt, as in the case of USB memory sticks.

I'm also asking how to unmount it, if I need to do that from the terminal, since it's nowhere to be seen in the GUI - the system tray or file manager. I have searched this forum (related questions and more) as well as googling, but couldn't find a clear and cut procedure on how to do this.

The output of lsusb:

thelinox@thelinox-desktop:~$ lsusb | grep 'Wireless' Bus 003 Device 003: ID 0846:9021 NetGear, Inc. WNA3100M(v1) Wireless-N 300 [Realtek RTL8192CU]

My OS is Ubuntu Studio 15.10.

  • 1
    mount and unmount are for manipulating filesystem holding devices. Is there a filesystem on the WNA3100M? Do you have to mount it before use?
    – waltinator
    Feb 6, 2016 at 23:00
  • I don't think the adapter has a file system. I don't have to mount it, but then, neither a USB memory when I plug it in - it mounts itself automatically. Could it have a small file system for drivers or firmware? I'll look around for information on that.
    – theodorn
    Feb 7, 2016 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


Mounting and unmounting only apply to USB devices that have some sort of storage feature that the computer can access and edit. A thumb drive is an example of this. Unmounting just ensures that nothing is using the drive when you unplug it, avoiding file corruption.

AFAIK, USB wireless adapters have no accessible storage on them, meaning there's nothing to unmount, as there was nothing to mount in the first place. You don't unmount your mouse before you unplug it, right? ;-).

Unless you have a weird hybrid USB storage/WiFi device, un/mounting doesn't apply at all.

There does seem to be some problem with your adapter setup, though, since it drops in speed like that. Try Jeremy's answer and, if it doesn't work, make a new question about that.

  • As it seems my connection is stable now, after following Jeremy31's steps, I will most probably not need to unplug the adapter very often. Still, good to know that I don't need to unmount it first.
    – theodorn
    Feb 7, 2016 at 13:10

You might see improvement with the rtl8192cu-fixes from pvaret

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git linux-headers-generic build-essential dkms
git clone https://github.com/pvaret/rtl8192cu-fixes.git
sudo dkms add ./rtl8192cu-fixes
sudo dkms install 8192cu/1.10
sudo depmod -a
sudo cp ./rtl8192cu-fixes/blacklist-native-rtl8192.conf /etc/modprobe.d/


  • I've ran your suggested commands, and after reboot, the connection seems much more stable. Even though I asked about (un)mounting of a wireless adapter, it was a bonus to get a solution for the network problems, which led to the original question. I'm marking both answers so far as accepted, and thanks again.
    – theodorn
    Feb 7, 2016 at 13:09

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