Im trying to find the most suitable driver for my network USB device in Ubuntu 11.10. First, where can I check the driver that ubuntu is using to control this device? It appears as interface wireless (wlan1) in Network Tools, but apart from the MAC address and some statistics about data transmission, there's no info about the driver.

I'd already installed aircrack-ng, which provides several options to scan networks. Running airmon-ng start wlan1in terminal I get the following:

Interface   Chipset     Driver

eth1        Unknown         wl

wlan1       Unknown     rt2800usb - [phy2]
                                    (monitor mode enabled on mon0)

The wireless adapter is TP-LINK model TL-WN7200ND, and the wireless panel reads it as a RaLink adapter. Seems that rt2800usb is the driver for the adapter, but is there anything more powerful for this device??

  • I'd love to help as much as I can, but the site is set up to ask one question at a time. Your first question, essentially "what wifi driver am I using" is great. Your second, "what is the best driver for my card", is also good, but it needs its own question. As a bonus, you'll get more rep (points and real) by asking more questions and accepting answers. – djeikyb Jan 17 '12 at 23:09
  • Don't forget to mark an answer! It's an important part of the community. – djeikyb Jan 19 '12 at 6:00

You can get a lot of cool information by poking around /sys. /sys/class has entries for every class of device your linux install is equipped to handle. The driver info is found at this path:

$ ls /sys/class/net/wlan0/device/driver/module/drivers

My wifi card, named wlan0, is using the ath5k driver. Here's the driver info for one of my ethernet cards:

$ ls /sys/class/net/eth1/device/driver/module/drivers

As an aside, Ubuntu (like most linux distros) includes device drivers as kernel modules. The kernel is the big piece of software that runs your computer hardware. Ubuntu loads modules for your hardware based on what it senses you have. You can get a list of loaded modules by running this command: lsmod. Here's a snippet of my lsmod output:

bluetooth             130968  0 
ath5k                 127724  0 
ath                    11990  1 ath5k
eeepc_laptop           12412  0 
sparse_keymap           2660  1 eeepc_laptop
mac80211              196283  1 ath5k
pci_hotplug            22072  1 eeepc_laptop
cfg80211              142540  3 ath5k,ath,mac80211
rfkill                 12470  3 bluetooth,eeepc_laptop,cfg80211
crc16                   1091  2 bluetooth,ext4

The left column is a list of loaded modules, the right-most column shows what modules they in turn use. As you can see, these all use or are related to the ath5k module.

  • problem is: if I plug the device it stops the connection of my computer's wifi card trying to connect to the same network. Seems to be an issue of incompatibility between the USB wireless adapter and that of the network I'm trying to connect. – Stbn Jan 17 '12 at 22:53
  • the output is almost endles when running lsmod, but I found the path to the driver by browsing over the /sys/class directory. thanks – Stbn Jan 17 '12 at 23:24
  • @Stbn yeah, it's pretty long. You can pipe it through less so you can scroll up and down like this: lsmod | less – djeikyb Jan 18 '12 at 1:44

if Ubuntu found a driver and you can surf the net, I do not think you should change it. To find out the driver in use, see the post of djeikyb or, see below.

If Ubuntu did not find a driver, you should first let Ubuntu search for it. For this you launch the "System Settings" and start "Hardware Drivers". This does the job. This method is also the easy way to see the currently used (proprietary) drivers.

The hard way is to identify the chipset of your USB-WiFi and search with this information

For this you need to issue the command "lsusb". Open the gnome terminal and type "lsusb", without quotes. You shoud see something like this:

$ Bus 002 Device 003: ID 064e:a103 Suyin Corp. Acer/HP Integrated Webcam [CN0314]

This is my Webcam, my WiFi-Card can be identified by "lspci".

Based upon the information (according to the example above: vendor 064e - Suyin Corp. and product a103 - Acer/HP Integrated Webcam) you should be able to search precisely for the needed driver.

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