AWUS036AC (rt8812au) driver setup in Kali Linux

I am planning a number of articles which focus on using aircrack-ng and hashcast to recover WPA wireless security passwords. However to get into that you need to have a specific wireless device which supports monitor mode and packet injection. I decided on the Alfa AWUS036AC, but some work was required to get the drivers installed.

AWUS036AC Driver Installation

This guide is based on Kali Linux 2019.4 – but the drivers are certified for earlier versions of Kali and the kernel that 2019.4 uses.

Hardware – AWUS036AC

My choice of hardware for WPA password recovery was the Alfa Networks AWUS036AC – https://amzn.to/34LlqXY

Full manufacturer specifications – https://www.alfa.com.tw/products_detail/3.htm

Increased Wireless Signal Penetration 
With unmatched Wi-Fi signal strength and coverage. AWUS036AC not only has maximum WiFi range, it helps to penetrate walls, and eliminate Wi-Fi dead spots in your living space easily.
If you are conductin a wireless assessment, this is great news because you can conduct your testing from the comfort of your desk chair.

Chipset Realtek RTL8812AU
WiFi Standards IEEE 802.11ac/a/b/g/n
WiFi Frequency Dual Band 2.4GHz or 5GHz
Antenna Connector RP-SMA female x 2
Antenna Type 2.4G/5GHz Dual-Band 5dBi dipole antenna
Wireless Performance 802.11a: up to 54Mbps 802.11b: up to 11Mbps 802.11g: up to 54Mbps 802.11n: up to 300Mbps  802.11ac: up to 867Mbps
Wireless Security 64/128 bit WEP,WPA/WPA2,WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK,WPS
Interface USB 3.0
OS Requirement Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8/8.1 and Windows 10 32/64bit, macOS 10.5 to 10.14 or later Linux

AWUS036AC (rt8812au) Driver Installation

Assuming that you are loged into a terminal session on your kali linux machine as root, the following commands are required to download and install the drivers from source:

Clone the aircrack-ng git repository:

git clone https://github.com/aircrack-ng/rtl8812au

Enter the newly downloaded directory:

cd rtl8812au

Build and install the source files:

make
make install

Reboot the Kali instance to complete:

reboot now

There are a number of other git repositories where you can obtain drivers for this usb wireless adaptor. My findings were that the aircrack-ng repo was the only place which supplied drivers supported in the current kernel version for Kali 2019.4 – kernel 5.3.9

Verify your device

To ensure that your device is available and ready to be used in Kali, you can run the following command to confirm that the OS can recognise the adapter:

iwconfig

Other useful articles:

6 Replies to “AWUS036AC (rt8812au) driver setup in Kali Linux”

  1. Thank you Tom for the posting in regards to getting the Alfa ASUS036ACS wireless adapter working in Kali Linux. I had tried other sites before finding your “ExitCode 0” page. Your solution worked whereas others had no effect. Again much thanks.

  2. could not get this to monitor mode and now its completely un recognized!. 🙁 I am on kali 2020.3 And I used the install dkms

    1. Hi. I have just tested this on the latest release of kali and on ubuntu 2004 – same outcome (also used dkms). I suspect that I was on Kali 2019.4 when this worked. As you can see from the github issue tracking for these drivers there are a lot of issues with this chipset: https://github.com/aircrack-ng/rtl8812au/issues
      I have since picked up a different adapter based on a different chipset.

  3. I too have given up on the Alpha for monitor mode. I can barely get it to function anymore on Linux. I now use only an older a Panda PAUO6 device in Linux. It’s only for 2.4Ghz but works well on Linux and supports monitor mode under Kali.

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