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Troubleshooting Wireless Drivers in Kali Linux

Troubleshooting Wireless Drivers

Troubleshooting wireless driver issues in Kali Linux can be a frustrating experience if you don’t know what to look for. This article is meant to be used as a general guideline to better help you find the information you need to solve your wireless issues. The most thorough source for wireless driver information is the aircrack-ng documentation.

90% of wireless issues reported to us are due to people not reading the Aircrack-ng documentation. You need to run airmon-ng check kill before putting your card in monitor mode.

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Carefully read ANY error message as they will VERY OFTEN tell you what’s wrong and how to fix it. If not, then use your Google-Fu.

1. No Interface

  • Simple question: Is it a wireless card? (We’ve seen that several times)
  • Is the device plugged in?
  • Does it show up on lsusb or lspci (with the exception of phones)? You might want to update pci ids and usb ids
  • Does dmesg contain any information about the driver loading and/or failing
  • Is Kali a VM? Then, unless your card is USB, it will not be usable (VMWare/VirtualBox/QEMU will virtualize EVERY PCI device). Is it attached to the VM?
  • If there is nothing in dmesg and it’s not in a VM, then you might want to try the latest compat-wireless (and sometimes, you’ll need firmware) -> check on Linux-Wireless drivers

2. Interface But Can’t Do Anything

  • Read error messages
  • If there are no error messages, then run dmesg | tail and it will most likely tell you what’s wrong
  • Firmware might be missing
  • Check rfkill and any hardware switches and BIOS options

3. No Monitor Mode

  • STA drivers (Ralink, Broadcom) and every other manufacturer’s provided driver doesn’t support monitor mode
  • ndiswrapper doesn’t support monitor mode AND NEVER WILL.
  • Airodump-ng/Wireshark don’t show any packets: check rfkill and any hardware switches and BIOS options

4. Injection

  • Test with aireplay-ng -9 (Make sure the card is in monitor mode with airmon-ng)
  • airmon-ng doesn’t display chipset information: It’s not a big issue as it just didn’t get that information from the card and doesn’t change the abilities of your card
  • No injection but monitor mode: Check rfkill and any hardware switches and BIOS options
  • Network managers sometimes interfere with Aircrack tools. run airmon-ng check kill to kill these processes.

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