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BrosTrend 650Mbps Long Range Linux WiFi Adapter Review

If we count Chromebooks in, Linux-powered personal computers have acquired a significant market these days. However, hardware manufacturers treat Linux like a second-class citizen. After struggling to cope with the WiFi of my Asus laptop with Realtek RTL, I decided to get an adapter assuming it could be an overheating issue. As expected, not so many adapters claim to support Linux at Amazon. However, one company: BrosTrend, claims to have Linux support on most of their WiFi adapters. This article is to share my experience with the BrosTrend 650Mbps Long Range Linux WiFi Adapter.


This article is solely based on my personal experience and not a paid promotion to any companies listed in this article. Linuxedo would never publish a paid promotional article.

Availability

I bought the adapter at Amazon, and it was delivered in two days here in Canada.  Finding the product is easy as you only have to search for "linux wifi adapters". As I've mentioned earlier there are not so many WiFi adapters in Amazon with the support for Linux.


Compatibility

The BrosTrend 650Mbps Long Range Linux WiFi Adapter uses a Realteck chip so you need to install the Realtek driver to get it working. Without having the driver installed, the adapter won't be even detected. The Amazon description contains the following list of operating systems:
Compatible with Linux Kernels up to 5.11, Ubuntu 21.04 ~ 16.04, Debian 10/9/8, Linux Mint 20/19/18, LMDE 4/3/2/1, Kali Linux, Raspberry Pi OS (Raspbian) 10/9/8, MATE, GNOME, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Budgie, Kylin, MX Linux, Pop! OS, Elementary OS, Zorin OS, KDE neon, antiX Linux, Q4OS, Parrot OS, PureOS, Bodhi, Deepin, Linux Lite, SparkyLinux, Peppermint OS, Devuan; Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP; MAC OS X 10.9-10.15.

The key takeaway is they support up to the Linux Kernel 5.11 at the time of writing this article. If you are running a bleeding-edge distro with the latest kernel, you may not be supported. This limitation comes with the Realtek driver that is available only for Linux Kernel up to 5.11.

Installing the Driver

This is when things get complicated. The mini-CD that arrived in the package does not have the driver for Linux. Instead, there is a How-to install guide. You can also find the installation instruction at trendtechcn.com.

The caveat is you need internet access to install the driver using the script they have provided. You read it right; you need to have internet access to get the WiFi adapter so that you can have internet access. Though my faulty built-in WiFi card works most of the time, I was able to use it to run the script and got the driver installed. Otherwise, you may need to rely on LAN or mobile phone wifi-to-usb tethering.


Customer Support

This is another place where BrosTrend shines over other competitors.  The WiFi adapter comes with a Linux support ticket. You can email their tech support team with the ticket number and they will get back to you. Though I didn't have any issues with installing the driver in my Linux Mint 20.1 laptop, there are customer reviews claiming to have issues and praising the tech support.


Final Thoughts

After installing the driver, everything was flawless. The adapter got detected and I have a stable WiFi thereafter. I recommend this for anyone looking for a WiFi adapter purely for its Linux support. However, check your Linux Kernel version and options to have internet access to install the driver before placing the order.

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