TP-LINK Archer T4U Plus AC1300 is a WiFi 5 USB adapter. It features 2 antennas which can be rotated in any direction and a USB 3.0 connection (which also works in USB 2). The price is ok. I thought it was a good choice for a spare computer that I don’t use often.
Of course the reason that I don’t use it often is because the previous adapter, TP-LINK TL-WN722N, a 2.4Ghz 802.11 b/g/n performed so badly in a congested environment. It was old and it had to go.
Before you buy
To avoid any bad surprises, I tried to find if it was compatible with Linux before I bought it. TP-LINK doesn’t officially support Linux (it only supports Windows). Nevertheless I found that many people had it working without problems so it was worth buying.
The chipset used by the device is either Realtek RTL8812AU or RTL8812BU depending on the version V1, V2 or V3 and you need a specific driver for each chipset!
lsusb gave me this information:
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 2357:010e TP-Link Archer T4UH v2 [Realtek RTL8812AU]
So mine is a V2 with a Realtek RTL8812AU.
To install on Ubuntu, you first have to install some requirements for building modules e.g.
sudo apt install build-essential dkms git iw
and on Debian and others, also make sure you have the Linux headers installed. Then follow the instructions on the driver’s site to install it with DKMS.
Actually, Ubuntu and Debian do have a packaged driver for RTL8812AU. You can try it with
sudo apt install rtl8812au-dkms
I can’t comment on how well this one works. I didn’t try it much because I had aircrack-ng already working. I believe aircrack-ng is actively maintained and performs better.
On the other hand, if you have an RTL8812BU you can try this driver:
There are other drivers too and Linux 6.2+ probably includes some driver on its own. The above is still recommended because it is more tried for the time being.
What about WiFi 6
Maybe you noticed that I bought a WiFi 5 adapter while WiFi 6 is available. One reason is that I thought WiFi 5 would be enough for these specific needs: I only need to saturate the Internet connection and I don’t use that computer very often. So I thought I could keep the costs down and buy a WiFi 5 extender with the money I spared, to improve the signal.
There is also another important reason. TP-LINK TX20U Plus is another model that I considered, it’s a bit more expensive but supports WiFi 6. It uses the chipset Realtek RTL8852AU and a driver for it is at https://github.com/lwfinger/rtl8852au, however the driver does not perform well and may have other problems. The very useful USB WiFi Chipset reference specifically says to avoid.
From what I figured, if you are looking for an extra hassle free, plug and play WiFi 6, try to buy a PCI Express WiFi with an Intel chipset. Intel does fully support Linux and its drivers are in the kernel: worse thing you have to upgrade the kernel. Of course that’s not the only option, other chipsets may have good support too, but an Intel chipset is a “fail-safe” option for Linux. So do try to find out the chipset used and its maturity of support in Linux before buying any WiFi adapter.