Alfa AWUS036NHR / BackTrack5 Installation Guide

Distribution license: This text has been created by Rokland LLC for the informative purposes of Alfa Network, Inc. and remains the copyright of Rokland LLC. All references to Alfa and Alfa product names and model numbers are trademarks of Alfa Network, Inc. Backtrack and Backtrack 5 are trademarks of Backtrack Linux and its developers. Third parties may distribute this text for informative purposes as long as it includes this copyright notice.
Alfa’s AWUS036NHR is Linux compatible. It also works with Backtrack 5, but is not plug and play. Driver installation is needed (note: at this time it does not appear to be possible to get AWUS036NHR into monitor mode AND have 802.11n capabilities at the same time, see Alfa’s AWUS036NH or AWUS036NEH for 802.11n and monitor mode capability in Backtrack 5).

The following is a quick install guide for Linux users. This should allow you to use your AWUS036NHR for Wi-Fi access in most recent Linux distributions running kernel 2.6.38, but as noted, monitor mode does not appear to be supported by this driver. Further down we have a link to a driver that is reported to allow you to use AWUS036NHR in monitor mode, but the corresponding web page notes the device will only have 802.11g functionality.

To install your Realtek RTL8188RU based AWUS036NHR in Linux, first download the driver here ( The following steps were taken on a Backtrack 5 computer, but the steps should be similar for other recent distros.
*If you are not able to unzip the file in Linux, you will need to download the file to a Windows computer to unzip and then copy the contents to your Linux computer via flash drive or another method.

  1. When you have the files extracted on your Linux machine, open a terminal window and navigate to the location of the drivers. 
  2. Type ./ to install the driver package 
  3. If installation completes successfully, then you can connect the Alfa adapter to the computer and open “Wicd Network Manager” from the Internet menu to connect to networks. Inside Wicd, click Preferences and change the network device to the AWUS036NHR adapter. If you are not sure of the device name, in a terminal window type “iwconfig” without quotes and it will list it there. Commonly the device will be called wlan0, wlan1, or wlan2 depending on whether you have other wireless cards installed on the computer. 
  4. If you receive a makefile error about “no rule to make target modules”, you may need to prepare kernel headers.  As root, at the command line run these commands (you will need to have Internet access on the computer already): 
    • prepare-kernel-sources
    • cd /usr/src/linux
    • cp -rf include/generated/* include/linux/
  5. Upon completion, repeat step number 2 above to complete driver installation. Then connect the adapter to the computer and proceed to step 3. 

URTWN Driver:
There is a driver called urtwn which specifies compatibility with RTL8188RU chipset-based devices, and allows for them to be put into monitor mode. The documentation for the driver explains that 802.11n functionality is not supported, so RTL8188RU devices will only operate in B/G mode. Rokland has not yet tried to use this driver with AWUS036NHR and is not able to offer installation assistance or support. You can visit this site for download information and more details:

Spanish Version,

Author: ALFA Network Inc.

ALFA Network Inc.

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