George Hardesty

Jul 152009

Based on what I’ve been told by an expert in the Realtek chipsets:

Realtek chipsets are the best in terms of compatibility with both Mac and Linux.

I’m not a Mac user and so I don’t have any first-hand experience or knowledge about how to configure.  But I think that your best bet is to download drivers from the realtek website.

Will very much appreciate if Mac users will post comments about their experiences with the Alfa AWUS036H.

Alfa AWUS036H has a realtek chipset.

 Posted by at 9:47 am Mac compatibility Tagged with:  Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H USB adapter on OSX (Alfa sku AWUS036H)
Jul 152009

NOTE: Alfa AWUS036 is the lower-power version – NOT the ALFA 500mW USB ADAPTER (that item is part# AWUS036H)

In order to get the “Alfa awus036” adapter working on an intel mac mini, osx 10.4, i had to download the drivers from the Ralink site. The included drivers on the cd were only for Windows and the native apple drivers did not work. Also, turn off Airport.   It works perfect now, as the other item i bought. Thanks for the great deals.

Chris Norris

The link to the drivers is:

 Posted by at 9:43 am Mac compatibility Tagged with:  Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H USB adapter on Intel Mac mini, OSX 10.4
Jul 152009

Alfa 1000mW USB adapter in the past (2006 to 2008) came with a USB Y cable (that has two connectors):

The dual lead USB cables were included in the past only to provide electric power for old laptops from the 1990s.  The dual USB cable had nothing to do with Tx/Rx output.

Old laptops/notebooks from the 1990s do not support full USB power such as 3.3V 1A.  New notebooks have full support so, it’s no problem to use only one USB connectors on the cable (if using the Y-type USB cable, you can use only the larger of the two USB plugs).

If your notebook is old:  If you want full output power, better to use 2 USB connector.

 Posted by at 9:42 am Alfa AWUS036H, Troubleshooting, USB cables & extenders Tagged with:  Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H USB cable: 2 connectors no longer needed
Jul 152009

Receive Sensitivity for 802.11g: 54Mpbs (64QAM): -76dbm
48Mbps (64QAM): -71dbm
36Mpbs (16QAM): -78dbm
24Mbps (16QAM): -80dbm
18Mbps (QPSK): -81dbm
12Mpbs (QPSK): -82dbm
9Mbps (BPSK): -85dbm
6Mbps (BPSK): -91dbm
(typically @PER < 10% packet size 1024 and @25ºC + 5ºC)

 Posted by at 9:39 am Alfa AWUS036H Tagged with:  Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H Receive Sensitivity (USB WiFi Adapter)
Jul 152009

Another great sure-fire tip from customer/Alfa user Trey MacDonald, in his words:

“…I found will significantly improve the “perceived” performance on the part of the Alfa Network USB client.

For starters, I’m assuming that for the most part, customers who purchase this unit are trying to achieve longer distance connections, etc,..”in the neighborhood” (wink, wink)….

One problem with this, is that most people leave their wireless hubs, set to the default..Let’s say, “linksys” on channel 6… Consequently buying a directional antenna is essential to sorting out the signals.

Nevertheless, even when you get a connection, the other signals can “bleed in” and disrupt the traffic.

Obviously, there are parameters which can be modified, with respect to packet-size, and fragmentation threshold, etc. – in conjunction with a good “ping” tool such as:

Which will allow someone to adjust packet sizes, frequency, and TTL….

BUT – this requires some competency and understanding – Which may be above the comprehension of the average user..

Here’s the tip.Once installed, go to the Control Panels/Network Connections
Right-click on the USB Network Adapter and Select Properties
Click on the Configure button on the right-hand top, of the General tab

Go to the Advanced tab
Set the value of “Long Retry Count” to a higher value – The default is 7, (I used 21)
Set the value of “Short Retry Count” to a higher value – The default is 7, (I used 21)

Click OK.

That’s it !

The effect of making this change, is that the adapter will retry the packets (both long and short) many more times AT THE DRIVER LEVEL before reporting an error. In many cases this will overcome poor reception or disruptive interference.

The consequence to the end-user is that the connection appears to be more reliable, because the driver is doing all of the work of repeating packets…

This solution is significantly less complicated than actually tuning the connection – but it has the desired effect. I think in the circumstances I described, quite profound.

The reason for this, is for the most part, web-based protocols like HTTP – use what’s called “AT LEAST ONCE” semantics – which means they automatically discard duplicate packets – therefore the effect of re-transmitting is non-consequential…and is much preferred to the driver reporting back to the browser that the connection itself has “stalled” …or to the OS that the connection has been dropped. The idea is to perform the re-transmit at the lowest overhead point – at the driver.

-Trey MacDonald

 Posted by at 9:22 am Alfa AWUS036H, Troubleshooting Tagged with:  Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H USB WiFi Adapter: Improve performance significantly
Jul 152009

Alfa 500mW USB adapters are prone to drop the connection about once a day for no apparent reason.  Here is the fix in Windows (less than 30 seconds):


Click this icon WiFi-icon  in your system tray.  Click “Support” tab, then “Repair” button.

This is not a permanent fix – it will quickly re-connect the adapter the the network.

A savvy customer told me that the
high power of the card itself causes dropped connections. When I find all the technical details that explain how this happens, I will post here.

 Posted by at 9:21 am Alfa AWUS036H, Troubleshooting Tagged with:  Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H dropping connections
Jul 152009

DOWNLOAD page of drivers for various operating systems, for the Alfa 500mW USB adapter:

There is a driver on this page that works with MacOS 10.4 (Tiger) / Mac iBook G4

One of our customers confirmed that it works.

My understanding has been that the realtek chipset in the adapter is the most friendly chipset to all OS’s and have heard & read that it auto-installs on macs.

 Posted by at 9:19 am Alfa AWUS036H, Linux compatibility, Mac compatibility Tagged with:  Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H USB adapter: Drivers for various OS’s: Mac, Linux, Windows versions
Jul 152009

My understanding is that the Alfa’s realtek chipset works natively with Vista – no driver required.

Use windows wireless utility:  Left click on the icon in system tray (the monitor with radio waves)

AWUS036H  is Alfa’s 1000mW USB wireless WiFi adapter

 Posted by at 9:09 am Compatibility Tagged with:  Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H Vista compatibility
Jul 152009

ALFA AWUS036H 1000mW USB wireless/WiFi client driver notes:

ALFA AWUS036H USB wireless/WiFi client uses the RTL8187 chipset.  Here are the drivers that are available for this chipset:  You should consider updating your driver if you are having serious dropped-connection issues:


Driver versions after 1221 (from Realtek site) are pretty flakey with XP SP2.

The CD that we are shipping has driver version 1207 (as of May 2007), which does not have any issues.

The REALTEK drivers from the REALTEK site, especially the newest, seem to constantly drop connections.

Also, if one “hardwires” an IP address – then the Realtek utility doesn’t really work. The connection is there, but it seems that the utility doesn’t see the dongle unless it was DHCP assigned.

Realtek is aware of the issues.

When Vista came out Realtek attempted to write a “Uni-driver” for all versions of windows. This is a good idea – but something went wrong.  The older drivers seem to be more sensitive and more reliable.  I suspect that they induced some “overhead” in the code which messed up the channel scan logic a bit. I’m trying to get them to “open source” it so I can look at it. I’m not a Windows Drivers guy, per se – but I’ll at least work the issues until someone gets it done.

I’ll let you know, as I know…in the meantime have people stick with the 1207 version:  Use it without the utility and just rely on windows to do the configuration.

 Posted by at 9:01 am Troubleshooting Comments Off on AWUS036H Alfa USB WiFi Adapter: Driver notes & issues
Jul 152009
From customer:   Three questions concerning the Alfa adapter I bought from you:

1) I use XP.  On page 12 of the instructions it says to uncheck Windows Zero Config (to use the Alfa).  On page 16 it says to uncheck the Windows Zero Config to use the native wireless support.   Which should I do?

This is referring to whether you’re going to use the alfa utility or the windows utlity:  Either will work, but alfa probably best

2) On page 20 of the instructions it shows a Wireless Mode selection and this is also on my screen.   But my screen only allows ‘b’; there is no g/b in the dropdown.  What is wrong?

This is a G/B card – I don’t know why they left G off

3) In your online troubleshooting guide it says for “laptops with internal wifi use Device Manager in windows control panel to disable the internal wifi card”.  My computer came with a keyboard button that disables all of the internal wireless devices but does not turn off the power to them.  Will using this button be sufficient or do I need to go into the Wireless Assistant and turn off the power?

Using the button is sufficient 


 Posted by at 8:51 am Alfa AWUS036H, Troubleshooting Comments Off on Alfa AWUS036H configuration – using XP
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