The Edimax Wireless Nano USB Adapter and Linux

📅 July 22, 2015
edimax1Are you looking for a simple-to-use wireless ethernet adapter that is plug-and-play compatible with Linux?

If so, then here is a product you might want to try: The Edimax Wireless 802.11/b/g/n nano USB adapter.

It’s tiny, inexpensive, and it works perfectly with Linux out of the box without the need for any driver installation.


The Edimax wireless adapter could not be easier to use. Simply plug it into any USB port, and Linux will detect and use it automatically. You can then connect to any wireless access point within range. Easy. The adapter barely extends from the USB port, so it will not be in the way.


Edimax Wireless Nano USB Adapter with box.


Back of the box. The Edimax advertises Linux compatibility, and it lives up to the claim. Linux usage is hassle-free!


Closeup of the Edimax adapter. This is a tiny device that barely occupies any space, so be careful not to lose it.

I tried this adapter with Xubuntu 14.04, Linux Mint 17.1, Linux Mint 17.2, and even the Raspberry Pi 2 running Kodi, and each time the Edimax adapter offered 100% reliable operation. Connections were never dropped. It also functions perfectly with the Acer Aspire One 722 netbook running Xubuntu 14.04.


The Edimax adapter will appear as “USB Wi-Fi” in the Networking dialog of Linux Mint 17.2. The “PCI Wi-Fi” shown is a wireless PCI card already present in the system. You do not need to remove any existing wireless cards. The Edimax will function happily with whatever hardware might be present already.

“Are there any downsides?”

Range can be an issue. I was surprised by how well this tiny device detected a distant access point, but the range seems to be about half of what a PCI wireless adapter with an antenna can achieve.

I performed a real-world test. Can this Edimax USB connect from a distance of 11 meters inside a building containing many solid walls and obstructions? This might not sound like a great distance, but I tried to simulate how people normally live – complete with books, shelves, open doors, tucked-away access points, and other sloppy obstructions.

On a test Linux system with a PCI wireless card at this distance, the system connected to the access point with 63% signal strength. The Edimax never connected at this distance from a desktop system or from a netbook. But when I plugged the Edimax into a netbook and moved the netbook to about 4-5 meters from the access point, then the access point was detected and the wireless connection was made.

Of course, a clear line-of-sight in an empty building might offer better results with longer ranges, but that is not real-world.


No access points appear because this system was out of range for the Edimax. The PCI Wi-Fi card had an antenna, so it detected the distant access point at 63% signal strength. This is too weak for the Edimax, which found the access point when moved over halfway closer.

“How fast?”

Transfer speeds are reasonable for this device. Speeds are faster than 802.11g, but closer to the low end of 802.11n. The box claims 150 Mbps, but keep in mind that real-world influences, such as microwave ovens and radio controlled toys, can affect performance like they can affect any other wireless device.

Under ideal circumstances, the Edimax lives up to its claims. Wireless speeds always fluctuate for me, so accurate benchmarks are unavailable. That is the way wireless connectivity is. However, the speeds were always fast enough to play videos, music, and transfer files without any stuttering, lag, or dropped connections. 802.11g performance is what you would expect, and 802.11n performance is closer to ~150 Mbps. I was not able to see full 802.11n speeds, such as 300 Mbps or 600 Mbps, with the Edimax.

However, do not let this deter you. Where this device excels is in compactness, ease-of-use, and reliability. If you need a quick and easy wireless connection for Linux, then the Edimax is one of the best available. It just works!


The Edimax nano adapter is perfect for situations were you need to give a device quick wireless connectivity. Do you want Kodi running on OpenELEC on your Raspberry Pi 2 to have Internet access? Simply plug the Edimax into the Pi and configure the wireless settings within Kodi. Done!

Is the 802.11g built into your netbook too slow and you want something faster? Simply plug the Edimax into the netbook’s USB port, and Presto! Your netbook now has faster Internet access (assuming the access point is also 802.11n compatible and other factors do not slow the speed).

The Edimax is an excellent addition to any bag of computer tools. This is one of those underestimated devices that ends up solving problems you never knew you had.


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