Alfa Network AWUS1900 wireless pen-testing setup – Part 2

In Part 2 of setting up your AWUS1900 for wireless penetration testing, I will be covering the steps on how to get it into monitor mode and fixing the airodump-ng not showing any WLAN when running issue.

As mentioned previously, there is a little quirk where you are not able to use the airmon-ng start wlan0 command to put the AWUS1900 into monitor mode instead you have do it ‘manually’.

More about that later in this article but let’s get the basic steps right.


Before we put the AWUS1900 into monitor mode, there is one important step that we need to ensure; which is to run the airmon-ng check kill command.

The check kill is automatically performed when the airmon-ng start command is run but because of the quirk that I have mentioned many times, we not only have to manually put into monitor mode, we will also have to manually run the check kill command.

The check kill command is use to kill any network processes like dhcp client and wpa supplicant which might interfere with the operation of aircrack.

To kill any offending network processes, simply run the following command:

airmon-ng check kill

Monitor Mode

Putting the AWUS1900 into monitor mode simply by using the following commands to bring network interfaces down/up.

ip link set wlan0 down
iw dev wlan0 set type monitor
ip link set wlan0 up

Once the wlan0 interface is back up, you can verify that the AWUS1900 is indeed in monitor mode by running either: iwconfig wlan0 or iw wlan0 info.

The mode of wlan0 should be Monitor but if it says otherwise you will have to re-visit the previous process again.

iwconfig wlan0 output
iw wlan0 info output

You might be wondering why I have been using iw rather than iwconfig, the reason is because iwconfig is now deprecated and superseded by iw.

However, both commands are supported by Kali so it boils down to personal preference.

You can find the link to that change here:

Firing up airodump-ng

After performing the pre-checks and putting the AWUS1900 into monitor mode, fire up airodump-ng by running the following command.

 airodump-ng wlan0 

The above command will get airodump-ng to scan for any WLANs on all channels, both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.

This part is where I ran into issues and as you can see in the screenshot below no WLANs are seen by airodump-ng even though there are!

airodump-ng no wlan seen

As shown in airodump-ng’s documentation, unloading and loading the 88XXau driver would fix the issue.

You can run the lsmod command to confirm that the 88XXau driver is currently loaded.

To unload the 88XXau driver run the rmmod command :

rmmod 88XXau

Followed by the modprobe command to load the 88XXau driver:

modprobe 88XXau

Fire up airodump-ng again and you will see WLANs broadcasting around you!

This is the end of part 2 on how to set up your Alfa Network AWUS1900 for wireless penetration testing using Kali Linux.