Wifi Adapter for Raspberry Pi and OSMC, for "good but not excellent" Wifi strength

It appears a major source of my OSMC frustration is when I move the RPI to our bedroom, where our Wifi signal is otherwise strong (no problems whatsoever with a Roku box, laptops, tablets, or cell phones), it is not strong enough for the RPi. I can see that when I take the RPi closer to the router, the performance of OSMC is much better. Unfortunately we do not have a network cable in our bedroom.

I first suspected it could be my adapter (TP-LINK 150 Mbps Wireless N Nano USB Adapter)

But after doing some google searches, I found some old articles (several years old) suggesting the current draw on WiFi adapters can be too much for a RPI in anything less than excellent WiFi conditions.

Does anyone have any experience on good vs. bad WiFi adapters for the Raspberry Pi Model 2 B?


I have four different models of wifi adaptor that I have tested on OSMC on my Pi 2:

TP-Link TL-WN823N
Edimax EW-7811UTC
D-Link DWA-131EU
Tenda W311M

Of those the TP-Link seems to have both the best performance and reliability under OSMC. It is 2.4Ghz BGN only, (no AC) but it does support two stream MIMO, something that none of the other three adaptors do. On 2.4Ghz it provides the best performance by far of the four adaptors thanks to it’s MIMO operation. (Nearly twice as fast as the next fastest adaptor - the Edimax on 2.4Ghz)

The Edimax adaptor supports AC and is dual band 2.4Ghz / 5Ghz so is theoretically a better adaptor, (and is very fast on 5Ghz) however it does not support MIMO and the drivers we have in OSMC for this adaptor are currently not very stable causing intermittent connection issues, so I can’t currently recommend it for OSMC.

The D-Link adaptor is OK and seems reliable but is fairly middle of the road in performance and not much cheaper than the much faster TP-Link.

The Tenda is by far the slowest adaptor of the four (much less than 1/4 of the speed of the TP-Link) so I can’t recommend it either for that reason.

So my vote goes for the TP-Link TL-WN823N. Through one wall to an adjacent room I’m seeing real world iperf throughput of approximately 90Mbps, and I can stream a 50Mbps test video reliably, which is something I never thought would be possible on a wifi adaptor on a Pi. (By comparison the Tenda can stream a maximum of about 10Mbps without buffering!)

DBMandrake, thank you very much for the detailed response!!!

I was actually looking at the TP-Link TL-WN822N, a 300Mbps with a “high gain antenna”, which is actually a dollar cheaper than the 823N. I did some google searches, couldn’t find out why the 823N without the high gain antenna is any better than the 822N (can’t even find it on TP-Links page), but I will probably go with the 822N.

For what its worth, I found a USB extension cable, stuck my Nano on the end of it, and I am definitely seeing improved performance… But it looks so ridiculous, I will be returning it and getting the 823N…

I haven’t tried the model with an external antenna - in theory that should give better range, however be aware that sometimes wireless adapters with only slightly different model numbers can turn out to have completely different underlying chipsets and may use a completely different driver in Linux, thus a good recommendation for one model may not carry to another almost “identical” model.

I would research to find whether the two models share the same chipset or not. If they do it is probably ok.

Is there a spec. that shows the TP-Link TL-WN823N supports MIMO other than the literature on their website? I would like to know how to tell when comparing to other wireless adapters which have MIMO support and which don’t.

No, none of the spec pages for these wireless adaptors seem to say whether they support MIMO or not. I had to deduce it from the wireless rate reported in windows, knowing the abilities and configuration of my AP.

The TP-Link adaptor can achieve a wireless (not actual throughput) rate of 300Mbps without using wide channels - this is only possible using 2 streams on a MIMO system and the D-Link and Edimax adaptors were only able to achieve 150Mbps in the same conditions. (single stream)

On the other hand the Edimax adaptor was able to achieve 300Mbps on 5Ghz by using wide (40Mhz) channels with a single stream, so was about as fast on 5Ghz with wide channels as the TP Link adaptor on 2.4Ghz with a 20Mhz channel and two stream MIMO.

Of those four adaptors the TP-link is definitely the only one that supports MIMO, and the Edimax is the only one that supports both Wide 40Mhz channels, and 5Ghz. The D-Link and Tenda are both only support single stream and narrow 20Mhz channels.

The 823 plugged directly into the RPi works MUCH better than the T-Link Nano with a USB extension cable. You can put all of the T-Link 150M Nano’s on the trash list, and just say it came from a random poster…

I didn’t try the 822 with the directional antennas… The problem with directional antennas, is they have to be set perfectly to get maximum gain, and we move the RPi around too much for that. And then even if we do make the RPi perfectly still, we move the router and we lose our optimum gain… I will stick with the 823, and then on to trying to figure out what else we can do with this…

Glad to hear it’s working better for you - I don’t even bother with the nano size adapters as the antennas in them are simply too small to achieve good range and performance.

I’ve also found that you generally get what you pay for - of the four adapters I have the measured real world performance pretty much ranks identically with the price I paid for them, so if you buy too cheap you just get something that performs like crap.

Thanks for this post. I was having real buffering connection speed issues trying to stream HD content over WiFi using the WiPi wireless adapter that came with my MCM kit. I ditched it for the 823 and all my connection issues have disappeared.

Don’t want to hijack this thread but looking for some advice on debugging the wireless connection. I needed to wireless enable a couple of OSMC Clients so bought 2 TP-Link TL-WN823N based on this thread and your posts. I cannot get any wireless connection to work. These are out of the box fresh installs.

I get these errors in the log if I tail it whilst trying to connect to a wireless network with the correct credentials:

10:52:17 2706.296143 T:1763439648 NOTICE: Attempting connection to /net/connman/service/wifi_801f02f1eeb2_54574847484f555345_managed_psk
10:52:18 2707.306396 T:1763439648 NOTICE: DBusException Raised: net.connman.Error.NotRegistered: Not registered
10:52:18 2707.307373 T:1763439648 NOTICE: Connection to /net/connman/service/wifi_801f02f1eeb2_54574847484f555345_managed_psk : False
10:52:26 2715.495850 T:1763439648 NOTICE: Starting Wireless Agent
10:52:26 2715.498291 T:1763439648 NOTICE: Setting password
10:52:26 2715.560547 T:1763439648 NOTICE: Attempting connection to /net/connman/service/wifi_801f02f1eeb2_54574847484f555345_managed_psk
10:52:27 2716.581299 T:1763439648 NOTICE: Connection agent not started yet, waiting a second
10:52:38 2727.161377 T:1763439648 NOTICE: Previous line repeats 1 times.
10:52:38 2727.162598 T:1763439648 NOTICE: DBusException Raised: net.connman.Error.Failed: Input/output error
10:52:38 2727.163818 T:1763439648 NOTICE: Connection to /net/connman/service/wifi_801f02f1eeb2_54574847484f555345_managed_psk : False

They were both configured with wireless and the correct credentials from the installer. Using My OSMC I can see the network in the SSID list but continually get connection failed messages on trying to connect. Is there a way to manually configure the wireless settings. The network has WPA2 and a visible SSID.


The only “manual” configuration available is the command line tool ‘connmanctl’, but it is doing much the same thing that the Networking GUI does however.

Thanks for the response.

I really just expected these to work out of the box with the correct credentials. Is there something I am missing? Do I need a special build etc.

Any further help appreciated.


My TP-Link TL-WN823N still works fine for me with the current version of OSMC so I’d say it’s something different about your access point.

The Kodi log is not particularly useful for debugging wireless connection issues (unless the problem is the networking GUI hanging/crashing) so you’re better off to provide the system journal after attempting to connect.

" so you’re better off to provide the system journal after attempting to connect." How would one go about this?


It’s one of the options in the My OSMC log uploader.