WiFi dongle support

Back in October 2016 I purchased a WiFi dongle from the official OSMC store. At the time there were two available. An 802.11 b/g/n dongle (then at https://osmc.tv/store/product/802-11n-wifi-dongle/ but now 404) and the, more popular dual band AC version.

Now I know the AC version (based on the MT7601) is still supported but not having a 5GHz network I chose the b/g/n version and it has been plugged into my RPi ever since.

I hadn’t upgraded for some time (sometimes it is best to leave things working!) but I have just put a new SD card with a new image on that RPi and the dongle is no longer loaded and there is no WiFi connection. A search of the forum suggests that the Oct 2019 discontinued support for swathes of WiFi adapters and the RTL8188CUS that I purchased in good faith from the OSMC shop appears to be one of those for which support has been removed.

I understand that support can become difficult as hardware gets older, but if feels rather mean spirited to remove support for a dongle that was sold as an official accessory on the basis that it “has become a burden to support”.

Is there any likelihood of support returning for this product in the near future?

If not is there a particular dongle for which support can be guaranteed for a reasonable time into the future?


Hi Gavin,

We have never manufactured or sold an RTL8188CUS dongle.
Are you sure that it’s not mixed up with another dongle?

Future kernels will include some Realtek support again, but we won’t support these devices forever. You could downgrade the kernel to 4.14 for now. Nonetheless, support should re-appear in the next Pi kernel update



Hi Sam,

It is definitely the dongle purchased from the store. It has never been out of the Pi since the day it arrived. In lsusb it shows as:

Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0bda:8176 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8188CUS 802.11n WLAN Adapter

To be certain I have checked every dongle in the house and they all three report the same. None of them show as a MT7601. But then I wouldn’t expect them too as it isn’t the AC adapter it is the older 802.11n version.

I tried downgrading but there was no package found using the name in the thread from Nov '19. Do you know the name of the kernel package I can use?


I’ll double check this.

Thanks Sam

When we re-add support, we’ll support the 8812AU, 8188EU, 8192CU and 8188CUS models again, but for how long is not clear. You’ll likely get another year or two of usage out of the dongle.

You might need to install an older image and hold back the kernel for now.



It was order #2872 in the shop if that helps you find it.

Here’s the lsusb with all three WiFi dongles we possess in the m/c at the same time:

osmc@boofleberrypi:~$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 009: ID 0bda:8176 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8188CUS 802.11n WLAN Adapter
Bus 001 Device 008: ID 0bda:8176 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8188CUS 802.11n WLAN Adapter
Bus 001 Device 010: ID 0bda:8176 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8188CUS 802.11n WLAN Adapter
Bus 001 Device 007: ID 0424:ec00 Standard Microsystems Corp. SMSC9512/9514 Fast Ethernet Adapter
Bus 001 Device 006: ID 0424:9514 Standard Microsystems Corp. SMC9514 Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

As you can see there are no non-Realtek devices.

I’ll see about rebuilding from a pre October 2019 image.

I understand products become end of life and cease support, but it would be nice to see proper deprecation warnings and advance announcements of breaking updates so that people can plan to buy new equipment in time and especially so for devices ordered directly.


We did give about 5 months of notice (by way of staging repository), if memory serves. Usually we try and support anything sold for 5 years.

Unfortunately we didn’t know earlier that we’d have problems.

I can see find nothing in the forum or on the blog notifying users that drivers will be withdrawn. Not even in the blog post for the October 2019 update which actually withdrew them. All I can find is threads after the event when people found out. I may have missed something though, but I searched extensively before posting a new thread.

It was added to the staging repository. We held back releasing the 4.19 kernel for 6 months.

Out of curiosity: what is a good EOL timeframe in your view?

Well if you offer to support products purchased from the store for 5 years then I would expect the product to be supported for 5 years from the point of last sale unless to do so was impossible (not just burdensome).

Regarding communication of EOL then I think it is fair to expect a three month warning that support will be removed. At the very very worst I would expect to see it in the release notes for the upgrade that removes the support. All the more so for a product which is still commonly available for purchase. Maybe less so for old hardware which is no longer made nor sold.

That said, for an official product (how ever few were sold) I don’t think it would be at all unreasonable to expect a blog or forum post that said “Support for product [xyz] will cease with the update due to be released on [dd/mm/yyyy]. To determine if you are using this hardware run [command] and look for [output]. If you are using this hardware, you may cease future updates or purchase a replacement - we recommend [abc] model.”

Removing support in a staging repo first is no “prior warning” for those on stable. Prior warning is a statement made in public, either on the blog or in the forum. Somewhere that people who don’t routinely access the staging repo would actually see it.

I don’t keep a box on staging just so I can see what is going to change. I read the release notes for stable and look at the forum because both my boxes are on stable.

Apologies – I don’t think we advertised five years of support for that anywhere.
If that is the case do let me know and I will refund you.

Point noted, perhaps we can create a page for deprecated hardware.

It may not have been advertised but you said it yourself in this thread.

I may have missed something somewhere but I can see absolutely nothing in the release notes for that update that makes any mention of removing drivers for WiFi adapters.

No – we didn’t state that we would support this WiFi dongle for five years, sorry, and not in this thread.

I will check the product description to be sure.

We will re-add support in the next kernel update, although I am a bit concerned about re-adding support for something to take it away again later.

This seems like a rather odd state of affairs. If an alternate method of supporting this hardware will be available in such short notice then why not simply carry on the previous support mechanism for one more cycle?

Anyway that is beside the point. My point is just that if support is to be withdrawn from a product in such as way as to break the usage, then even if it is not possible to produce an advance warning that breakage should be clear in the release notes of the update that causes it.

I’ll try last June’s release and see what happens.

It’s not an alternate method – it’s the same approach, with the same caveats.

If you can bring back support then why cease it in the first place? I’m sorry I really don’t understand the reasoning behind that. It seems like a very strange way to support products which you sold (albeit only in very small numbers).

I have though got it working with the earlier release and have placed holds on these two packages:rbp2-image-4.14.78-4-osmc and rbp2-kernel-osmc. Is that sufficient to prevent updates breaking WiFi or are there any other packages I have missed?

In the end it may all be a moot point anyway as all these searching through the logs I see that CPU1 is randomly failing to initialise. Maybe time for a new Pi. :frowning:

Because sooner or later it is going to be impossible to support downstream, and only by luck can we extend support for a short while. Hopefully by then there is upstream support.

Obviously our intention was to support the dongle as long as possible.

I also have this dongle, so I would like to know when the newer versions will have this support. I have a Pi2 1.1 that I use with this dongle, and OSMC has been working rather well with it, so its a shame to not be able to get the newer builds to work with it.