Is there an easy way to detect your Wi-Fi adapter's capabilities on Linux? I want to check if my wireless card supports IEEE 802.11ac.

2 Answers 2


The iw list command (with the space in the middle) will show you the adapter capabilities. This includes the modes the wifi card is capable of.

You will need to install the iw package to use that tool.

  • what if your device doesn't show up there? which is weird because wifi is working (R8188EU) Dec 1, 2016 at 19:24
  • 1
    @TheAlchemist The device may not be using the nl80211 stack, which is what the iw command queries IIRC.
    – Lawrence
    Dec 4, 2016 at 16:52
  • 1
    I have: Supported interface modes: * IBSS * managed * AP * AP/VLAN * monitor * mesh point * P2P-client * P2P-GO How does that translate to abg ac?
    – Rick
    Jun 1, 2021 at 20:51
  • @Rick You're probably better off asking a new question rather than commenting on my answer.
    – Lawrence
    Jun 3, 2021 at 4:55
  • @Lawrence Well, it would be the exact same question... and your answer is probably the right start. If you could add some information on how to interpret the iw list results I think it would improve this answer.
    – Rick
    Jun 3, 2021 at 11:02

You can run iwconfig to list all of your wifi cards/adapters, list their IEEE, frequency, connected ESSID etc. in a short and clean format. If you want more specific information feel free to use iw list to see a lot more detailed information.

Some sample output (without being connected to router):

wlan0     IEEE 802.11abgn  ESSID:off/any  
          Mode:Managed  Access Point: Not-Associated   Tx-Power=off   
          Retry  long limit:7   RTS thr:off   Fragment thr:off
          Power Management:off

lo        no wireless extensions.

eth0      no wireless extensions.
  • 5
    this doesn't work for me... it says "IEEE 802.11" no a, b, g, or any other letters.
    – Michael
    Sep 16, 2020 at 16:54

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