This question always seems to be asked, over & over.
I posted a brief guide in the old forum, so maybe it'll be of some help here too.
So here's some basic advice, for what it's worth.....
There’s no quick and easy answer to “what’s the best card to buy”. It depends a lot on what you want to do with it!
This also all depends on if you want only “b” or if you want “b” & “g”, or even “a”, “b” & “g” ?
For “b” only:
For “b” only, the prism 2.5 chipset cards are best to go for. Something like the Senao 2511CD Plus Ext2 is a very nice card, very high power at 200mW, and with excellent receive sensitivity too. It is external antenna only though. It comes with 2x MMCX type connectors.
There is also a model available with built-in antenna instead, just without the “ext2” in the model number. Although I would go for the external antenna model personally.
The thing to watch with this card though is that there’s a newer model which has “M” at the end of the model number. Thois stands for “Mercury” and is a Prism3 chipset. These aren’t very good cards, they have crap receive sensitivity. Stay away from that one!
For “b” & “g”:
If you want “g” as well as “b” then go for something with an Atheros chipset.
A good all-round card for “b” & “g” with Atheros chipset is the Proxim 8470-WD. This has a built antenna, but also has an MC type connection for an optional external antenna to be added. This is an excellent card for using with Aircrack, etc.
A cheap and easy to find Atheros “b” “g” card would be something like the Netgear WG511T. This has no external antenna option though.
For “a”, “b” & “g”:
In my opinion, the best “a”, “b” & “g” card, with Atheros chipset is the Cisco AIR- CB21AG-E-K9, but unfortunately this card isn’t available with any external antenna option.
Probably the easiest to find “a”, “b” & “g” Atheros card is the Netgear WAG511. This is a good card for using with Aircrack, etc but again, no external antenna connector.
I found an NEC WarpStar once, which has an external connector, but I never did find out the type of connector it has. Also, I’m not entirely sure the external antenna option works for “a” as well. It may only be for the “b” & “g” modes.
Again, the Atheros chipset cards are probably the safest purchase, for using with the Aircrack suite.
Having said that, the best chipset for Aircrack, in my opinion, has always been the PrismGT chipset.
The problem here, though, is that they are quite hard to find and don’t usually come with external antenna connectors.
One of the most available PrismGT cards to look for is the Netgear WG511, but you must get a V1 card, with silver antenna casing. Any V1’s with different colour casings have what’s called a “soft-mac” chipset and are no good! Also, all other versions (V2, V3, etc) of this card have different chipsets and are no good!
Senao also make a high power (200mW) PrismGT card, the 3054CB Plus. But again, they’re quite hard to find now.
I have only ever come across 1 PrismGT card with an external antenna connector, the Waveport WL54G. Again, there’s different versions of this card that don’t have the PrismGT chipset, so it can be hard to find the *right* one”.
A good friend of mine, from the US managed to get me one of those direct from the factory eventually, but even then he was sent the wrong one twice!
I don’t think they’re available brand new any more though.
And if money is no object??:
If you don’t mind spending the cash, then probably the best Atheros card to buy would be the extremely high powered 300mW Ubiquiti card.
So, realistically, the best bet, if you really don’t know what card to buy and just want to simply go and buy one without all the hassles, is probably to just go for the Proxim 8470-WD card. This is a very good all rounder, mid-priced Atheros chipset card, so you can’t go far wrong, and can always add an external antenna if you want to, via the MC type connector.
Hope this is of some help!?!