UPDATE: It appears DX has swapped out the boards in this (at least one member had some issues), please read this topic for further information:
I think most members agree that the ALFA AWUS036H is the best wi-fi dongle to get, with perhaps the only downside being it's price. I can only agree, having bought the adapter a couple of years back for a whopping 60 euros (Dutch import).
I've had a lot of fun with it, but when the time came to buy another, I started looking at alternatives.
Of course, a model like the alfa would be preferred, with it's excellent RTL8187L chipset and an RP-SMA connector. With the Alfa as a baseline, the bar was set pretty high.
So I started looking around, and ended up on a chinese gadget site. It had quite low prices, and free shipping, so I ran a few searches on Wi-fi products.
After some research, I ended up with this model: DealExtreme: $21.76 802.11g 54Mbps High Power 1000mW USB 2.0 WiFi Wireless Network Dongle
It even has the "backtrack dragon" printed on it
It arrived after a couple of weeks. Here's what's included:
suction cup (it's brilliant, sticks right to my laptop)
6 dBi Omni
Backtrack bootable CD
Of course, with the whole unit being 21 dollars with free shipping, I was somewhat sceptical. However, my concerns were illegitimate. Upon opening the device, it revealed a RTL8187L chipset, and looks pretty much the same as my old alfa.
all thumbnails are clickable for larger size
The driver CD was a bit crooked though, as it would not install on my win7x64, due to the chinese characters in the folder structure. Copying the folder, and running it from the hard drive fixed that though.
So on to the good stuff: Injection works, the whole card works on BT4 out of the box, monitor mode works, and the range is pretty much the same as the ALFA. The extra 500mW does not have a notable effect, unless you have a 1000mW on the receiving end as well.
Overall, I would recommend buying this card if the ALFA is too expensive for you. It performs just as well as my old ALFA, and it looks even better, provided you like dragons.
finally, here's a shot of the antenna with a 0.5 liter Monster can, and 1 (2 actually) xbox 360s for size comparison.
I think you know my favourite energy drink by now lol.
The adapter (the realtek chip, actually) does get quite hot when in use, but this also happened on my old ALFA. I mounted a heatsink with fan to it, with some AS5 as TIM, but it made no difference in performance so I removed it again.
Just to be sure: I am in no way affiliated with Dealextreme, I'm just happy with the stuff I got from them and decided to share. Also notice that my link has no referral information in it or anything.