How to check Wi-Fi adapter and driver on Raspberry Pi

The newer models of the Raspberry Pi come with a built in Wi-Fi chip that allow them to connect to wireless networks. It is possible to obtain information about the Wi-Fi adapter, including the driver and its current version. In this tutorial, you will see how to check the Wi-Fi adapter, driver, and other pertinent Wi-Fi hardware information on a Raspberry Pi.

In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to check Wi-Fi adapter and driver info
  • How to check current wireless connection stats
How to check Wi-Fi adapter and driver on Raspberry Pi
How to check Wi-Fi adapter and driver on Raspberry Pi
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Raspberry Pi
Software N/A
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # – requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ – requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Check Wi-Fi adapter info on Raspberry Pi




Below are a few different methods for gathering information about the Wi-Fi adapter, driver, and related data on a Raspberry Pi. These various methods will yield slightly different information, so you can choose whichever ones reveal what you are looking for.

  1. Using the lshw command is probably the best way to reveal Wi-Fi adapter and driver information on the Raspberry Pi. Note that may need to install the program first, since it is not included by default. The commands below will install the program and then check the adapter and driver:
    $ sudo apt install lshw
    $ sudo lshw -C network
    
    Checking the Wi-Fi adapter and driver via the lshw command
    Checking the Wi-Fi adapter and driver via the lshw command

    As seen in the screenshot above, we can find the Wi-Fi adapter’s physical ID, logical name, serial number, capabilities, and configuration information such as broadcast setting, driver name, driver version, firmware version, IP address, multicast setting, and wireless spec type.

  2. Another easy way to see Wi-Fi adapter driver information is with the ethtool command.
    $ ethtool -i wlan0
    




    Checking Wi-Fi adapter driver info with ethtool command
    Checking Wi-Fi adapter driver info with ethtool command

    This command gave us the driver name, version, firmware version, bus info, and further info on various options that are supported or not.

  3. Another option is to use the hardinfo utility, which can also be installed via the package manager. This will not show hardware information or driver version, but will show data about your current wireless connection.
    $ sudo apt install hardinfo
    

    After you launch the program, you can find Wi-Fi related information under the Network > Interfaces > wlan0 menu.

    Viewing wireless info with the hardinfo app on Raspberry Pi
    Viewing wireless info with the hardinfo app on Raspberry Pi
  4. The iwconfig command can also be used to reveal information about the current Wi-Fi connection on your Raspberry Pi:
    $ iwconfig wlan0
    
    Viewing wireless network connection info with the iwconfig command
    Viewing wireless network connection info with the iwconfig command
  5. In case you are using a USB Wi-Fi adapter (not a built in one), you can view your Wi-Fi adapter and driver information with the usb-devices command:


    $ sudo usb-devices
    

Closing Thoughts

In this tutorial, we saw how to check the Wi-Fi adapter and driver information on a Raspberry Pi system. Knowing the driver name and version can help us determine if we are running an up to date version or not. Be sure to update the Raspberry Pi to have the latest driver versions, and also update the Raspberry Pi’s firmware to check for any possible firmware updates for your Wi-Fi adapter.



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