Monday, May 30, 2011

Realtek RTL8187L reaches end-of-life (EOL)

This past week Realtek announced driver support for the Realtek RTL8187L chipset has been discontinued, meaning that devices which are based on this chipset may no longer be compatible with future Windows or Mac operating system releases or updates. It also means that there will be no further bug fixes released.

This affects the Alfa AWUS036H, Alfa UBDo-gt8,  RokAir, and any other Wi-Fi adapter that uses this chipset. Windows users most likely won’t be affected until the next major release of Windows. Mac users running 10.6 may be affected now. Earlier this month we posted about Mac OS compatibility of this chipset, explaining it worked with Snow Leopard 10.6 Macs booting a 32-bit kernel but not those booting a 64-bit kernel. It appears because of this EOL announcement that Realtek RTL8187L-based devices will not be supported on 64-bit kernel Macs going forward unless a 3rd-party workaround is developed (the latter is not unheard of, but it can take some time).

Snow Leopard users booting a 64-bit kernel should consider the Alfa AWUS036NH or the Rokland n3. Note that currently the AWUS036NH model is not compatible with 64-bit kernel Macs out of the box and drivers will need to be downloaded. The Rokland n3 is compatible with 64-bit kernel Macs right out of the box.


Mark said...

But, keep in mind the Alfa R36 router allows you to plug in a 8187L based WiFi adapter and it will work forever, with no drivers/software needed on your computer. Also allows you to share the connection over WiFi.

The firmware for the R36 has recently been re-done, including better UI, new drivers for 8187l chipset, etc. It works as well on the R36 as it does on a PC now.

The firmware date you must use must be > May 23, 2011. The earlier firmwares did not perform well at all.

Rokland LLC said...

That's a good point Mark. Our company Rokland is doing some final testing of the newest firmware you speak of and hope to have R36 available for sale soon. For those who already own it, downloading the latest firmware update is advisable.

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