I am in the process of developing a bash script which automates the addition of a USB wifi dongle to a virtual machine (QEmu/KVM virtualization) and therefore to add a wifi key to a VM.

[edit]This VM is for the moment with Debian Buster distro[/edit]

From the host when I plug in my TP-Link TL-WN823N USB dongle, the following interface is added :

user@host:~$ ip -o link | grep wlx
57: wlx123456789012: <BROADCAST,MULTICAST> mtu 1500 qdisc noop state DOWN mode DEFAULT group default qlen 1000\    link/ether 2a:51:d5:12:34:56 brd ff:ff:ff:ff:ff:ff

When I list the USB devices I get :

user@host:~$ lsusb | grep TP-Link
Bus 002 Device 009: ID 2357:0109 TP-Link TL WN823N RTL8192EU

It is therefore identified by the wlx123456789012 interface, its vendor:product ID is 2357:0109 and is device #9 of USB bus #2.*

How to determine for sure vendor:product ID when we only know the name of the interface ?

@meuh suggestion

user@host:~$ ls --format=commas /sys/class/net/wlx123456789012/device
authorized, bAlternateSetting, bInterfaceClass, bInterfaceNumber,
bInterfaceProtocol, bInterfaceSubClass, bNumEndpoints, driver,
ep_01, ep_02, ep_03, ep_04, ep_05, ep_06, ep_81, ieee80211, leds,
modalias, net, power, subsystem, supports_autosuspend, uevent

So no vendor nor device file directly in this location (according to him it would be due to the fact that its test concerns an on-board wifi)

But that inspired me, so I tried :

    user@host:~$ grep -iEr "2357|0109" /sys/class/net/wlx123456789012/device

So in /sys/class/net/wlx123456789012/device, there are :

modalias : usb:v2357p0109d0101dc00dsc00dp00icFFiscFFipFFin00

uevent : PRODUCT=2357/0109/101

So I found traces but the fact that @meuh gives me another localization makes me doubt that the solution (especially if I change the version of the distro or just the distro)

@Tom Yan suggestion

user@host:~$ udevadm info /sys/class/net/wlx123456789012 \
 | sort -r | awk '/ID_(VENDOR|MODEL)_ID/'

Notas : here MODEL is used instead of PRODUCT ; sort -r is used to sort VENDOR line prior to MODEL line

  • 1
    Is what you want in cat /sys/class/net/wlx123456789012/device/{vendor,device}
    – meuh
    Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 15:35
  • Thanks ! I effectivly found traces of vendor and product in the "device" folder. I edited my question. But is this solution portable between version of Debian or if I change distro ? Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 16:45
  • @waltinator ... which would indicates a link between the vendor:product and the resultant interface ? Commented Jul 31, 2021 at 17:01
  • 1
    There's udevadm info [-a] btw. lsusb.py -[c]ui might help as well.
    – Tom Yan
    Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 5:41
  • @Tom Yan : Thanks ! udevadm resolved the problem. I edited my question to add udevadm way. Commented Aug 1, 2021 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


I just plugged in a Ralink RT5370 wireless adapter to a Debian 10 system.

By default, it appeared as network device wlxc83a35c4a44b.

You'll need to remember that /sys/class/* is basically a directory sub-tree whose leaves are mostly symbolic links into the /sys/devices/* branch.

# realpath /sys/class/net/wlxc83a35c4a44b
# realpath /sys/class/net/wlxc83a35c4a44b/device

So the device symlink actually operates within the /sys/devices/... branch, and there is one level (1-8) in between the USB controller and the device (no USB hubs in this case). Would that level contain anything useful?

# ls --format=commas /sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb1/1-8/1-8:1.0/..
1-8:1.0/, ep_00/, power/, authorized, avoid_reset_quirk, bcdDevice,
bConfigurationValue, bDeviceClass, bDeviceProtocol, bDeviceSubClass,
bmAttributes, bMaxPacketSize0, bMaxPower, bNumConfigurations, bNumInterfaces,
busnum, configuration, descriptors, dev, devnum, devpath, driver@,
firmware_node@, idProduct, idVendor, ltm_capable, manufacturer, maxchild, port@,
product, quirks, removable, remove, rx_lanes, serial, speed, subsystem@,
tx_lanes, uevent, urbnum, version

There's idProduct and idVendor. Can we access them by just the network device name?

# cat /sys/class/net/wlxc83a35c4a44b/device/../idProduct
# cat /sys/class/net/wlxc83a35c4a44b/device/../idVendor

Let's verify it's the right device:

# lsusb -d 148f:5370
Bus 001 Device 014: ID 148f:5370 Ralink Technology, Corp. RT5370 Wireless Adapter

Seems correct.

And it also works without root and with a USB hub added in between:

$ realpath /sys/class/net/wlxc83a35c4a44b/device
$ cat /sys/class/net/wlxc83a35c4a44b/device/../idVendor
$ cat /sys/class/net/wlxc83a35c4a44b/device/../idProduct
  • Thank you ! I like this solution a lot and seems more universal, because from what I understand not all linux systems are udev based. The objective of my script is to be as "system agnostic" as possible. Also, I had never seen that giving the parent folder of a link results in the parent folder of the link target. Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 10:33
  • In shells like bash, the cd command handles .. specially for user convenience. The bash man page says: "If .. appears in dir, it is processed by removing the immediately previous pathname component from dir, back to a slash or the beginning of dir." This is not how filesystems handle it: you can use cd -P to explicitly request using the actual .. directory entry, or use the set -P to make cd behave like this by default. So the behavior you've learned to expect is actually the exception, not the rule.
    – telcoM
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 11:08
  • OK Thanks for this subtlety. Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 13:44

So, based on udev @Tom Yan suggestion, to list all the Wifi USB dongle interfaces with vendor:product, I propose :

user@host:~$ for i in $( find /sys/class -name "wlx*" ) ; do \
 echo "$( echo $i | grep -oE "[^/]+$" ) $( \
  udevadm info $i \
  | awk '\
   function get_val () { split ( $0 , a , "=" ) ; return a [ 2 ] } \
   /ID_VENDOR_ID/ { v = get_val() } \
   /ID_MODEL_ID/ { m = get_val() } \
   END { print v ":" m }\
  ' \
 )" ; \
wlx123456789012 2357:0109

Explanations : for each interface ( for i in ... ; do ... ; done ), list all wifi USB dongle interfaces pathes ( find /sys/class -name "wlx*" ) and for each path get and display only interface name ( echo $i | grep -oE "[^/]+$" ) so /sys/class/net/wlx123456789012 -> wlx123456789012, get all udev properties and filter these properties( udevadm info $i | awk ... ).

The filtering process :

  • create a function which divides the current record ($0) with the equal char ("=") and stores the result in the "a" array and returns the 2nd member of "a" so ID value ( function get_val )

  • filter and store the value ( /ID_VENDOR_ID/ ... and /ID_MODEL_ID/ ... )

  • finally print the stored values in the correct order vendor:model ( END { ... } )

And based on @telcoM more system agnostic and simple way :

user@host:~$ for i in $( find /sys/class/net/ -type l -name "wlx*" ) ; do \
 echo "$( \
  echo $i | grep -oE "[^/]+$" \
 ) $( \
  cat $i/device/../idVendor \
 ):$( \
  cat $i/device/../idProduct \
 )" ; \
wlx123456789012 2357:0109

Explanations : for each interface ( for i in ... ; do ... ; done ), list all wifi USB dongle interfaces links ( find /sys/class/net -type l -name "wlx*" ) and for each link get and display only interface name ( echo $i | grep -oE "[^/]+$" ) so /sys/class/net/wlx123456789012 -> wlx123456789012, and display the idVendor content from the link parent folder and do the same with idProduct

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