Wifi USB dongles not working

I need to simultaneously connect to 3 Wi-Fi networks. I tried about 5 different USB Wi-Fi dongles that all work with my Intel laptop on Ubuntu and exactly zero work with TX1. They’re all very common Realtek and Mediatek chipsets, including the exceedingly popular EDImax dongle that everyone uses on their Raspberry Pis. Were these drivers omitted from the kernel for any particular reason?

Is there a Wi-Fi dongle that works out of the box with the TX1? If not, how do I compile support for any of these?

I tried to get the kernel source using source_sync.sh but it just created a 900MB mess in .git, and an empty kernel_source subdirectory.

I don’t know how choices are made to include or not include drivers for hardware not present…there is of course the built-in WiFi hardware, which may have been perceived as providing that function. However, there may be firmware needed in addition to driver…sometimes the firmware comes from a third party and there is no reason to install it unless you have the hardware (many wireless devices require both a driver and firmware). I guess that when space is limited on something like an embedded device, then it is logical to only include what is already there or things known to be very popular. Desktop systems have the advantage that many times they can be set up to detect hardware present at install time and use the internet to get software if that software isn’t already present in the install disk.

You can get kernel source at the URL for the particular L4T release. If you use R23.2, see here:
https://developer.nvidia.com/embedded/linux-tegra-r232

R24.1 kernel source is from here:
https://developer.nvidia.com/embedded/linux-tegra

Note that those URLs also have release documentation, and that the “baggage” subdirectory of documentation has source code for building a version 4.8 cross compiler which may be useful. Instructions for cross compile vary somewhat depending on which release number you use. If you use R24.1, then here are some notes:
https://devtalk.nvidia.com/default/topic/936880/jetson-tx1/jetson-tx1-24-1-release-need-help-with-complier-directions-can-not-complie/post/4885136/#4885136

You can always get more detailed information here on building for different releases…cross compile has a lot of details which regular compile does not worry about, and sometimes people don’t have experience even compiling directly/natively…it’s difficult to just answer everything in one thread.

Beware that many WiFi devices need additional firmware before the driver is capable of working with the device, and that firmware would be specific to that device or chipset.