I was out running errands the other day, and found myself at Fry's Electronics. I needed to pick up a VGA extension cable to replace one that had inexplicably become bad, and as I often do while wandering around, found myself doing a bit of window shopping. (Not Windows shopping, I've had enough of that.)
While doing so, I found myself staring at a variety of wireless network dongles, including the exceptionally tiny TP-Link WN725N for a mere $8.88. I wondered if it might be a good match to a couple of the network-less Raspberry Pis that I had lying around. A little of judicious searching on my phone indicated that some people had used them for this purpose, and that they worked well even without a hub, so I bought two of them and brought them home.
I was hopeful that if I just jammed them in, they would be detected automatically and then a short bit of network config later, I'd have a working adapter. Sadly, it did not go that smoothly. It appears that while v1 of the hardware worked out of the box with Raspbian, the v2 hardware (which I had) does not. So, the google search begins...
Ill skip to the end, so you won't have to do the search. Go to this website, it has all the information. Basically, you have to find the right version of the kernel model to match your version, and install it in the right place, and rerun depmod -a. They even have a link to a script that can find the right version to download. Once I got the driver installed, I had no further issues. The dongle appears to work quite well, and my raspberry pi no longer has a tail connecting it to my router. Awesome! I haven't stress tested it, but it appears to work as well as any other adapter I've tried. I consider the experiment a success.