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Old 02-16-2015, 04:04 PM   #1
hprh01
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Question Favorite App for WiFi Survey?


Want to survey my immediate WiFi environment to determine some stats about wireless systems deployed around me. Nothing deep like IP addresses or packet sniffing - just a basic readout of SSID, type of router (G, N, A/C), frequencies or channels in use, signal strength, etc.

I live in a condominium and there are lots of competing wireless routers; knowing the environment, I hope to set mine up appropriately so as to get good results myself and to avoid stepping on others.

Am using Ubuntu 14.04 - in looking through the Software Center I haven't found anything promising. And the basic readout of other wireless networks, available on the desktop, doesn't give much information.

I tried Wireshark, but it's vast overkill for what I want to do. Do you know of anything lighter for the simple job outlined?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Last edited by hprh01; 02-16-2015 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Clarity
 
Old 02-17-2015, 02:25 AM   #2
koloth
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If you're looking for just a quick solution, i remember the
Quote:
iwconfig
reporting most of what you require. It's a part of the
Quote:
wireless-tools
package
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 02-17-2015, 11:51 PM   #3
hprh01
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Smile

Dear koloth,

Thanks, appreciate it - 'wireless-tools' is not installed on my Ubuntu box - will look into installing it. The other command, 'iwconfig', gives information for my own network only, which I already know. But I appreciate the tips.

On another machine I've got (an old Mac laptop) I found & installed a freeware app last night that allowed me to walk around and map my condominium building's WiFi environment, which was what I was basically after.

That Mac app gave me a nice graphical map output, and it didn't cost anything, so I'm not complaining. But I'd still like to find an Open Source app to run on my Linux boxes. It was just irritating to have to do that job on the Mac! Which is a stupid way to feel, I admit - software is software, if it works, it's good. At least a Mac is basically Unix. But I'd like to do this survey every couple of months or so, and in future it would be nice to use my good Linux laptop instead of the Mac.

Any good suggestions? I know there must be a Linux app out there that would do the job. Thanks!
 
Old 02-18-2015, 01:38 AM   #4
jdkaye
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Doesn't your router/hub supply the information you're looking for? I have a web interface for my hub (192.168.1.254, YMMV) and I navigate to that page with my browser and find that kind of information.
jdk
 
Old 02-18-2015, 04:24 PM   #5
sudowtf
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http://kuthulu.com/iwscanner/ - might be "old" but does the task nicely.

Alternatives: http://alternativeto.net/software/in...platform=linux

Most might recommend Kismet, but the iwscanner is simple/direct enough for me. I loved the free inSSIDer for windows, but the linux version became pay-for. Also, Wifi Analyzer for Android if you don't need it on computer.
 
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:36 PM   #6
273
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For a list of access points on the comman line you cold try:
http://linux.die.net/man/8/iwlist
Code:
iwlist scan
 
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:55 PM   #7
hprh01
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jdkaye: Thanks, of course I've done that in configuring a number of routers in the past, but so far as I know none of them have had an option to give a readout of dope on surrounding routers. My current Linksys only reports on its own network. But what I need is information about the numerous routers being used by folks in the condominiums all around me.

sudowtf & 273: I gave 'iwlist' a spin (thanks for the link!) and it did dig up info on several routers in my vicinity - not as many as the mapping app described in my last post, and you have to comb through the data to find the desired info, but it did show several. So 'iwlist' does work, and thanks for teaching me something! I think it will be very handy for quickly checking out a new locale. But - when I think of walking around and mapping an area rich in WiFi networks, like my condo building, the 'iwlist' method would seem pretty cumbersome and require a lot of head-scratching and transcribing after a mapping run to visualize what I found.

I dunno, maybe I'm overthinking this. My mapping efforts so far have revealed that several channels are not in use in my building at present - so maybe the thing to do is just pick one of those empty channels and forget about it unless I start having problems later on.

Thanks for the help & education! I'll keep looking, but will mark this thread solved for now.
 
Old 02-18-2015, 09:57 PM   #8
hprh01
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Also, sudowtf - thanks for the link to theinSSIDer Alternatives page! I will give Kismet a try.

Thanks again, all --
 
Old 02-19-2015, 09:05 AM   #9
sudowtf
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My take on the original post (OP), is that if you use any of the tools listed (stumblers), just select a channel that is least used compared to your competition (signals around you).

But, your later post alludes to what you may really prefer is "wifi mapping" (aliases: signal strength mapping, heat mapping, wifi site survey). Unfortunately, i have have never found a good one for Linux, there are plenty for Windows and even a few for OSX that all can map gradient-graphics against a map.

Search some of these terms and some very interesting solutions can be found, it just depends on what you want/how involved you wish to get.

Kismet will indeed do this, even with a GPS dongle. Albeit i find Kismet complex and therefore have failed a few attempts, but WiFi mapping is indeed extremely interesting.

Good luck!

Last edited by sudowtf; 02-19-2015 at 09:15 AM.
 
Old 02-19-2015, 09:41 AM   #10
beachboy2
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hprh01,

I know you have marked this as Solved, but for the benefit of others wishing to maximise their wifi signal, bearing in mind the competition from neighbours, I recommend the following simple solution.

Use or borrow an Android phone or tablet and install the Wifi Analyzer app:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...lyzer&hl=en_GB

On the left hand side there is short video which explains how you can select the best channel and optimise your signal strength.

Last edited by beachboy2; 02-20-2015 at 12:28 PM.
 
Old 02-19-2015, 11:10 PM   #11
hprh01
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sudowtf & beachboy2 -

Many thanks, you can learn a lot around here! Appreciate the wisdom.

You're right, I guess WiFi mapping is a better term for what I'm doing. I have one pretty good graphical map that I made using the Mac app mentioned above, and have taken the course you recommended regarding channels.

I saw a lot of folks here using either channel 1 or channel 11 on g; so I don't know if they are default channels, or channels cable company guys commonly use - most of them were identified as "xfinity". I wonder what kind of experience all these competing "11" guys are having? But only a few folks had ac, so that's pretty wide open.

Thanks again, appreciate your taking trouble to share your knowledge! I'm better off than I was before.
 
Old 02-23-2015, 03:52 AM   #12
ardvark71
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by hprh01 View Post
Thanks, appreciate it - 'wireless-tools' is not installed on my Ubuntu box - will look into installing it. The other command, 'iwconfig', gives information for my own network only, which I already know. But I appreciate the tips.
Hi...

It should be available in Synaptic. I have Lubuntu 14.04 and it came installed as part of the OS. In case you don't see it listed, you can download it here.

Regards...
 
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