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I'm looking for a tool that will summarize WiFi traffic per node. I'm not looking for fancy things like packet sniffing... the actual data that's being sent is irrelevant. I want a way to see that SSID Alpha is active and there's 100kbs of activity on it, SSID Beta is alive with no activity, etc.

Bonus if it lists the 802.11 type (a, b, g, n?) and channel number of each SSID. Bonus if there's a graph of each network's activity over the past hour/day/week, or at least some accumulator of rough bytes transferred.

The problem I'm trying to solve is that in our building there's so many wifi beacons active, it's unclear which have traffic and which channels they're using. I'd like to see "wow, these are the two most busy SSIDs and they're both on channel 6, I'll switch to channel 12" or whatever. I'd also like to know if anyone ever uses some nodes we set up.. perhaps it's orphaned.

Either Windows or Linux tools are fine. Big bonus if it's free and I can just download and run it.

Any advice? Thanks!

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What wireless routers are you using? Model number and firmware are what interest me most. – Wesley Feb 13 '10 at 3:55
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I believe Netstumbler has some those features.

You could use a packet capture program such as kismet (or kismac if you have a mac) or airsnort to work out bytes transferred.

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Netstumbler will only tell you what WiFi access is visible from the perspective of the PC it's runnning on, it wont tell you anything about what the Access Points are doing in aggregate. – Helvick Feb 13 '10 at 12:57
that's true. But it will collect all the other information, besides actual bytes transferred. Used in addition with something like kismet to capture 'packets' as an indicator. – Nick Kavadias Feb 13 '10 at 13:48
Kismet was what I was looking for! – Babbage Feb 15 '10 at 1:53

This might not be the solution vector you were looking for, but if you used DD-WRT as a WAP firmware, many if not all of the images come with bandwidth tools that can report on each WAP's activity. For instance, MRTG can be installed on a PC and then cull information from DD-WRT WAPs and graph various network related metrics. (Reference)

In fact, see if your WAP's firmware has SNMP functionality and if it does, activate it and download the MIBs from the vendor site. Potentially, all of this information is waiting for you to harvest it with a SNMP collector.

Incidentally, many enterprise level wireless solutions such as those from 3Com (the vendor I have experience with), Cisco, etc. will have some great tools to monitor the wireless network for just this sort of thing and more.

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I think inSSIDer is the tool for you !



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