Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Having a lot of issues with a wireless network with multiple APs sharing the same SSID. I have a tool I use on my android phone (wifianalyzer) that is helpful, but I need a more comprehensive set of diagnostics that would run (preferably) from a windows laptop. Are there any useful open source or free tools for this?

Thanks!

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

FYI, multiple APs are supposed to share the same SSID, provided they are connected to the same physical network. What you don't want is them on overlapping channels near each other. Remember, there are only 3 channels that don't overlap, (1, 6, 11), so you should do your best to keep the channels from conflicting. They will work on overlapping channels, but will have to wait for each other to talk, essentially defeating the purpose of having multiple APs to begin with.

If you are looking for basic tools, simply running Kismet with a decent card that can have an antenna attached is helpful.

Otherwise, consider getting a spectrum analyzer. They are great for tracking down sources of interference, and visualizing what is actually going on.

share|improve this answer
    
Cool, I know they are supposed to work, but was having problems with them. That information about the channel separation is helpful. I am also noticing dropped packets occasionally so that is what I am trying to troubleshoot further (going to try Kismet for that). Thanks for the help! –  wjimenez5271 Jul 26 '11 at 22:48
    
BTW, is there anything like kismet that runs on windows (native)? –  wjimenez5271 Jul 26 '11 at 22:49
    
You won't find anything like that for Windows due to driver restrictions. If you go to metageek.net, you will see that their software works in Windows, but isn't free. What I actually do is boot Knoppix in VMWare, and let it use my USB WiFi adapter directly. This works just fine. –  Brad Jul 27 '11 at 13:57
    
Also, should I be broadcasting my SSID from both access points that are sharing the SSID? –  wjimenez5271 Jul 27 '11 at 22:47
    
@wjimenez5271, yes! Leave SSID broadcasting on if you want your clients to find you. There is no conflict with the SSID. You are supposed to use the same SSID for APs that connect to the same physical network. That gives the client an indication that they can roam from AP to AP. –  Brad Jul 28 '11 at 0:49

I'm a fan of wavemon.

* an overview screen, displaying all important information like device configuration, encryption and power management parameters and network information at once
* adaptive level bargraphs for link quality, signal/noise strength and signal-to-noise ratio
* customizeable "level alarm" feature that notices the user of changes in signal level strength audibly and/or visually
* full-screen level histogram displaying signal/noise levels and SNR
* list of access points in range
* menu-based configuration from within the program
share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.