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The results of my searches have not been able to say that it is possible to get a mac address of devices that are within the range of a wireless router.

Can someone confirm whether or not this is actually possible?

To my limited knowledge, the router would be broadcasting information that the "potential" clients can read, meaning the router has no access to any information from the client. What I would like to know is if it is possible to somehow get a reference, or at least a count, to the number of unique devices that have "seen" my router's SSID?

Can you please provide a link to some documentation that can give me a clearer understanding of that, and if it is possible to achieve this using any other hardware device, please feel free to bring it up.


The following is practical example of what I would like to achieve: I would like to have a device (router?) sitting in my store (with whatever special setting up required) and at the end of the day be able to get some statistics related to how many devices were near my store (regardless of whether the devices tried to connect or not). And by number of devices I am "estimating" the number of customers I have had today.

If this is not possible with a regular router, as there any other device that can do this.

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closed as not constructive by Michael Hampton, mdpc, Ward, Khaled, HopelessN00b Feb 27 '13 at 9:39

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What are you actually trying to do here? – HopelessN00b Feb 27 '13 at 1:02
Right. And you want to do this for the purposes of...? In any event, the answer is "any device with a wifi-capable transmitter/receiver can access your wifi router." There are several billion such devices estimated in existence. No one's bothered to actually count them all, though. – HopelessN00b Feb 27 '13 at 1:08
Any clients with active radios using the same frequency (2.4/5GHz) your router uses can be "seen". Whether your wireless router can identify them or not is a function of that model router's software. – jscott Feb 27 '13 at 1:19
@7usam If you want a decent answer you need to tell us what actual, practical problem you are trying to solve. The answer to your question as stated is "What you want is not possible": Your router is broadcasting on an open radio channel, any shmuck with a 2.4GHz (or 5GHz) receiver can "see" it, and there is absolutely no way for you to know they did unless they make some kind of a broadcast. – voretaq7 Feb 27 '13 at 1:27
I honestly have no idea what the big fuss is here, the asker's question is unambiguous and anyone who has knowledge required to answer his question can recognize and post a useful answer. – Justin L. Feb 27 '13 at 1:38
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yeah, this is possible to an extent. Cisco wireless APs (and likely other major enterprise vendors) can show you rogue APs and clients within broadcasting range and can even spoof disassociation packets to those rogues to keep them from functioning until they can be removed from the network.

Can a $50 Linksys do this? No, not without some alternative homebrewed firmware. Can an enterprise wireless solution do this out of the box? Absolutely.

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Thanks for that. Can you confirm that this would detect devices (lets say iPhones) that are within broadcasting range, even when they are not connected? "until they can be removed from the network." suggests that they are connected. – 7usam Feb 27 '13 at 2:12
They need to be connected to something or probing your wifi (which would normally happen when wifi is on but not connected on the device). These features aren't normally used for statistic collection, but rather to stop rogue wireless networks from popping up in secured areas. That's what my example was about. If you have a very specific need, I suggest you call a Cisco (or Aruba) wireless VAR and ask them which of their products will meet your need. From a technical standpoint, it is possible, but your use case is uncommon. – MDMarra Feb 27 '13 at 2:14
I'll read a bit more about that and accept your answer when I'm satisfied.. I would like to up-vote but I don't have those privileges yet. Thanks – 7usam Feb 27 '13 at 2:25

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