I want to be able to tell when a MacBook (running OS 10.5) switches from one wireless access point to another.

In the building I am in, with several wireless access points (all Airport Extremes, all with the same SSID), the computer shows that it is connected in a certain room but does not act as though it is. [I'm still verify that it acts as though it is on the network in other locations.]

When I do

ping -a a_local_ip

then I expect to get a steady metronome of audible pings (and do, in some areas), but in the suspect room, instead of getting beep ... beep ... beep ... beep, I get .........beeep......beep...beep.beep.beep........ Looking at the ping times, they go from 3 ms to 82466.303 ms. (I've also got a 15% packet loss).

Is there a log I can tail or any other way to determine when I change wireless access points, so I can determine if it is the computer's wireless card, or something wrong with the access point?

2 Answers 2


Hold down the option key and click on the wireless icon on the menu bar. It should show you the SSID, channel, and Hardware address of the access point you are connected to. Source

  • 1
    +1 for the Hardware Address Oct 7, 2009 at 21:13
  • 2
    Very cool. I wish it would update in real time, though. Oct 7, 2009 at 21:55

I got some mileage out of doing this:

while true ; do /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I | grep BSSID ; sleep 1 ; done


while true ; do clear ; /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I ; sleep 1 ; done

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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