Detecting Hidden SSIDs With Your Favorite Mac OS WiFi Scanner

Detecting Hidden SSIDs With Your Favorite Mac OS WiFi Scanner

Detecting hidden SSIDs on Mac OS using your favorite WiFi Scanner form the Mac App Store requires a two step process.

1) Launch your favorite WiFi Scanner for Mac OS app.

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2) Open “WiFi Diagnostics” by clicking Option+Airport icon in menu bar. Then click CMD+4 to open Scan feature. Click Scan. If you are near any hidden networks the window should show hidden networks without displaying the SSID name.

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3) Now toggle back to your favorite WiFi Scanner for Mac OS app and you should see hidden SSID BSSID in your app.

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You will need to click scan continuously to get updated info in your app. Not an ideal solution but at least now hidden networks can be visualized with other networks in your Mac OS WiFi Scanner. This method to show hidden WiFi SSIDs was tested on a MacBook Air running Yosemite (10.10.5)

Free WiFi Scanner for iPhone and iPad Without Jailbreak

Free WiFi Scanner for iPhone and iPad Without Jailbreak

iPhone and iPad users with iOS 7 and iOS 8 now have a way to view WiFi scan info (SSID, BSSID, RSSI, Channel) on devices. Prior to this AirPort Utility update only SSID and BSSID information was available on app store apps (non jailbreak apps).

Follow steps below to access to this new capability.

Download AirPort Utility App

Download the Apple AirPort Utility from iPhone/iPad app store.

Navigate to Settings > AirPort Utility > Turn on “Wi-Fi Scanner” mode

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Accessing WiFi Scan Feature

Launch AirPort Utility app and top right will show “Wi-Fi Scan” option in blue.

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Select scan duration from 10 to 60 seconds or continuous scanning.

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Scanning Mode

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Scan History

Click a row to view signal history for BSSID/access point.

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Channel Usage Summary

Channel usage summary can be viewed by clicking “i”/info button on bottom right after stopping scan.

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Scan History Export

CSV export of SSID, BSSID, RSSI, Channel, Timestamp.

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Free WiFi Scanner for Windows

Free WiFi Scanner for Windows

We are looking for beta testers for version 1.1 of our Windows WiFi Scanner. If you are interested please download using link below. Send bug reports support@accessagility.com.

1) Download Windows WiFi Scanner zip file though beta program social media campaign.
2) Uncompress
3) Install WiFiScanner.msi

One of the nicer capabilities of Windows compared to Mac OS WiFi Scanners is the ability to detect hidden networks.

2.4 GHz Channel Graph

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5 GHz Channel Graph

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RSSI vs. Time Graph

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WiFi Speed Test Lab Setup

WiFi Speed Test Lab Setup

Creating a lab environment for speed testing doesn’t require many devices. Listed below are the testing components needed for even the most complex testing scenarios.

Device Under Test (DUT) – What is being tested (client or access point)
Sender / Client / Source / Endpoint – Device sending data
Receiver / Server / Destination / Endpoint – Device for receiving test data
Console – Device used to control tests starts, stops, and view results. In many cases the client/receiver can also be the console.
Test Software – Software installed on clients, receiver, and console if applicable.
Networking Components – Switches for connecting devices.

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Below is photo of setup above with an access point that has an integrated switch.

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For more info on actual testing process and procedures see this post on low cost / free software for WiFi throughput testing or watch video below.

WLAN Pros Summit 2014 | Zaib Kaleem Best Practices for Throughput Testing.

WiFi Speed Chart

WiFi Speed Chart

WiFi / 802.11 has been around since 1997 and was originally only capable of 1 to 2 Mbps. Since then multiple technology improvements have been made to the specification and technology to allow for much higher data rates. Listed below are the maximum WiFi speeds of various 802.11 technologies.

802.11 (legacy) – 1 to 2 Mbps
802.11b – 11 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
802.11g – 54 Mbps (2.4 GHz)
802.11a – 54 Mbps (5 GHz)
802.11n – 600 Mbps (2.4 and 5 GHz)
802.11ac (wave 1) = 1300 Mbps (5 GHz, 80 MHz, 3 streams)
802.11ac (wave 2) = 6933 Mbps (5 GHz, 160 MHz, 8 streams)
802.11ad = 7 Gbps (60 GHz)

The speeds above are sometimes known by different names based on the operating system.

Mac OS = “Transmit Rate”

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Windows 7 & 8 = “Speed”

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Android “Link Speed”

Regardless of the operating system, the above WiFi speeds are all what is known as PHY speeds..or the rate of the wireless connection. The speed the user/application will experience is typically called throughput and can be measured using WiFi speed test tools.

CWNP Conference 2014

CWNP Program

The CWNP (Certified Wireless Network Professional) program, founded in 1999, offers proctored certification exams and materials focused on 802.11 wireless networking technologies.

CWNP’s first certification exam, CWNA (Certified Wireless Network Associate), was made available in July of 2001 though Prometric Testing centers in North America.

CWNP now has six different certifications in four different levels.

  • Entry level – CWTS: Certified Wireless Technology Specialist
  • Administrator level – CWNA: Certified Wireless Network Administrator
  • Professional level – CWSP: Certified Wireless Security Professional
  • Professional level – CWDP: Certified Wireless Design Professional
  • Professional level – CWAP: Certified Wireless Analysis Professional
  • Expert level – CWNE: Certified Wireless Network Expert (Twitter IDs of CWNEs)

CWNP Conference 2014

CWNP-conference-15-yearsCWNP is celebrating 15 years of wireless by holding a 3-day conference in the fall of 2014. A quick overview of the conference is below.

When: September 22-24, 2014
Where: Embassy Suites Raleigh – Durham Airport/Brier Creek
Schedule: 3 Days, 12+ Speakers, 10 Sessions

I’ll be attending the conference and speaking on day two about wireless performance testing.

If you are interested in learning more about the conference or attending check out the CWNP Conference site.

Best Practices for WiFi Throughput Testing (iPerf, WiFiPerf) #WLPC

Best Practices for WiFi Throughput Testing (iPerf, WiFiPerf)

The Wireless LAN Professionals Summit 2014 was held in Austin, Texas from Feb 10 – Feb 12 and was organized by Keith Parsons of WLANPros.com. The goal was to have a conference by Wireless LAN folks, for Wireless LAN folks. The entire event was vendor neutral and was a gathering of like-minded folks hanging out and talking about WiFi related products, technologies, and projects.

I enjoyed attending and speaking at Wireless LAN Professionals Summit 2014. My session was about throughput testing and is summarized below along with video.

The primary goal of this session is to share best practices around performance testing of wireless LANs in lab and production environments. The discussion will focus on how to measure access point and client throughput using free and/or low cost tools. All components of the typical wireless LAN: access points, laptop clients, and mobile clients will be covered. At the end of the session, participants should be able design and setup testing environments to aid in the equipment evaluation phase of projects and to validate wireless LAN performance post implementation.

WLAN Pros Summit 2014 | Zaib Kaleem Best Practices for Throughput Testing.

All the conference sessions were recorded and are available free-of-charge with the goal of sharing technical knowledge with as many people as possible. I recommend everyone check out all the WLAN Pros Summit 2014 videos.

WiFiPerf Downloads

Note: iPerf3/WiFiPerf is not the same or compatible with iPerf, iPerf2 or jPerf.

Compatibility: WiFiPerf is based on iPerf3 version 3.0-BETA4 (2 Aug 2010) source code. Future updates to WiFiPerf will be compatible with iPerf 3.0.1 or newer. WiFiPerf should work with other operating systems that support iPerf3 but has only been tested with iPerf3 for Mac OS. (iPerf3 is the program upon which WiFiPerf is built)


WiFiPerf for Mac OS

WiFiPerf for iOS

WiFiPerf for Android

Free iPerf3 Downloads

Free Command Line / Terminal Version of iPerf3 Version 3.0-BETA4 (2 Aug 2010)

Mac OS iPerf3 version 3.0-BETA4
Windows iPerf3 version 3.0-BETA4

Free Command Line / Terminal Version of iPerf3 Version 3.0.1 (Jan 10 2014)

Mac OS iPerf3 version 3.0.1
Windows iPerf3 version 3.0.1 (will be posted here soon)

Still No WiFi Scanner Apps For iOS / iPhone / iPad

Still No WiFi Scanner Apps For iOS / iPhone / iPad

iphone wifi scannerIt is 2014 and Apple still doesn’t allow wifi scanning apps on the App Store that provide RSSI or channel information for access points.

I get several emails a week asking if there exists a WiFi Scanner app for iOS / iPhone / iPad similar to WiFi Scanner app for Mac OS. My usual reply is “No wiFi scanning apps exists on app store” and I include a link to my 2010 blog post explaining that Apple banned all WiFi Scanner apps for using non published API / “private framework” to scan for WiFi networks.

Most people reply back asking what options they have for getting RSSI info on iOS and my usual answer is below.

1) Jailbreak / root iPhone and use an app from other app store markets
2) Develop/build own app to collect RSSI and Channel information on iOS
3) Switch to Android

In 2012, we found a way to report on RSSI and channel if by using how iOS logs the WiFi association process in our WiFiMedic app. This lasted for a few months until Apple asked us to remove the app from the app store and then they removed the info we used to report RSSI and channel info from iOS 6.

WiFiMedic iPhone Diagnostics AppThe WiFiMedic app was updated to comply with Apple’s request and no longer reports RSSI and channel info but is focused on speed testing and diagnostics (ping test, trace route, connection status).

Raspberry Pi Alternatives

Raspberry Pi Alternatives

“The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.”

There are two models of Raspberry Pi, Model A is priced at $25, Model B is $35 and adds one Ethernet port.

Raspberry Pi Model B

Raspberry Pi and WiFi

Both models of the Raspberry Pi have a USB port that can be used to add WiFi connectivity to the device. Any USB WiFi dongle that works with Linux and has a driver for an Arm processor should work. I had hoped to purchase a Raspberry Pi Model B and confirm this but was not able to buy a board when they went on sale.

Actually, I’m glad I didn’t buy a Raspberry Pi Model B because it forced me to look for alternatives. I found several other development boards that are available now and in many ways are as good or better than both Raspberry Pi boards.

Globalscale DreamPlug

While I like the idea of tinkering with a development board I just don’t have the time. What I really needed was a small computer that I can run iPerf3, Zap and a few other utilities for WiFi app projects. I went with the Dreamplug over others because it is self contained finished product that comes with WiFi. Also having TWO gigabit ethernet interfaces is a big plus.

2 x Gigabit Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps
2 x USB 2.0 ports (Host)
1 x eSATA 2.0 port- 3Gbps SATAII
1 x SD Socket for user expansion/application
WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
Bluethooth: Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

The DreamPlug is one of several Plug Computer development kits. Below info from PlugComputer.org.

A plug computer is a small form factor server, intended to provide network-based services within the home. Built on a Marvell system-on-chip, the Marvell plug computer enables high-performance, always-on, always-connected, and environmentally-friendly computing that is readily available for developers. Unlike other embedded devices in the home it contains a gigahertz- class processor designed to offer PC-class performance.

The plug computer is suitable for file sharing, running a media server, back-up services, and remote access functions. It can be used as a bridge between home computing devices and Internet-based services. Plug computing is quickly expanding—delivering new devices, services, value-added applications, and advanced network connectivity to users.

GuruPlug

Another Plug Computer kit that looks really nice is the GuruPlug. I almost went with the GuruPlug but decided on the DreamPlug because Amazon offered it via Prime Shipping.

The GuruPlug Server is a Linux-based GbE networked general plug computer featuring a Wi-Fi access point router and two USB 2.0 ports for flexible expansion. Powered by the 1.2 GHz Marvell Kirkwood 88F6281 processor, the GuruPlug Server delivers lots of horsepower and storage capacity in a very small form factor, making it ideal for the professional demonstration of new applications.

Cotton Candy

Cotton Candy is a USB stick sized compute device that allows users a single, secure point of access to all personal cloud services and apps through their favorite operating system, while delivering a consistent experience on any screen. The device will serve as a companion to smartphones, tablets, and notebook PC and Macs, as well add smart capabilities to existing displays, TVs, set top boxes and other media that supports USB mass storage.

Dual Core ARM Cortex A9@1.2GHz CPU
Quad Core ARM Mali-400MP Graphics Processing Unit
1GB DRAM
Up to 64GB memory local storage (microSD)
480p/720p/1080p decode of MPEG4-SP/H.263/H.264 AVC/MPEG-2/VC1
USB 2.0 male connector for power and connection to devices that supports USB mass storage
MicroUSB
HDMI 1.3 Connector with audio
Wifi 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR

PandaBoard

The PandaBoard features a dual-core 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU, a 304 MHz PowerVR SGX540 GPU, a C64x DSP, and 1 GB of DDR2 SDRAM. The PandaBoard ES uses a newer SoC, with a dual-core 1.2 GHz CPU and 384 MHz GPU. Primary persistent storage is via an SD Card slot allowing SDHC cards up to 32 GB to be used. The board includes wired 10/100 Ethernet as well as wireless Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity. Its size is slightly larger than the ETX/XTX Computer form factor at 4 × 4.5 in (100 × 110 mm). The board can output video signals via DVI and HDMI interfaces. It also has 3.5 mm audio connectors. It has two USB host ports and one USB On-The-Go port, supporting USB 2.0.

BeagleBoard

The USB-powered Beagle Board is a low-cost, fan-less single board computer utilizing Texas Instruments’ OMAP3530 processor that unleashes laptop-like performance and expansion without the bulk, expense, or noise of typical desktop machines.

Beagle Board is based on an OMAP3530 application processor featuring an ARM® Cortex™-A8 running at up to 720MHz and delivering over 1,200 Dhrystone MIPS of performance via superscalar operation with highly accurate branch prediction and 256KB of L2 cache. Focal to Beagle Board experience is the high-speed USB 2.0 on-the-go (OTG) port that can be utilized to provide power to the board or to deliver highly flexible expansion. Standard PC peripherals can be connected to Beagle Board using the USB with a mini-A to standard-A cable adapter, DVI-D using an HDMI to DVI-D adapter, or through the MMC/SD/SDIO connector enabling a complete desktop experience.

Arduino

Arduino is a popular open-source single-board microcontroller, descendant of the open-source Wiring platform, designed to make the process of using electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible. The hardware consists of a simple open hardware design for the Arduino board with an Atmel AVR processor and on-board input/output support. The software consists of a standard programming language compiler and the boot loader that runs on the board.

Gumstix

Gumstix motherboards are single-board computers which come in two different configurations. The brand names for these are Overo Earth and Verdex Pro. The Overo Earth uses a TI OMAP 3503 processor running at 600 MHz and have 256 MB of SDRAM, while the Verdex Pro motherboards use a Marvell XScale PXA270 processor running at 400 MHz or 600 MHz with up to 128 MB of SDRAM. Both boards run Linux 2.6 with the BusyBox utilities, and use the OpenEmbedded build environment to provide a full-blown Linux environment and a large range of Linux applications.

BridgeChecker for Mac OS X

BridgeChecker for Mac OS X

Coming to the App Store!

BridgeChecker is a utility that can automatically disable/enable wireless interfaces. Whenever your computer is connected to an Ethernet port and the link state is good, the utility can automatically turns off the IEEE 802.11 wireless network interface. This conserves IP address allocation, reduces security risks, resolves dual interface routing issues, and prolongs battery life.

BridgeChecker on Mac App Store

Below are screen shots of app user interface on a MacBook Air.

Taskbar Menu

BridgeChecker Settings Window

BridgeChecker Active Wireless Interface Status

BridgeChecker Active Wired Interface Status