Disable Wireless When Connected to LAN in XP and Vista

Note: Visit BridgeChecker page for most up to date version and documentation.

Disable Wireless When Connected to LAN in XP and Vista

We are releasing a Windows XP and Vista program called BridgeChecker that extends the “Disable Upon Wired Connect” capability that is available for Broadcom wireless cards to any brand wireleless card when the ethernet interface is connected.

BridgeChecker

BridgeChecker is a windows 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 Settings

The settings screen can be accessed by right clicking on the WLAN Book “globe” icon in the task bar.

BridgeChecker Task Bar Globe Icon

Task Bar Menu Options

BridgeChecker Task Bar Menu

Program Settings

WLAN Book BidgeChecker Settings

BridgeChecker Requirements

— Program tested on Windows XP and Vista operating systems
— Requires .NET Framework 2.0 or above
.NET 3.5 Service Pack 1 (Full Package) direct download from Microsoft
— Windows Vista users that have UAC enabled are required to manually allow RunCMD.exe to run as Administrator. See screen shots below.

Running BridgeChecker Program as an Administrator in Windows Vista

In Windows Vista the “RunCMD.exe” file is located in the C:\Program Files\WLAN Book\BridgeChecker\ folder.

bridgechecker_runcmd_right_click_properties

bridgechecker_runcmd_as_admin

Recommended Usage Scenarios

The program can be used in the following scenarios.

  • disable wireless when connected to lan
  • disable wireless when docked
  • disable wireless when ethernet detected
  • disable wireless when wired
  • disable wireless when on LAN
  • disable wireless when cable connected
  • disable wireless when in docking station
  • disable wireless when ethernet plugged in
  • disable wlan when lan connected

Known Issues with BridgeChecker v1.0.4.22

— Detects enabled VMware virtual interfaces as enabled physical interfaces causing program to disable wireless card. Work around is to disable VMware interface when not in use.
— If computer has more than one wireless card, the program may not enable/disable correct card or may enable/disable both cards.

Comments, Bugs, and Feature Requests

Please use post comment feature below to let use know if the BridgeChecker program met your requirements. When commenting pelase let us know your Windows operating system version and wireless card brand and model if possible.

Comments about bugs and feature requests are welcome and encouraged. We may be able to enhance this program or recommend other products.

BridgeChecker Download

BridgeChecker Download

8 Free Alternatives to NetStumbler

NetStumbler

NetStumbler (also known as Network Stumbler) is a free/”beggarware” tool for Windows that can detect WiFi/Wireless LANs using the 802.11b, 802.11a and 802.11g WLAN standards.

NetStumbler is commonly used for:

  • Recreational WarDriving
  • Verifying network configurations
  • Finding locations with poor coverage in one’s WLAN
  • Detecting causes of wireless interference
  • Detecting unauthorized (”rogue”) access points
  • Aiming directional antennas for long-haul WLAN links
  • GPS integration for mapping purposes

In addition to the freely downloadble software, NetStumbler has an online forum that contains thousands of archived posts and provides a way to get help with questions and share tips and tricks related to NetStumbler.

NetStumbler Limitations

Still, there are some limitations to NetStumbler that detract from its usefulness.

  • The software doesn’t officially work on Windows Vista (or Mac).
  • NetStumbler isn’t 100% passive. It uses Active Scanning and sends out a probe request about once a second, and reports the responses. Normally, this isn’t a big deal but this means in a 100% no wireless zone NetStumbler can be detected.
  • NetStumbler does not detect wireless stations. Access points are detected by recording which ones respond to probe requests, which also means it can not detect wireless stations since they don’t respond to probe requests.

Alternatives to NetStumbler

    MacStumbler

    MacStumbler is a utility to display information about nearby 802.11b and 802.11g wireless access points. It is mainly designed to be a tool to help find access points while traveling, or to diagnose wireless network problems. Additionally, MacStumbler can be used for “wardriving”, which involves co-ordinating with a GPS unit while traveling around to help produce a map of all access points in a given area.

    MacStumbler requires an Apple Airport Card and MacOS 10.1 or greater. MacStumbler doesn’t currently support any kind of PCMCIA or USB wireless device.

    MacStumbler works like NetStumbler and relies on responses to probe requests to discover access points. This implementation also prevents MacStumbler from detecting wireless stations or hidden networks because they don’t respond to probe requests.

    MacStumbler

    iStumbler

    iStumbler is the leading wireless discovery tool for Mac OS X, providing plugins for finding AirPort networks, Bluetooth devices, and Bonjour services with your Mac.

    iStumbler

    KisMAC

    KisMAC is an opensource and free stumbler/scanner application for Mac OS X. It has an advantage over MacStumbler/iStumbler/NetStumbler in that it uses monitor mode and passive scanning.

    KisMAC supports several third party PCMCIA cards – Orinoco, PrismII, Cisco Aironet, Atheros and PrismGT. USB Prism2 is supported as well, and USB Ralink support is in development. All of the internal AirPort hardware is supported as well.

    An awesome table comparing many of the tools mentioned in this post is available here

    KisMAC

    Kismet

    Kismet is an 802.11 layer2 wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system. Kismet will work with any wireless card which supports raw monitoring (rfmon) mode, and can sniff 802.11b, 802.11a, and 802.11g traffic. Kismet identifies networks by passively collecting packets and detecting standard named networks, detecting (and given time, decloaking) hidden networks, and infering the presence of nonbeaconing networks via data traffic.

    One of the biggest advantages of Kismet over NetStumbler is the ability to look at wireless data frames to detect wireless devices. This allows Kismet to detect access points and wireless stations.

    Kismet

    Windows Vista netsh

    In Windows Vista the “netsh” command can be used to discover access points using the format below.

    netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid

    Vistumbler

    Vistumbler is an AutoIt script that uses the netsh to get wireless information.

    Vistumbler - NetStumbler Windows Vista

    Inssider

    Inssider uses Windows Native WiFi API to get wireless information.

    Inssider - NetStumbler Windows Vista

    DISA Wireless Discovery Device (Flying Squirrel)

    Flying Squirrel is similar to Kismet/KisMac and is the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) wireless security tool. The tool is For Official Use Only (FOUO) so no screen shot. If you have access to DoD Information Assurance Tools you can use the link below to get more info.

    http://iase.disa.mil/tools/index.html

WiFi Scanner for Mac OS X

Not free but WiFi Scanner is an easy-to-use tool for designing, verifying, and troubleshooting WiFi coverage. The tool provides information such signal strength, noise, and AP channel assignments for WiFi access points.

This is by no means is an exhaustive listing of all wireless LAN discovery. If you know about others let me know.