I am putting this blog together to cover some of the wireless tools that we use or are highly recommended in the wireless community.
Many of you might already be aware of some of the tools in this blog but there might be some in here that you have not come across before that you could find quite useful.
We will kick things off with the WiFi tool we use the most, which is Ekahau.
If you are a wireless engineer then this is a must-have in your tool bag – we use it for everything – from designing wireless networks to troubleshooting them.
Ekahau is certainly rich in products & features so we will just cover them here quickly:
Ekahau Pro™ Site Survey Tool
“The industry standard tool for designing, analyzing, optimizing and troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks. It combines professional grade features with unprecedented ease of use and features a new, ultra-fast user interface which works on macOS and Windows. Ekahau Pro site survey supports all Wi-Fi access points, thousands of antennas and every Wi-Fi standard including 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6).”
“All-in-one, precise Wi-Fi diagnostic and measurement device that contains two Wi-Fi radios and a spectrum analyzer used for professional Wi-Fi site surveys and troubleshooting. It delivers 2x faster site surveys, 4-10x faster spectrum analysis (compared to other Wi-Fi spectrum analyzers) and uses seven factory tested antennas which are placed in the optimum orientation to deliver precise and consistent measurement accuracy. It’s plug-and-plan, works with iPad, MacOS and Windows and supports all Wi-Fi standards, including the new 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6).”
Ekahau Survey™ for iPad
“Ekahau Survey is the first professional grade Wi-Fi site survey tool for iPad. This solution is 70% lighter than using a laptop which helps you keep going all day. It’s intuitive and easy to use which means both Wi-Fi experts and IT professionals can now perform site surveys with ease. It automatically locates all nearby access points and places them on a map and delivers instant post-survey analysis with easy-to-read, beautiful crystal-clear heatmaps.”
“With Ekahau Capture you no longer have to invest into dedicated and expensive equipment or fallback on complex and unreliable methods to perform packet capture. Easily collect the data you need to conduct advanced troubleshooting and in-depth analysis of tough to diagnose Wi-Fi problems without waiting for a Wi-Fi expert. Ekahau Capture makes it possible for anyone to quickly capture Wi-Fi packets using Ekahau Sidekick.”
“Choose a collaboration method that works best for you and your customers and easily switch between offline and cloud modes. Enjoy seamless collaboration between central office and field sites and make project sharing with your entire team simple and easy. Multiple people in the field can now work concurrently on the same project while critical data can be quickly shared with Wi-Fi experts anywhere in the world so they can help troubleshoot tough to solve problems without ever leaving the office.”
Ekahau works on both Windows & Mac.
With Ekahau Connect you can survey on iPad – iOS.
Link to Ekahau website – https://www.ekahau.com
Ekahau does cost money – to get a quote from a reseller in the UK contact Open Reality – https://www.openreality.co.uk/
Protocol Analysis Tools
“Wireshark is the world’s foremost and widely-used network protocol analyzer. It lets you see what’s happening on your network at a microscopic level and is the de facto (and often de jure) standard across many commercial and non-profit enterprises, government agencies, and educational institutions. Wireshark development thrives thanks to the volunteer contributions of networking experts around the globe and is the continuation of a project started by Gerald Combs in 1998.”
Wireshark works on both Windows & Mac.
Wireshark is a free tool
Wireshark website – https://www.wireshark.org/
Twitter – @WiresharkNews
Omni Peek is also a protocol analyser and a very nice wireless tool for protocol analysis – but unlike Wireshark this is not a free tool.
Omni Peek Overview:
Real-Time Network Protocol Analyzer
- Decoding over 1,000 protocols, Omnipeek provides real-time analysis for every type of network segment – 1/10/40/100 Gigabit, 802.11, and voice and video over IP – and for every level of network traffic.
Real-Time Network Protocol Analyzer
- Intuitive Graphic Displays and Visualization
- Intuitive Graphic Displays and Visualization
- Omnipeek network protocol analyzer delivers intuitive visualization and effective forensics for faster resolution of network and application performance issues and security investigations.
Best-In-Class Network Analysis Workflow
- Widely recognized as the best network analysis workflow in the industry, Omnipeek makes it easy to drill down, look across, compare, discover, and ultimately reduce mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR).
Network Analysis Workflow
- Monitor Distributed Networks Remotely
- Using LiveCapture with Omnipeek extends network monitoring and visibility for troubleshooting of application-level issues at remote sites and branches, WAN links, and data centers.
Easy WiFi Troubleshooting
- The Omnipeek WiFi adaptor is a USB-connected WLAN device designed for wireless packet capture. The 802.11ac adapter supports 802.11ac capture up to 2 transmit/receive streams (866Mbps wireless traffic) and supports 20MHz, 40MHz, and 80MHz channel operation.
Omnipeek only works on Windows.
Omnipeek Website: https://www.liveaction.com/products/omnipeek-network-protocol-analyzer/
WinFi Lite is a new networking program and app for Microsoft Windows devices designed to monitor, analyze, and manage wireless networks. The application is available as a Microsoft Store application and as a classic desktop application.
WinFi Lite Overview:
Perfect for quick Wi-Fi troubleshooting. Your dreams of doing Wi-Fi analysis while mobile have come true. WinFi and a Windows 10 tablet of your choice, makes convenient on-the-go analysis.
Familiar element decoding. No steep learning curve. WinFi leverages familiar structure and naming guidelines found in Wireshark.
Networks are analyzed for standards violations and malformed elements. WinFi will let you know if there are inconsistencies. Plus, you can open networks from WinFi directly in Wireshark.
Outstanding grouping, filtering and sorting capabilities. WinFi has powerful and best in class grouping, filtering and sorting capabilities.
Group, filter and sort by any information you want. Set filter and grouping thresholds for signal values, use regular expressions for text searches, and much more.
WiniFi Lite works on Windows only.
There are free & paid versions of this tool.
Additional viewing options in WiFi Explorer Pro let you organize scan results by SSID, access point or access point radio to better visualize multiple networks per access point.
Simple, intuitive user interface
- WiFi Explorer gathers configuration and capability information about all the networks it discovers and presents it on an easy-to-use, intuitive user interface. Information includes network name (SSID), BSSID, vendor, country code, channel, band, security configuration, supported data rates, number of streams, and much more.
- Additional viewing options in WiFi Explorer Pro let you organize scan results by SSID, access point or access point radio to better visualize multiple networks per access point.
Resolve Wi-Fi issues
- With WiFi Explorer, you can find the best channel for your network or determine a better placement for your access point. You can also identify channel conflicts, overlapping or configuration issues that may be affecting the connectivity and performance of your wireless network.
- Expert information, available in WiFi Explorer Pro, such as per-channel beacon overhead, gives you a general overview of the Wi-Fi environment to better plan your network installation or mitigate existing problems.
Get a full insight into Wi-Fi networks
- WiFi Explorer has been developed with the support and feedback of Wi-Fi experts. Its ease of use and advanced features, such as the ability to decode network information, access point name discovery or enhanced filtering, give you a full insight into the capabilities and configuration details of wireless networks.
- Other advanced features include the ability to find and display information about hidden networks, support for external Wi-Fi adapters, Zigbee integration, and much more.
Spectrum Analysis Integration
- WiFi Explorer Pro’s spectrum analysis integration lets you visualize RF information and correlate it with Wi-Fi data to identify non-802.11 energy sources and better understand the effects of interference and channel utilization on your wireless network. Compatible spectrum analyzers:
- MetaGeek’s Wi-Spy 2.4x (Version 2) & Wi-Spy DBx
- Ekahau Spectrum Analyzer
- RF Explorer Wi-Fi Combo
- Ubertooth One
- HackRF One (Experimental)
WiFi Explorer works only on Mac.
There are free & paid versions of this tool.
Wireless Sensors / Packet Capture devices
Kubicon system consists of two components- cloud based dashboard and a hardware Wi-Fi sensor which basically mimics end user Wi-Fi behaviour.
All that needs to be done in order to deploy the solution is to perform configuration on cloud console which is central point of management and reporting and to deploy sensors across desired environment.
The solution monitors number of important factors such as Wi-Fi signal quality , bandwidth capacity, network service, web applications, etc. from wireless end user perspective. Additionally it calculates overall Wi-Fi client experience score, based on these values. All metrics are available in real-time on cloud dashboard or on demand in form of reports which in turn can be exported to multiple easy to read/use formats. Based on the mentioned architecture and features, we are able to detect current issues and predict possible problems in the future.
One of the most frequent issues we have experienced in Wi-Fi environments was related to Guest Wi-Fi networks, particularly lack of (proactive) monitoring and analytics of Captive Portals.
That’s why we are very proud that we managed to develop comprehensive Wi-Fi captive portal testing and monitoring, with the features such as:
- Landing page responsiveness
- Identification of excessive time taking to load the landing page
- Real time Authentication – which helps to identify backend issues during constant client authentication checks
Since then, it has been widely embraced in the awesome wireless community and after many contributions, this tiny box has evolved well beyond a network performance testing device.
Today, it can also be used as a remote Wi-Fi scanner, packet capture tool, portable Wi-Fi signal generator and much more! These capabilities assist wireless professionals with designing better wireless networks, troubleshooting issues more quickly, and validating wireless network performance.”
WLAN Pi | Handheld Edition
- NanoPi Computer
- Comfast CF-912AC NIC
- USB -Micro to USB-C cable
- USB-C to USB-A Adapter
- Handheld – custom 3D Printed Case
- Preloaded with WLAN pi version 1.8.3
- Assembled and tested
- Support for WLAN pi team
Net Ally AirCheck G2
AirCheck G2 offers a one-button AutoTest function that quickly provides a pass/fails indication of Wi-Fi network quality and identifies common problems.
Test the latest Wi-Fi standards (including 802.11ax), with a rugged, handheld, purpose-built wireless tester.
See all networks and devices in your location immediately upon power-up.
View test results, including network availability, connectivity, utilization, throughput, security settings, possible rogues, and interferers.
Automate reporting and enable collaboration with upload and management test results via Link-Live Cloud Service.
Metageek – Wi-Spy
Powerful Dual-Band Spectrum Analysis
Chanalyzer Essential includes Wi-Spy DBx, a powerful dual-band spectrum analyzer that measures WiFi and non-WiFi activity in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Chanalyzer utilizes radio frequency data from Wi-Spy DBx to provide you with a real-time visual overview of your WiFi network environment.
Locate Sources of Interference
Once you’re able to see interference, the next step is to eliminate it. Unlike the omnidirectional WiFi antenna in your laptop or wireless adapter, a directional antenna is highly focused to pinpoint non-WiFi sources of interference. This allows you to actively seek out and remove loud transmitters from your WiFi environment.
Monitor Channel Saturation and Intermittent Interferers
By graphing every access point within reach and pairing it with the raw RF information provided by Wi-Spy, Chanalyzer provides you with all the information you need to monitor and manage saturated channels. The built-in recording feature even allows you to track the most frustrating WiFi problem – intermittent interference – and come up with a plan to eliminate it for good.
WiFi diagnostics with Apple iOS13:
We found this through Dan Jones so thank you to Dan! His twitter is: @UKDanJones
You need to install the developer profile from here: https://developer.apple.com/bug-reporting/profiles-and-logs/
- Scroll to bottom
- Find Wi-Fi for iOS
- log in “as a developer” but you can use your usual Apple account
- Once you’ve loaded the profile you connect to an SSID, click the ‘i’ icon next to it & choose Diagnostics.
This profile gives you access to previously hidden/inaccessible menus & functions in your iOS.
- Identifies the Access Point the iPhone is currently connected to
- Tells you on which channel the Access Point operates and with which channel width (e.g. 80 MHz)
- Signal Strength
- Signal Strength (RSSI in dBm) with color indication and written indicator (e.g. Strong, Moderate, Weak)
- Below you’ll see an indication of how the channel utilization is being rated/seen
- Information on how the wireless network is secured e.g. „WPA3 Personal“
- Information if you go through a Captive Portal to connect to the network
- Information if the Wireless LAN operates with multiple Access Points (Multi AP) or a single AP (Single AP)
- Stationary (the iPhone doesn’t move e.g. stationary on the desk)
- Moving (the iPhone is being held in hand)
- Walking (the iPhone moves with walking speed)
- Running (the iPhone moves with running speed (also happens if you jump with the device))
- Information on how much time it takes to get to your Gateway
- Information on how much time it takes to get to the internet (apple.com)
- AWDL Mode
- AWDL stands for Apple Wireless Direct Link“ and is used for AirDrop
- Active or Inactive
- Active or Inactive
- Directly below you’ll find an indication which application triggered the last scan e.g. location and when this happened
This is a great app on iOS to show you the RSSI from the device perspective but once you have installed the application you need to go into the settings and enable the WiFi scanner:
Example of the information we can see using Airport Utility:
Aruba Utilities includes:
• A Wi-Fi Monitor showing the Wi-Fi environment, including the current access point, dynamic signal strength and RSSI measurements, other access points audible to the device and handover events.
• A Telnet/SSH client that works with Aruba mobility controllers, allowing network configuration and monitoring from a mobile platform.
• An AirWave client that downloads the floorplan image and AP details from the network’s AirWave WLAN management system. See where APs are located relative to your position, and touch AP icons for details of current loading, channels and power.
• The AirWave client also offers a locally-generated estimated heatmap and a site survey function that links actual coverage measurements to locations on the floorplan.
• Device information (Wi-Fi, IP, DHCP, cellular status) is displayed along with an implementation of the Airwave Management Client (AMC) that reports device information and scanned APs to your AirWave WLAN management system.
• A Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) scanner reports nearby iBeacons and other BLE devices with UUID, index values and signal strength measurements.
• Android versions of iPerf, Ping, DNS and mDNS offer network test functionality.
• Measurements are written to a plain-text log file and various csv report files that can be emailed for use later.
WiFiman helps you locate a less crowded channel for your Wi-Fi Access Point. It lists nearby Wi-Fi channels and Bluetooth LE devices and shows you the details of those channels.
With the app, you can easily list and analyze devices connected to your current network. WiFiman scans the whole network subnet and shows you all of the available devices with the applicable details, using Bonjour, SNMP, NetBIOS, and UBNT discovery protocols.
Another core feature is the network speed test. You can test the speed of your internet connection and save the results for later comparison – or quickly share the results.
‘How Many APs Do I Need?’
No more guessing based on device counts
or rule-of-thumb cell sizing
Quickly Analyze ‘What-If’ Scenarios
Determine the best design for your network by adjusting AP and client device types, channel width, client mix, and applications on-the-fly
Capacity Analysis (new in version 2.0!)
Visualize capacity utilization and the impact caused by client devices with varying capabilities. Data is shown by:
Application type (data, voip/real-time)
Mesh Network Planning
Plan 5 GHz single-channel mesh networks to determine how many root nodes are necessary to meet capacity requirements and the per-hop mesh network performance. Use an existing client capacity plan or manually configure mesh network capacity requirements.
Use the Capacity Planner for predictive WLAN design, Wi-Fi training and education, RFP proposals, project scoping, and creating a bill of materials (BOM)
Airtime vs Association
Forecast WLAN capacity based on
either client airtime demand or association limits per-AP radio
Iterative Design Approach
Use Capacity Planner in conjunction with RF planning tools in an iterative approach to derive a design that meets both coverage and capacity requirements
That’s all the WiFi Tools for now that we are going to cover – if you use any WiFi Tools that we have not included in this blog post please leave a comment or reach out to us and we will update the post to include!