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Wireless Networks Thread, WiFi Site Survey Software? in Technical; Does anyone know of any free software that will carry out a wireless site survey. I have a tablet and ...
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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Question WiFi Site Survey Software?

    Does anyone know of any free software that will carry out a wireless site survey. I have a tablet and a GPS its just the software to tie it all together. I have had a look at InSSIDer which will generate a kind by exporting a KML file for use with google earth but I was wondering if anyone had come accross any opensource or freeware alternatives that would provide a little more detailed information.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Not sure if it's exactly what you need, but i've used NetStumbler to do a "site survey" for personal use, but i'd want a pro to come and do their own if going managed or something.

    Downloads | NetStumbler.com

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    SYNACK (15th March 2011)

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    Yeap, used netstumbler before and its quite simmilar to inSSIDer but still does not quite give the level of information I am after (also does not work on my Win 7 laptop).

    This is not for a managed installation but more to straighten out a hodge podge setup of 10 wireless routers setup on channels 1 to 10 and randomly scattered throughout the school all 'encrypted' with 128bit WEP. Yes I fully know that they are as open as a pegoda but I'm tackeling one battle at a time, well more like 10 at a time but whos counting.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 15th March 2011 at 07:45 AM.

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    I always use Heatmapper, it does not use GPS, but drawings of your building or any other drawing you load into it.
    While walking through your building it will measure all you access points (channels, coverage, strength etc.) and draw it on the drawing of your building.
    They also have a paid version which can also draw in 3D and use GPS etc.
    You can find more info and download here: Ekahau HeatMapper - The Free Wi-Fi Coverage Mapping Site Survey Tool

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    bodminman (18th March 2011), Marci (15th March 2011), SYNACK (15th March 2011)

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Thanks, that looks like just the kind of thing that I am after.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    I found a few more tools in my hut:
    This one creates various representations of the network viewable in google earth:
    KNSGEM wifi mapping


    This also looks interesting for finding rogue aps. aptools.sourceforge.net

    Have not tried either yet but will give it a go when I get some data to work with.
    Last edited by SYNACK; 18th March 2011 at 06:33 AM.

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    I duont know if you use linux, but I always use Kismet with gpsd

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    SYNACK (18th March 2011)

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    Quote Originally Posted by RabbieBurns View Post
    I duont know if you use linux, but I always use Kismet with gpsd
    What kind of visual results does that generate, I do have Mint OS on my tablet for random tools but have to admit to only booting into it when I need something tied to *nix. Any Screenshots avalible?

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    thinking back, actually, i think it just dumps the wifi and gps info to a file (csv or such) and then uses a 3rd party, such as google maps to plot them onto a map.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Cool, thought so from all that I had read. There are heaps of tools that can grab the raw data avalible as listed above, its interpreting and visualising the data which is the real challange.

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    heatmapper I have tried to use before. It seems intuitive, but requires scale drawings of our premises, which I struggled to procure from any of our departments.

    It basically involves you loading the maps of the floor/building/etc, and then marking on the map where abouts you are standing. And then repeating that for every room you want to survey. And then it shows what access points it could see at those particular points.

    In theory, it works well, but its the matching up the scale drawings of to the centimeter of where you are standing, that I failed at obtaining.

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Yeap, my idea with that was just to grab an arial off Google Maps and use that for approx locations. If I can get the other one to work though I may just leave my phones wireless and GPS forced on one day running a logger and by the end I will have a really good picture of the coverage.

    On that note are there any good wireles capture programs that work on Windows Mobile and grab GPS. I know that there is ministumbler which should work but does anyone know of any alternatives in this area that output an .ns1 file?

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    I did my wifi scan was to show the locations of completely open Wifi access points within walking distance of the school perimiter.

    The reason was due to the students using wifi on their phones to access *anything* they wanted on the internet, and bringing it in on their phones to school (our school was in a built up residential area)

    I plotted the Open wifi access points on a map using GPS and Kismet, plotted them onto a Map, and then the school sent out a very nicely worded letter, suggesting they were open to abuse, and offering our service (free of charge) to secure their networks.

    I walked round with my laptop with a high gain ExpressCard Wifi card, and a $100 GPS usb dongle that would locate its position almost immedaitely. I would recommend using decent gear rather than a phone. (let me know if you want to borrow my gps usb dongle, its sat in my drawer since the day i arrived here)

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    SYNACK (19th March 2011)

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    Airmagnet Survey Pro is the daddy of heatmapping software unfortunately it retails at £3k.

    If all you want to do is sort out channel overlap I'd just use InSSIDer, yes heatmaps look nice but in all honesty they're not going to bring any additional information to the mix. Just work from one of the building to the other setting them on alternate non-overlapping channels (1,6,11). Then get yourself a list of the access point MAC addresses so you can work out which is which and have a walk round with InSSIDer and make sure the APs you can hear in each area are on different channels.

    You might find a Wi-Spy dongle comes in useful for tracking down non-wifi interference if you think you have a problem beyond co-channel issues.

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    SYNACK (19th March 2011)

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    @RabbieBurns - thanks for the offer of a loan, hopefully I'll be able to get away with my own gear using a tablet and a linked Garmin Venture for more accurate wireless results or my phone for a quick overview. Did you use any additional software to plot the GPS locations on a map or do it manually?

    @paulfinlay - thanks for the input, the reason I am looking at heatmaps is to adjust the placement of the APs so that they are the most efficient and also provide a nice 'coverage' map for staff so that it is clearly understood which areas are well serviced. Channel overlap is something that I will sort out but at the moment there is such a clustering of APs in certain area that it is quite mad, some areas get three different APs with medium signal and others can only see one. Once I get this ballanced out a bit then I will adjust the chanels accordingly with regard to their new locaions and may even tweak their power output.

    Unfourtunatly like most schools it is made out of all sorts of different stuff depending on when it was added and so it is difficult to predict how the signal will travel. I'm hopeing that a heatmapping type solution will provide good visual clues as to which bits of the school are heavily RF sheilded and so allow for better placment of the APs to get the best practical solution.

    My long term goal is to replace the APs with better dual band, multiple SSID APs that will provide much better speed and coverage while using less units but I am constrained by the budget. I would love to go for a fully managed solution but most schools here would simply burn you as a witch for suggesting a solution that cost more than their entire last bach of switches.

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