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churin
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Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:02 pm

I need a utility to analyze WiFi hot spots to determine their channels, signal strengths, etc. Could anyone recommend one? I have tried one, "WiFi Analytics Tool",  but it did not work on Windows 10 Pro x64.
 
Yan
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Thu Dec 01, 2016 7:25 pm

What OS? For Windows, InSSIDer.

Version 2 of InSSIDer showed hidden networks. The capability was later removed. It's not difficult to find that version if you want it.

Edit: Oh, you did say Windows 10.
 
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Thu Dec 01, 2016 8:35 pm

inSSIDer 3.1.2.1 is the last freeware version for Windows (XP, but works fine in Win10-64) and Webprovider's Wifi Analyser for Android both do what I need them to do, which is show 40MHz+ wide channels although neither can identify the control vs. extension channels.

Less basic Vistumbler freeware can plot locations onto Google Maps and Wireshark can even monitor/capture packets too.  Reportedly Wifi Explorer for iOS and Kismet for Linux are good too.
 
TwistedKestrel
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:42 pm

Free versions of inSSIDer are just too old now IMHO. 

Two decent free ones are Homedale (very lightweight) and Acrylic Wifi (has a nice UI, has $$$ enterprise options if that's your thing)
 
TwoEars
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Thu Dec 01, 2016 9:48 pm

I like wireshark myself.

https://www.wireshark.org/

Can take some time to get used to the interface and all the functions but very powerful.
 
curtisb
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:53 pm

Acrylic WiFi Home is free and fairly comparable to InSSIDer.

https://www.acrylicwifi.com/en/wlan-sof ... r-windows/

It will show that hidden networks are there, but not what the network name is. I just love seeing all the printers that broadcast ad hoc by default. I really wish printer manufacturers would stop doing that. I have at least three close enough to my house to be picked up (all of them HP :roll: ).
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churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:41 am

curtisb wrote:
Acrylic WiFi Home is free and fairly comparable to InSSIDer.

I forgot to mention but Acrylic WiFi Home is another one I tried and did not work on my Windows 10 Pro x64. Did you use the utility on Windows 10?  If so I will try again.
 
TwistedKestrel
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Fri Dec 02, 2016 12:45 am

churin wrote:
curtisb wrote:
Acrylic WiFi Home is free and fairly comparable to InSSIDer.

I forgot to mention but Acrylic WiFi Home is another one I tried and did not work on my Windows 10 Pro x64. Did you use the utility on Windows 10?  If so I will try again.

I've definitely used it on Win 10 x64.
 
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Fri Dec 02, 2016 1:49 pm

Is it essential to use a Windows 10 machine?  There are a few iOS apps and a lot of Android apps that can do this, and if you're trying to, e.g., wander around an office or warehouse space to check for signal availability or conflicts, a mobile device is quite convenient.
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churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Fri Dec 02, 2016 5:19 pm

ludi wrote:
Is it essential to use a Windows 10 machine?  There are a few iOS apps and a lot of Android apps that can do this, and if you're trying to, e.g., wander around an office or warehouse space to check for signal availability or conflicts, a mobile device is quite convenient.

What I want to do is to see if changing WiFi channel improves download speed. I am a Windows user but I have Mac, iPhone and iPad. What iOS apps do you recommend?
 
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Fri Dec 02, 2016 10:46 pm

How about use using the wlan function from the command prompt. No extra programs needed

start->run cmd
nesth
wlan
show all
 
curtisb
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:44 am

Grab WiFi Analyzer from the Windows Store. I use it on my Lumia 950 XL. It's also very comparable to InSSIDer and Acrylic WiFi.

https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9nblggh33n0n
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churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:06 am

Usacomp2k3 wrote:
How about use using the wlan function from the command prompt. No extra programs needed

start->run cmd
nesth
wlan
show all

I am getting following. What could be wrong?
Image
 
curtisb
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:36 am

Errrr...does your system have a wireless NIC?
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 12:16 pm

I use Wi-Fi Analyzer on my phone for quick checks on wifi. For work I use Ekuhau and inSSIDer, though I might switch up to Acrylic. It looks good.
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churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:24 pm

I stuck a USB WiFi NIC to my machine and "show all"( netsh command) returned details of hotspots. Acrylic WiFi Home and Wi-Fi Analytics Tool now work.
 
One question about Acrylic WiFi Home:  Channel # for 5GHz of my hotspot is supposed to be 149 but is shown as "149+153+157+161".  I wonder why.
 
jihadjoe
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:48 pm

I use WiFi Analyzer on Android. Shows the list of available networks plus their channels and signal strength. It's pretty awesome.

Image Image Image

Edit: Added link and screenshots
Last edited by jihadjoe on Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 2:53 pm

jihadjoe wrote:
I use WiFi Analyzer on Android. Shows the list of available networks plus their channels and signal strength.

Is there a one for iPhone?
 
jihadjoe
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:16 pm

I've heard Network Analyzer and RF Toolbox mentioned once or twice among my iPhone wielding colleagues, but they cost (a little) money.
 
curtisb
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 3:28 pm

churin wrote:
One question about Acrylic WiFi Home:  Channel # for 5GHz of my hotspot is supposed to be 149 but is shown as "149+153+157+161".  I wonder why.


It uses multiple channels to get more throughput. My 2.4GHz channel is on 3w (w for wide), which is 3+6, to get 300Mbps 802.11n. My 5GHz Channel is on 60w, which is 60+64, to get 300Mbps 802.11n. My AP is only dual radio, which is why it'll only use 2 channels per frequency. This is where MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) comes in. Newer AP's support MU-MIMO (Multiple User-MIMO), which uses more antennas and more radios to help with multiple devices.

When I carried an iPhone (last I carried was a 3GS) I used WiFiFoFum. It had a radar layout that would show you how close the AP was to you. It got removed from iOS, but I think it's still available for Android.
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churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:21 pm

curtisb wrote:
churin wrote:
One question about Acrylic WiFi Home:  Channel # for 5GHz of my hotspot is supposed to be 149 but is shown as "149+153+157+161".  I wonder why.


It uses multiple channels to get more throughput.  My 2.4GHz channel is on 3w (w for wide), which is 3+6, to get 300Mbps 802.11n.  My 5GHz Channel is on 60w, which is 60+64, to get 300Mbps 802.11n.  My AP is only dual radio, which is why it'll only use 2 channels per frequency.  This is where MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) comes in.  Newer AP's support MU-MIMO (Multiple User-MIMO), which uses more antennas and more radios to help with multiple devices.

When I carried an iPhone (last I carried was a 3GS) I used WiFiFoFum.  It had a radar layout that would show you how close the AP was to you.  It got removed from iOS, but I think it's still available for Android.

Previously I was using "Auto", then I changed to channel 149. Actually it is called "Control Channel". Is it  any advantage setting a specific channel # as the control channel instead of using "Auto"? 
 
curtisb
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:38 pm

There's nothing wrong with forcing it, so long as you're forcing it to a channel that isn't saturated in your area (which these analyzer tools should show you). If you leave it on Auto it should let the AP automatically assign an unsaturated channel.
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churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:21 pm

jihadjoe wrote:
I use WiFi Analyzer on Android. Shows the list of available networks plus their channels and signal strength. It's pretty awesome.

Edit: Added link and screenshots

This appears to include good graphics of Aclylic WiFi Home and WiFi Analytics Tool combined.   Anyone know if there is one for iOS?
 
churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 5:39 pm

curtisb wrote:
There's nothing wrong with forcing it, so long as you're forcing it to a channel that isn't saturated in your area (which these analyzer tools should show you).  If you leave it on Auto it should let the AP automatically assign an unsaturated channel.

My question is because your reply indicated that "149+153+157+161" which Acrytic Home shows means it uses these multiple channels despite of 149 being set as the control channel.  I must have misunderstood what "149+153+157+161" means.  Please note that other tools show only 149 for 5GHz.
 
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 10:32 pm

Some of the tools only show the "primary" channel the radio is broadcasting on. You really want one that shows them all because, for instance, if there are a lot of people around you broadcasting on 153 then it could impact your wireless speeds. If they're also broadcasting on four channels like you are, then they're overlapping three of your four. If you're in an apartment complex or depending on your neighborhood it may be difficult to find a channel that's complete open. You just want to pick the one that has the least overlap. 5GHz doesn't broadcast nearly as far as 2.4GHz so it's easier to find channels for that frequency that are open. I only have three 5GHz channels, including my own, that are picked up in my house.
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churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:14 pm

I set my access point channel for 149 but doesn't this mean the access point is transmitting only at 149? Does it transmitting on all those 4 channels? Access points in my neighbor displayed on the scanner show only one channel each but are their access points doing the same as mine or transmitting on multiple channels?
 
curtisb
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:15 am

No, it'll transmit and receive on all of the channels. It combines them for the additional throughout. Say for instance you see an 802.11n router that claims 300Mbps. It's combining two channels to do that. If it claims 600Mbps, it's combining four channels (@ 150Mbps per channel for 11n, more for 11ac). If you're familiar with wired networking, think of it like two or four ports in link aggregation.
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churin
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:42 am

What does setting the channel number mean?  There appears to be word "Primary channel" or "Control channel". I am confused.
 
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sun Dec 04, 2016 12:57 am

churin wrote:
What does setting the channel number mean?  There appears to be word "Primary channel" or "Control channel". I am confused.

That's the 20MHz wide band that you select as the primary channel.  You can go upper or lower for the extension channel which is another 20MHz for N for a total of 40MHz wide, or 80MHz wide for AC, or 160MHz wide for AC "Wave 2."  If interference is bad enough things will drop to the primary channel only, but when it's not then they are actually using/broadcasting on the extension channel too.
It's why you need a tool that can show more than just the primary channel--there's a shocking number of utilities that ONLY show the primary channel so channels appear to be unused when they are not.
 
curtisb
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Re: Tool to analyze WiFi hotspots

Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:14 am

Thanks @bfg-9000. I knew I was forgetting something...completely forgot about the 20/40MHz (and 80/160MHz for 11ac) channel widths.
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