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Thread: inSSIDer kit performance issues

  1. #1

    Default inSSIDer kit performance issues


    I got the kit from and was surprised to see how the performance of the wifi adapter differed from the unit built into my laptop. Here are two screenshots taken at the same location. The only difference is the adapter feeding the wifi data to the application.

    Built-in Intel 5100 AGN

    inSSIDer kit USB adapter

    The USB connector on the wifi adapter is very flimsy. The driver also took almost an hour to download from the vendor's site in Taiwan. A little more documentation and driver support on the metageek site would be nice here.

    Anyone else run into this? Did I get a bum unit?


  2. Default

    We aren't able to host the drivers on metageek unfortunately. Sorry about the download times.

    The main goal with the inSSIDer kit, was to create a good war driving package. One of the requirements was that it had an external RP-SMA adapter. The second, support for 802.11n. And then from there it was testing any of these products for accurate results.

    Right now you are comparing the results in inSSIDer. But here's the things with all of the RSSI values, which I don't know why inSSIDer claims the y-axis to be Amplitude in dB. This seems inaccurate. Anyway, RSSI values are completely arbitrary. The vendors decide which scale they report the received signals. Some vendors may report from a scale of 1 - 100, while others use a scale of 0-255. There is no standard.

    The easiest way I can think of to compare accuracy of received signals from a Wi-Fi adapter is to pair it up with a Wi-Spy spectrum analyzer, which is calibrated to be withing +/- 1.5dB. This is something we took into consideration when we made the decision to choose the inSSIDer kit wifi nic.

    Why are you seeing such different results with the intel? Those questions should be brought to the vendor. But I will say this, legal maximum is at about -30dBm and to see that you would need to be touching the antennas of your wifi card and AP. My guess is, that your internal card is less accurate.

  3. #3


    Hi Trent,

    Thanks for responding so quickly. Too bad about the drivers, getting them from that site was painful. Maybe the route their packets take was impaired by the tsunami or something.

    I understand what you're saying about arbitrary RSSI levels and that explains part of te issue.

    The thing that stands out the most to me though is the large number of networks that are visible with my internal card that the inSSIDer kit doesn't seem to see. Any ideas there?

  4. Default

    I will give my answer which is from the MetaGeek perspective. Keep in mind, our main gig is spectrum analysis. The inSSIDer software is a tool created by MetaGeek and Tyler which helps users interpret what they see in the spectrum analysis software.

    What WLANs are actually viewable in the spectrum from a Wi-Spy's point of view? Well have a look

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The software creates a density map of the activity. The curves represent Wi-Fi similar to the channel view in inSSIDer. You can read more about the channel table, and how it relates to the actual spectrum activity

    At the very bottom of the spectrum density map, around -100dBm is the noise floor. To relate the noise floor to audio. Anything above the noise floor is audible and understandable. The noise floor is like an indistinguishable whisper. Your intel wireless card may be able to amplify the noise floor a little better and pick up a few beacons every now and then, but because the signal is somewhere in the noise floor is unusable.

    We really wanted to find a wireless card that showed the available WLANs as they would appear in the spectrum. I realize this isn't ideal some people since, they use the tool to find broadcasting wifi signals, and the sooner they can track it, the better.


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