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Thread: inSSIDer User Guide [Beta]

  1. #1

    Default inSSIDer User Guide [Beta]

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    inSSIDer User Guide
    Overview
    inSSIDer was created by MetaGeek, a company that specializes in RF visualization. inSSIDer is a free, open source Wi-Fi scanner that tracks the SSID (network names), RSSI (signal strength), security, and other settings of nearby access points. This information is then displayed in an informative, easy to understand graphical form.

    inSSIDer’s table lists each SSID as a new row, with its details in the columns. SSIDs with checked boxes will be drawn in the Time Graph below. Selecting a row will bold the SSIDs line in the Time Graph.


    inSSIDer logs the RSSI, Security, Channel, Hardware Vendor, Max Rate, Network Type and MAC address in the columns of the table. Each column in the table can be reordered by dragging its header to the desired position. The table can be resorted by the columns if the header is clicked.

    Getting Started

    Ensure that your wireless network interface card/adapter is selected in the top right. inSSIDer pulls the information it displays from the data that your wireless card/adapter receives. To do this, select your wireless card from the dropdown box, then click the Start button as shown in this image:
    Last edited by Taylor; 06-11-2012 at 01:27 PM.

  2. #2

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    Networks Table
    The Networks Table in inSSIDer displays nearby access points. When you open inSSIDer, it will have all networks selected by default. Check and uncheck the boxes on the left to select the networks you are interested in. Access Points with their boxes checked will be drawn in the Time Graph below.
    Selecting a row will bold the Access Point’s corresponding line in the Time Graph below.
    The Networks Table shows RSSI, Security, Channel, Hardware Vendor, Max Rate, Network Type, and MAC Address.
    Each column in the table can be reordered by dragging its header to the desired position.
    The table can also be resorted by clicking the header of any column.


    Networks Table Columns


    MAC Address-
    This is a unique identifier for a wireless network. In an infrastructure network, this will be the radio’s MAC Address. In an Ad-Hoc environment, this will be a pseudo-randomly generated MAC Address.


    SSID- Abbreviation of “Service Set Identifier”, which is the name an 802.11 wireless network uses to identify itself.


    Max Rate- The maximum rate an AP is capable of transmitting at.

    RSSI- Abbreviation of “Received Signal Strength Indication”, which is the amplitude level of the wireless network as seen by a computers’ wireless card. inSSIDer represents RSSI in dBm’s. The image to the right will help you in determining what is a good RSSI and a poor RSSI.


    Channel- Each wireless network operates on a specific Wi-Fi channel. Channels 1-14 are in the 2.4 GHz frequency range, while channels 30-160 are in the 5 GHz range. inSSIDer may display two numbers in the channel column, which indicates that a network is using “channel bonding”.


    Vendor- inSSIDer will display the hardware vendor of an Access Point, if available.


    Security- inSSIDer will list the following security settings: Open, WEP, WPA Personal, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Personal, WPA2-Enterprise, Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or Open (No Security). Learn more about wireless security.


    Hidden SSIDs
    Some Wireless networks may hide or cloak their name. While the name may be invisible to inSSIDer, the MAC address and table information are still available for inSSIDer to track.
    Last edited by Taylor; 07-16-2012 at 12:15 PM.

  3. #3

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    What is inSSIDer Graphing?
    One of the main features of inSSIDer is its ability to graph signal strength (RSSI) over time (located under the “Time Graph” tab). This type of information is useful when it comes to tracking AP’s in your location. Not only does inSSIDer track this information, but others as well which are listed in the Network Table.

    Time Graph
    inSSIDer will track the RSSI of your checked networks in the time graph below the networks table. To track multiple networks, check more boxes in the networks table. The vertical axis is RSSI amplitude (measured in dBm), and the horizontal axis is system time. A consistently high RSSI line graph indicates a wireless network within close proximity to you. In other words, the higher the line, the closer the network.

    Channel View
    inSSIDer allows you to view activity on both 2.4 and 5 GHz channels. These views can be navigated to be clicking their respective tabs. As you select more boxes in the networks table, inSSIDer will display the AP’s above the channel that they are broadcasting on. They will be displayed as follows:

    Lines: The line style in the channel graph denotes encryption level.
    • Dotted line = No Encryption
    • Dashed line = WEP
    • Solid line = WPA


    Shapes: The shape denotes modulation types in the 2.4ghz band.
    • Curved top: Rates 1, 2, 5.5 and 11 will be drawn with a curve. This represents th e HR-DSSS BPSK (High-Rate Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum). In other words, this is the pattern that a 802.11b signal will make in 2.4GHz spectrum.
    • Flat top: Any WLAN with a maximum rate of 12 or greater will be drawn with a flat top. This represent access points that can support ERP-OFDM.



    The above image capture from Chanalyzer Pro shows HR-DSSS BPSK (802.11b) as a “hill shaped” area centered at Channel 1.


    This Chanalyzer Pro image shows ERP-OFDM (802.11g), recognizable by its “flat top” shape with a little bit of a "v" in the center.

    Why is 802.11b/g more round than just 802.11g?
    The more curved appearance of BPSK/HRDSSS (B-speed) networks is due to communication with legacy hardware at speeds of 1, 2, 5, and 11 Mbps. The manner by which these frames are sent is what causes the more rounded shape. In a strictly ERP-OFDM (G-speed) network, these legacy speeds are disabled. This causes the flat top in the capture.

    This image illustrates how inSSIDer’s network drawings are informed by their real appearance in the Wi-Fi spectrum:



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    Filters
    A cool feature of inSSIDer is its ability to show you only the things you want to see. This is done by using the filter bar, which is located at the top of the inSSIDer window.

    Time Graph
    inSSIDer will track the RSSI of your checked networks in the time graph below the networks table. To track multiple networks, check more boxes in the networks table. The vertical axis is RSSI amplitude (measured in dBm), and the horizontal axis is system time. A consistently high RSSI line graph indicates a wireless network within close proximity to you. In other words, the higher the line, the closer the network.

    Channel View
    inSSIDer allows you to view activity on both 2.4 and 5 GHz channels. These views can be navigated to be clicking their respective tabs. As you select more boxes in the networks table, inSSIDer will display the AP’s above the channel that they are broadcasting on. They will be displayed as follows:

    These filters let you narrow down on the networks which are displayed. You can filter by SSID, vendor, channels, network type, and security. This can be very useful if you are in an area with dozens of AP’s and you only want to view ones on a specific channel, or whose names contain certain letters. Whether you are only using one filter or several filters at once, you will only see what you want to see.


    How to Use Filters:
    Display Options
    Using filters is extremely easy, and your options vary depending on what information you are interested in. There are two options for filtering information inSSIDer: the plus (+), and minus (-).
    When the “+” option is selected, inSSIDer will show only the access points who meet the criteria you have chosen. The “-” option will do exactly the opposite-- it will hide the AP’s that match the criteria.

    Filtering Options
    Filter by SSID/Vendor:
    In order to filter by SSID, simply type in the name of the name of the AP or the Vendor you want to view and press enter. The following is an example where inSSIDer is filtering by the vendor “Netgear.”


    Filter by Channel:
    Another option is to filter by Channel. When it comes to this, you have two options. Option 1 is that you can click the arrow to the drop-down menu which will allow you to choose between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels. The channels in the 2.4 GHz spectrum range from 1 to 14, and 5 GHz channels range from 36 to 165. The following screenshot is selecting the 2.4 GHz channels.
    Filtering by channel is another option inSSIDer offers.
    The follow operands can be used:
    • “-” will filter a range of channels. For example, “1-6” will show channels 1 to 6.
    • “,” will allow you to enter multiple single channels to view. For example, “1, 4, 6, 9” will show channels 1, 4, 6, and 9.
    • The two above options can be combined. For example, “1, 4-7, 11” will show channels 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 11.

    The following screenshot is filtering by the channels 1, 4-7, and 11.

    Filter by Network Type:
    Clicking the menu will display a drop-down menu where you can select the “Infrastructure” network type and/or “Adhoc” network type. The following image is filtering by Adhoc.

    Filter by Security:
    Here you can filter between different security types. Clicking the menu will display a drop-down menu where you can select between the WPA-Personal, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Personal, WPA2-Enterprise, WEP, or Open securities. You can select more than one of these options. The following image is filtering by WPA-Personal, WEP, and Open security types.

    Last edited by Taylor; 06-04-2012 at 01:27 PM.

  5. #5

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    GPS
    inSSIDer is capable of working along with a GPS unit to track your location as you walk about your location tracking AP’s. GPS information is displayed in the network table by the columns “Latitude” and “Longitude.”

    Setting up a GPS
    First ensure that your GPS device is compatible with inSSIDer. A list of compatible units can be found here.


    Further instructions can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39jrKvhojs8

    Convert GPS to KML
    GPS data collected in inSSIDer can be exported to KML for use in GPS applications like Google Earth. This process is covered in the above video, though the process does look slightly different in newer versions of inSSIDer.The first-time conversion steps are as follows:

    1. From the File menu, click “Convert GPX to KML”:
    2. Select your source GPX file and target KML file locations using the buttons indicated in the image below

    3. Select any options you wish, then click the "Export" button. You will be shown a message box that reads "Export Complete" when the process is finished. From here, click "OK" to close this dialog, then "Done" at the bottom of the Export window to return to inSSIDer.


    Useful Links
    MetaGeek Website: http://www.metageek.net/
    MetaGeek Blog: http://www.metageek.net/blog/
    MetaGeek Forums: http://www.metageek.net/forums/
    How to enable WLAN AutoConfig Service: http://goo.gl/QWiaa
    Last edited by Taylor; 07-16-2012 at 12:14 PM.

  6. #6

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    I would recommend stating that the MAC address is the BSSID in the manual, of course MAC address is more user friendly but in the documentation it's worth to note that it is the BSSID.

  7. #7

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    Having read through the Tip and Tricks area in support, using inSSIDer to choose the best channel AP locations, it is recommended to avoid AP's that have many devices running in them. My question is how does the time graph for a given network show whether that particular network has only 1 device running in it or several? Is there a pattern in the time graph that would tend to indicate whether a network has a lot of traffic or interference in it? If there are two posssible 'better' locations to set one's AP, it just seems to me that two networks being equal in RSSI values, there might be reason to chose one over the other based on patterns in the time graph on both.

  8. #8

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    nice posts .................

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