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Thread: inSSIDer 4 - Windows 7 vs. MacOSX El Capitan

  1. #1

    Unhappy inSSIDer 4 - Windows 7 vs. MacOSX El Capitan


    I've purchased inSSIDer 4 for MacOSX since I needed some sort of tool for visualising wireless networking.
    A colleague used inSSIDer on his Windows PC, that's how I found out about inSSIDer.

    But the Mac version wasn't showing the same amount of information as my colleagues Windows version...
    (both are using the build-in wifi card)

    Some differences noted:
    - Windows 7 version find many more APs/SSIDs at lower signal level (-90 db)
    - MacOSX version doesn't find/show any nameless SSIDs

    Here are two screen dumps from my Mac and an old PC, standing side-by-side...

    MacOSX version
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	inSSIDer Mac.png 
Views:	97 
Size:	161.2 KB 
ID:	1109

    Windows version
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	inSSIDer Win7.png 
Views:	96 
Size:	166.8 KB 
ID:	1110

    Sadly, this makes the Mac version less useful compared to the Windows version.

    Why does this difference exist?

  2. #2


    Mac version seems to utilise the same info that "airport -s" see:

    bash-3.2# airport -s
    eduroam 58:b6:33:39:3e:7c -79 44,+1 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES) 18:33:9d:5f:05:ee -77 100,+1 Y SE NONE
    SUNET-GUEST 58:b6:33:38:c4:78 -49 8 Y SE WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    eduroam 58:b6:33:78:d4:a8 -62 11 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES)
    CWNA_OPEN_5G 10:bd:18:c9:59:30 -74 36 Y -- NONE 18:33:9d:5f:05:ef -77 100,+1 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES)
    eduroam 58:b6:33:78:de:0c -75 108 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES)
    SUNET-GUEST 58:b6:33:38:de:0c -75 108 Y SE WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    NUNOC-GUEST 24:b6:57:7a:c7:1e -54 108,+1 Y SE WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    NUNOC 24:b6:57:7a:c7:1f -54 108,+1 Y SE WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    StockholmPublic 18:33:9d:5f:05:ed -78 100,+1 Y SE NONE
    pcab dc:9f:db:1b:9d:3a -81 56 Y SE WPA(PSK/AES,TKIP/TKIP) WPA2(PSK/AES,TKIP/TKIP) 18:33:9d:5e:a9:3e -61 132,+1 Y SE NONE
    StockholmPublic 18:33:9d:5e:a9:3d -61 132,+1 Y SE NONE 18:33:9d:5e:a9:3f -61 132,+1 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES)
    pcab dc:9f:db:1c:9d:3a -55 11 Y SE WPA(PSK/AES,TKIP/TKIP) WPA2(PSK/AES,TKIP/TKIP)
    SUNET-GUEST 58:b6:33:38:d4:a8 -64 11 Y SE WPA2(PSK/AES/AES) 18:33:9d:5f:05:e1 -60 11 Y SE NONE
    StockholmPublic 18:33:9d:5f:05:e2 -60 11 Y SE NONE 18:33:9d:5f:05:e0 -60 11 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES)
    eduroam 58:b6:33:78:c4:78 -50 8 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES)
    CWNA_WPA2_5G 20:3a:07:f6:b7:20 -50 48 Y -- WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    CWNA_WPA2_5G 20:3a:07:f6:62:90 -70 44 Y -- WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    CWNA_OPEN_5G 20:3a:07:f7:1a:20 -62 40 Y -- NONE
    SUNET-GUEST 58:b6:33:38:c4:7c -42 124 Y SE WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    eduroam 58:b6:33:78:d4:ac -53 128 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES)
    SUNET-GUEST 58:b6:33:38:d4:ac -53 128 Y SE WPA2(PSK/AES/AES)
    eduroam 58:b6:33:78:c4:7c -42 124 Y SE WPA2(802.1x/AES/AES)

    But the wireless driver see more stuff AFAIK, for instance if I look for beacons via tcpdump...

    bash-3.2# tcpdump -I -P -i en0 | grep Beacon
    tcpdump: verbose output suppressed, use -v or -vv for full protocol decode
    listening on en0, link-type IEEE802_11_RADIO (802.11 plus radiotap header), capture size 262144 bytes
    16:57:17.542924 4179795253us tsft short preamble 6.0 Mb/s 5620 MHz 11a -56dB signal -81dB noise antenna 1 Beacon () [6.0* 9.0 12.0* 18.0 24.0* 36.0 48.0 54.0 Mbit] ESS
    ^C280 packets captured
    447 packets received by filter
    0 packets dropped by kernel

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    On the Beach in Florida


    First I'll state that I'm not an Apple person, but I am a networking person.

    As far as I know, the wireless drivers are part of the OS and are not part of inSSIDer. inSSIDer queries the wireless hardware using API's provided by the OS and its drivers. There can be significant differences between the ability of side-by-side systems to receive wifi signals due to antenna variances, system hardware and software. inSSIDer is really an agent reporting the data provided by the wifi hardware.

    I noticed that you are attempting to compare a logical network view on OS X with a physical network view on Windows 7. They won't be the same.
    Last edited by ua549; 04-29-2016 at 06:19 AM.
    Old Mod by the Sea

  4. #4


    Also, one thing to keep in mind is that Apple doesn't report hidden networks to us, so we can't display then in inSSIDer for OS X. This KB article gives a complete comparison of inSSIDer for OS X and Windows, and it explains the issue with hidden networks.

    Joel, Mobility+, ECSE, CWNE #233
    Technical Trainer


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