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7 free Wi-Fi stumbling and surveying tools for Windows and Mac

Eric Geier | May 27, 2015
Here are 7 tools that provide important details on known and unknown aspects of your WiFi network.

AirGrab WiFi Radar is a free Mac-based Wi-Fi stumbler. Though optional, free registration is required to get rid of its snag screen.

The GUI displays the networks and graphs in a different way than most stumblers. On the upper left is a list of detected SSIDs with just its MAC address and channel. To see other details you must click on an entry. In addition to the usual details, WiFi Radar shows the noise level, which can be very helpful when doing wireless surveying or troubleshooting. On the upper right of the screen is the channel usage graph, which is displayed in a unique way.

If you don't mind the GUI of AirGrab WiFi Radar, it could be a useful tool for Wi-Fi surveying and troubleshooting, especially since it offers noise levels, allowing you to calculate the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of APs. Also convenient, both the network list and channel graph can be saved and exported.

Cain & Abel is a multi-purpose password recovery and cracking application that also features Wi-Fi stumbling, sniffing, and cracking tools. Like Acrylic WiFi, it also has a monitor or promiscuous mode to capture more traffic.

It has an older simplistic look and feel, with an old-style toolbar on the top with icons to bring up different utilities. The main portion of the application is tabbed; clicking the tabs shows the different utilities.

On the Wireless tab, you'll find the Wi-Fi stumbler. In addition to the typical SSID and signal info, you can see a list and details of connected clients. Plus for SSIDs and clients you'll find numbers on the amount of certain packets detected: all packets, unique WEP IVs, and ARP requests. Like Acrylic WiFi, any hidden SSIDs discovered from packets are revealed in the GUI as well. Most of status and data captured can be exported into a simple text file.

Due to the lack of graphs and inability to distinguish 802.11ac access points and larger channel-widths, Cain & Abel might not be a great choice for general Wi-Fi stumbling and surveying. But it certainly would be useful when performing penetration testing.

Homedale is a relatively simple and portable Windows-based stumbler with an optional command-line interface. Other than showing basic network and signal details, it supports GPS and other geo-location support logging.

This utility has a simple GUI that resembles more of a multi-tabbed dialog box than a full application. On the Access Points tab, you see all the usual details. Though 802.11ac is distinguished, it does show the multiple channels used by any SSIDs with larger channel-widths. However, it does not detect hidden SSIDs, though it does show their other network details.

 

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