Sniffer to Get 802.11a Support

By Timothy Dyck  |  Posted 2002-05-27 Print this article Print

With an executable only 196KB IN size, Marius Milner's Network Stumbler wireless sniffer packs a lot of punch into a tiny package.

With an executable only 196KB IN size, Marius Milners Network Stumbler wireless sniffer packs a lot of punch into a tiny package.

"Its really helpful for administrators trying to lock down their sites," Milner told me at NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas earlier this month, when he was attending eWeek and PC Magazines i3 (Innovation In Infrastructure) Awards ceremony (see photo).

Milner is working on the next major release of the software, NetStumbler, which will support 802.11a networks and will extend 802.11b support by adding compatibility with some Prism chip-set-based 802.11b cards. He said he hopes to ship this release in the next month or two.

The software took top honors in i3s Wireless Software and Services product category for its simplicity, usefulness and proven track record in this space (see for complete i3 coverage).

Besides finding rogue wireless access points (a real problem, since 802.11b bridge prices have dropped to the $150 range and are available at any computer superstore), the softwares sniffing abilities also come in handy for optimizing existing wireless networks.

NetStumbler can interface with a GPS receiver to correlate physical location data with wireless network data, and it lets users extend the software with VBScript code to do things such as store newly detected wireless networks in a database.

"Its useful to find coverage holes or to see if you have channel conflicts with your neighbors," said Milner. "Its also good for aiming antennas."

NetStumbler is free (Milner requests a donation if it is useful). It works on Windows, and a stripped-down version is available for Pocket PC devices. More information is available at

Timothy Dyck is a Senior Analyst with eWEEK Labs. He has been testing and reviewing application server, database and middleware products and technologies for eWEEK since 1996. Prior to joining eWEEK, he worked at the LAN and WAN network operations center for a large telecommunications firm, in operating systems and development tools technical marketing for a large software company and in the IT department at a government agency. He has an honors bachelors degree of mathematics in computer science from the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and a masters of arts degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.

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