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 0.3.3.0, 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 www.eweek.com/links 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 www.netstumbler.com.