Searching for Wi-Fi networks while being in a moving vehicle may seem like a waste of time to some people. The rest call it wardriving. You only need to be on the move, have a portable computer and use specific software. The market provides various applications on several platforms, Windows receiving the support of programs such as NetStumbler, InSSIDer or Ekahau Heat Mapper.
NetStumbler delivers a tool that helps you detect 802.11 a/b/g WLAN standards. While wardriving is its main use, the application also facilitates the verifying of network configurations. You can easily find locations that suffer from weak signal within a WLAN, detect issues of wireless interference and rogue access points. Thus, you are able to aim directional antennas in order to benefit from extended wireless signal quality and strength.
It can be used successfully within companies to look for unauthorized wireless LANs that provide access to outside users, thus risking imminent infiltration. Installing a wireless router needs prior gathering of data and analysis of surroundings. NetStumbler makes choosing the right spot for your router a piece of cake, providing the necessary set of tools for a proper site survey.
The GUI of the program draws a simple window along with its menu and button bar as well as two panels for browsing features and statistics of found wireless LANs. You are able to sort them by their Channel or SSID and also apply filters such as Encryption, ESS (Extended Service Set), IBSS (Independent Basic Service Set), CF Pollable, Short Preamble, PBCC (Packet Binary Convolutional Code) or Short Slot Time.
NetStumbler also delivers detailed information about detected networks and their correspondent routers and access points. You are given the MAC address, SSID, Name, Channel, Speed, Vendor, Type, Encryption, SNR (Signal-to-Noise Ratio), Signal, Noise, IP address, Subnet, Latitude, Longitude or First / Last Seen. The application also supports GPS modules for the wardriver in you.
These details are presented when the List View is set. You can go for the Graph View to inspect the signal strength, noise level and signal loss. The Options window starts up offering a slider to set the Scan Speed accompanied by the `Auto adjust using GPS` function. You can also choose the Angle Format within the Display section, set up your GPS device, manage Scripting and `Enable MIDI output of SNR`.
NetStumbler's position in Softpedia's Network Monitoring category is the sole result of users' appreciation toward its dynamic yet vigorous set of tools. While it helps you in numerous scenarios, it never fails to deliver accurate results and exhaustive statistics regarding every single WLAN in your area. Wardriving or not, NetStumbler is the thing for you when it comes to thorough Wi-Fi networks investigation.