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NetStumbler is probably the first wireless discovery tool that people come across.  It is free, easy to install and simple to use.  Netstumbler is a tool for Windows that allows you to detect Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) using 802.11b, 802.11a and 802.11g.

Netstumbler sends out a probe request about once a second, and reports the responses. This is known as Active Scanning.


Using Netstumbler:


Once Netstumbler is installed all you need is a compatible wireless card then simply double click on the Netstumbler icon and Netstumbler will start probing for nearby wireless LANS:




One of the weaknesses of Netstumbler is its inability to detect Wireless LANS utilising hidden SSIDs.



However, Netstumbler does include a very useful graphical representation of signal strength (indicated in green) and noise ratio (indicated in red) over time, which is extremely useful for direction finding Wireless LANS:





Netstumbler Options:


Netstumbler is able to merge .ns1 files via the File > Merge option in the menu.



GPS configuration can be carried out via the View > Options > GPS tab.



The Scan speed can also be altered via View > Options > General tab.



Netstumbler saves files in the .ns1 format.  Providing a GPS device is attached these files can then be then be imported (via Stumbverter) into Microsoft's MapPoint software to produce a graphic representation of any Wardriving or Site Surveys that may have been carried out:



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