Want to See the Wireless World Around You? Check out AirRadar!
September 22nd, 2008
Wireless networks are great, especially if you're near a strong, known base that you can connect to reliably. However, there may be times when you are in an unfamiliar location, or are just curious, and need to know what other wireless base stations are nearby. Sure, the AirPort menu in Mac OS X can give you a quick rundown of what base stations are nearby, with a handy lock icon showing which ones have some level of security, but there's so much more information available. Enter AirRadar.
Just start up AirRadar, click on Begin Scan, and if you're anywhere near a wireless base station, it will show up on the list. The default configuration shows the Name, Encryption Type, MAC Address, Channel, Signal Strength, Signal Average, Signal Max, and Last Seen. This is a great place to start, but if you want to know more, there are 19 other parameters that you can have listed, such as the specific Cipher used to encrypt the wireless traffic, assuming the base even uses encryption. For users of the Growl system, you'll receive a message telling you about new open (no encryption) or closed (encrypted) base stations.
AirRadar Scanner View
When a network is found, you can also have the name spoken, have a sound played (one for open, one for closed) and even automatically connect to the best open network. To keep things fresh, networks that haven't been seen for a while will be removed from the list, but such "dead" network can be retained in the list if you choose.
AirRadar Graph View
For detailed analysis, you can switch to a Graph view, which will shows the Noise and Signal Strength values for a specific base station. You can also filter out certain networks, and even write the list of networks to a file for future analysis.
So if you want to learn as much about the wireless networks in your area as possible, be sure to check out AirRadar today! Have any other Gadgets that let you know what's happening in the world around you? Send John an email and he'll give it a try.
John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line!
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