Interpreting info from inSSIDer and Chanalyzer Pro
I've been using inSSIDer and Chanalyzer Pro, and have some questions about how to learn more about the APs based on what these two tools report.
* How can you tell which protocol an AP is running? I've been inferring it from Max Rate (e.g. 54 is 802.11g, since there is no 54 rate defined for 802.11n), but isn't there a better way?
* How can you tell which MCS an AP is sending? For example, Max Rate of 195 could mean MCS 22 (400ns GI) or MCS 23 (800ns GI). Looking up an AP's MCS based on Max Rate also seems to be the only way to infer the number of spatial streams.
* What type of device only has one supported rate of 1Mbps? I scanned something from routerboard.com that only had one rate, 1Mbps, and inSSIDer showed this device's channel coverage as a bell curve, rather than as a plateau like most APs.
* Someone told me that he could find an AP's transmit power using inSSIDer, but all I see is RSSI. As I understand it, RSSI is a relative value within a chipset, measured by a host's NIC card. Is there any information shown by in inSSIDer about an AP's transmit power?
(Sorry, I really should review a beacon frame format before asking all this...!)
I'm not sure why neither inSSIDer nor Chanalyzer reveals the modulation type. :-|
PassMark's WirelessMon (http://www.passmark.com/products/wirelessmonitor.htm) does, but it's not free.
For 'Network Type' it shows FH (Frequency Hopping, aka channel hopping) DS (Direct Sequence) HR/DSSS (High Rate/Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum) OFDM5 (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing 5GHz) OFDM24 (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing 2.4GHz)
or HT (High Throughput)
WiFi Locator (http://tcpmonitor.altervista.org/download/?did=7 ) claims to identify the modulation, but it gives unrecognized results on my Dell... e.g. it says "7" for my 40MHz-wide .11a/n network (plus misidentifies the channel as 197 when it's actually 157+161), and "ERP" for my .11g/n single-channel AP.
Nirsoft's WirelessNetView (http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/wireless_network_view.html ) tells the 802.11 type but not the modulation. Like most of their other network utils, it uses IEEE's oui.txt to identify the station's manufacturer according to the MAC address, but doesn't identify wide channels correctly (on mine it sees only channel 161).
The reported channels probably rely on what the driver[s] report, but inSSIDer does it OK, and I don't think for a second they're stealing secrets from anyone to make it work better than those other programs.
Anyway... those are the only utils I have on hand to check. Maybe someone else has better news for you. :-)