Wireless Terms in inSSIDer
The Networks Table in inSSIDer displays nearby access points. When you open inSSIDer, it will have all networks selected by default. Check and uncheck the boxes on the left to select the networks you are interested in. Access Points with checked boxes will be drawn in the Time Graph below.
Selecting a row will bold the Access Point’s corresponding line in the Time Graph below.
The Networks Table shows RSSI, Security, Channel, Hardware Vendor, Max Rate, Network Type, and MAC Address.
Each column in the table can be reordered by dragging its header to the desired position.
The table can also be resorted by clicking the header of any column.
Table Data Columns Explained
SSID – Abbreviation of “Service Set Identifier”, which is the name an 802.11 wireless network uses to identify itself.
RSSI – Abbreviation of “Received Signal Strength Indication”, which is the amplitude level of the wireless network as seen by a computers’ wireless card.
Security – inSSIDer will list the following security settings: Open, WEP, WPA Personal, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Personal, WPA2-Enterprise, Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or Open (No Security). Learn more about wireless security.
Channel – Each wireless network operates on a specific Wi-Fi channel. Channels 1-14 are in the 2.4 GHz frequency range, while channels 36-165 are in the 5 GHz range. inSSIDer may display two numbers in the channel column, which indicates that a network is using “channel bonding”. Learn more about channel bonding.
Vendor – inSSIDer will display the hardware vendor of an Access Point, if available.
Max Rate – The maximum rate, or data throughput (displayed in Mbps) that each Access Point is capable of.
It does not indicate the data rate of your connection.
Network Type – There are two different types of networks which inSSIDer identifies. Infrastructure networks are access points which facilitate communication between clients. Ad-Hoc or independent networks are clients operating in a wireless network without an access point.
MAC Address – This is a unique identifier for a wireless network. In an infrastructure network, this will be the radio’s MAC Address. In an Ad-Hoc environment, this will be a pseudo-randomly generated MAC Address.
The Time Graph displays RSSI over time.
The vertical axis of the time graph shows RSSI in dBm (-20 is very strong, -100 is very weak). The horizontal axis of the time graph shows elapsed time. A consistently high RSSI line indicates a wireless network within a close proximity to the user.
To track multiple networks, simply check the box next to the network you wish to track above in the networks table. To identify a specific SSID, click a row in the networks table and it will highlight the associated Time Graph line.
The Channel View represents the wireless networks as they would appear in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz spectrum. Wireless networks can be 20 or 40 MHz wide and can overlap each other, reducing potential data throughput. To increase performance, move your wireless network to the least congested channel.
To toggle the bottom pane views, click on the buttons labeled “2.4 GHz Channels”, “5 GHz Channels”, or “Time Graph”. When the button is depressed, it appears darker, and the view will be displayed. All three views can be displayed at the same time, and at least one of the views must always be shown.
Click to select a wireless network in the Networks Table to highlight that selection in the views below. The selected network line will be bolded in all views for easy tracking. The type of line shown in the Channel View will indicate the type of encryption detected for a WLAN.
- Dotted Line = No Encryption
- Dashed Line = WEP Encryption
- Solid Line = WPA or WPA2 Encryption
The shapes used in the Channel View indicate the modulation type used by the WLAN.
- 20 MHz Curve = DSS, HR-DSSS (1, 2, 5.5 or 11Mbps)
- 20 MHz Flat Top = OFDM (6-65Mbps)
- 40 MHz Flat Top = HT OFDM 150-450Mbps)