⏛ THE TOOL "SHED" ⏛
A list of tools every Wi-Fi Craftsman (or, Craftsperson 😁) should have, or strive to, if they wanna play with the big boys. True "craftsmen" invest in their training, knowledge, and tools. The list is not comprehensive, but it's a start.
As with all the "rolls" I'll update regularly. If you have a tool you think would be good to add to the "Roll" please tweet me!
To see my EDC (Every Day Carry) look here.
[$] = < $100 US
[$$] = $100-$500 US
[$$$] = $500-$1,000 US
[$$$$] = > $1,000 US
Design , planning & survey tools.
Ekahau Site Survey My personal favorite survey and design tool, and the one my company has standardized on. Also, supports Spectrum Analysis using MetaGeeks Wi-Spy adapter, or super-cool Ekahau SideKick. SpecAn it stored right in the survey file so you can actually walk through a survey and see the spectrum. Very. Cool.
[$$$$] [Win] [Mac]
iBwave They've been around for a while, but only started making waves in the WiFi world in the past few years. Their bread and butter has been as a design tool for the cellular industry, so it was only natural for them to tackle the WiFi market. And they are no technical slouches. This is serious software with serious visuals like true 3D graphics. [$$$$$] [Win]
NetScout AirMagnet Popular, and widley used survey/design software. Unfortunately, it has not seen regular updates in several years. But, is still in use and supported. [$$$$] [Win]
NetScout AirCheck G2 Wi-Fi Test Tool Handheld tool that AutoTests quickly and provides a pass/fail assessment of wireless environment; identifies common problems - for any level of Wi-Fi expertise. The G2 is the all-new version that also has a built-in LinkSprinter, plus uploading results to your cloud account. Fantastic device that should be in every WLAN pros toolbag. [$$$$]
NetSpot is an "entry". level. survey. tool. It's most useful for getting signal strength and such, but it's not going to give you the detail of professional apps like Tamosoft, Ekahau, or AirMagnet. It also has a built-in wireless scanner. Over-all it has limited feature-set for basic Wi-Fi scanning and signal measurement. It has no design capabilities. You get what you pay for with this one. [FREE] [$$] [Mac] [Win]
Tamograph Site Survey A very cost-effective entry into professional surveying. Good support and gaining popularity more and more with WLAN pros. They also make some other great tools like CommView for WiFi packet analysis, and Throughput Test. [$$$] [Win] [Mac (Beta)]
VisiWave Site Survey I've personally never used VisiWave, but it's been around for a while, and trusted by many WLAN pros. [$$$$] [Win]
WiFi Survey app for iPad Though limited by Apple's API restrictions, this is a great app for surveying using the iPad. Also, very useful for documenting AP/survey locations using the iPad camera. This is not a replacement for a professional tool, but is great additional for survey, and installation validation. Recently upgraded to provide RSSI using Apple's Airport Utility app. [$$]
iPerf iPerf3 is a tool for active measurements of the maximum achievable bandwidth on IP networks. MUCH better than Internet speed tests that dob't give you accurate measurements of you networks throughout. [FREE] [Win/Mac/Linux]
iPerf Tool - iPerf from end, but for iOS. Server AND Client all in one tool! [$] [iOS]
iPerfUtil is a Mac only tool that's a simple front end for iPerf 3. [$] [Mac]
Tamosoft Throughput Test Utility for testing the performance of a wired or wireless network. It continuously sends TCP & UDP data streams across your network and computes metrics,like upstream/downstream throughput, packet loss, round-trip time, and displays the results in both numeric and chart formats. [FREE] [Win] [Mac] [iOS] [Android]
HE.NET Network Tools - Swiss Army Knife app for iOS includes ping, port scanner, traceroure, and iPerf client. [FREE] [iOS]
Spectrum analysis tools.
WiFi Explorer Pro by Adrian Granados The base functionality of this software is for scanning wireless networks. However, it has integrated with multiple Spectrum Analyzers like MetaGeek's Wy-Spy, and RF Explorer. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. [$$] [Mac]
Wireless analysis/packet capture.
Metageek Eye P.A. Wi-Fi specific packet analyzer. Shows your 802.11 frames in a graphical format for quick on the spot analysis. [$$] [Win]
NetScout AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer PRO A top dog when it comes to WLAN analysis. Streamlines analysis so you can find problems fast. Top notch, well respected application. [$$$$] [Win]
Savius Omnipeek Packet analysis, and troubleshooting for 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac wireless networks. Cream of the crop. [$$$] [Win]
TamoSoft CommView for Wi-Fi Affordable, professional wireless packet analysis. Excellent option with support for lots of inexpensive adapters for Windows. [$$] [Win]
WiFi Explorer by Adrian Granados Not really a "packet analyzer" per se, Adrian's app does decode beacons and show all the information you'll need in the Advanced View of his app. Also, it's integrated with Spectrum Analyzers like MetaGeeks Wy-Spy tool! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. [$$] [Mac]
Wireshark is a free, open-source packet analyzer used for network troubleshooting, analysis. The most famous packet analyzer of all time! Works out of the box with MacOS, requires substantial fiddling to get RF Monitor mode in Windows. Here's a post I did on affordable ways to do RF Monitor mode in Windows. Here's a post I did on my favorite Wireshark customizations.[FREE] [Win/Mac]
inSSIDer by Metageek [$$]
NetSpot [FREE] [$] [$$]
OS X Wireless Diagnostics [FREE]
WiFi Explorer by Adrian Granados [$$] (My personal favorite.)
Aruba Utilities [FREE] [Android] (Not just for Aruba. Has some good features.)
inSSIDer by Metageek [$] [Android]
WiFi Analyzer [FREE] [Android]
WiFI Scanner [FREE] [Android]
Connect-A-Desk: Mobile Laptop Harness & Desk A handy platform for your laptop while standing and walking around to perform a wireless site survey. Save you back, arms, and shoulders! Inexpensive, and nit designed specifically for WiFi surveys, but a decent inexpensive option. [$]
WLAN Pros Custom Survey Tray This fantastic tray was designed by @KeithRParsons and is specifically designed with WLAN professionals in mind. With room for a mouse, extra tools, cable ports, and 3 rows of Molle velcro - this is the tray the pros use. Trust me, the money you spend on this is money saved from doctor bills and the back & shoulder pain from carrying around a 3 pound laptop in your arms for hours at a time. Your back, arms, and shoulders will thank you! [$$]
Big Larry Magnetic 400 Lumen LED Worklight If you done enough surveys you'll know how invaluable a good flashlight. Walking in rooms, or areas with no, or little light is a part of the job. This flashlight is bright and also can hang off your belt, pack, or tray, to illuminate your way. [$]
Neewer 13feet/390cm Two Way Rotatable Aluminum Adjustable Tripod Decent, inexpensive stand for performing AP-On-A-Stick surveys (if that's your thing). Designed for DJ/Photography lighting, it's well-built, and can go up to 13 feet (about 4 meters) - which is higher than most stands I have found. [$]
RAVPower 23000mAh Portable Charger 4.5A DC Output External Battery Pack This battery pack comes with enough adapters to power your AP of choice via AC. No PoE on this one. I've used this all day to survey. [$]
TackLife Advanced Laser Measure Sometimes you need to get accurate of ceiling heights for you AP placement, or room measurements to ensure that you calibrate you floor plans for use in a planning/design/survey software. A laser distance meter is a good way too check distances & heights. You can find them at all different price points on Amazon, but this is the one I use. It's cheap AND good! (But, is it fast?🤔) [$]
Wi-Fi Stand This is one of the coolest tools to come out in a while. Simple, basic design, but solves a big problem, "how do I temporarily mount my AP for surveying"? The mount is designed to hold any AP that support ceiling mount brackets. Great for temporary event WiFi too. Invaluable. [$]
Miscellaneous survey tools.
Airtool is a system menu bar application that provides basic functions to check the state and channel configuration of the built-in Wi-Fi adapter, as well as to perform frame captures on single and multiple channels [MAC] [FREE]
Aruba Utilities Aruba Utilities includes a number of tools useful for characterizing and troubleshooting wireless LANs from Aruba Networks. Some tools work with any WLAN, others fetch data from Aruba’s controllers, Airwave management system and location engine. For [Android only] [FREE]
BUBM Universal Electronics Accessories Organizer For those who need a place for everything - this case holds you dongles, cables, and assorted accouterment. [$]
Fluke Linksprinter Handheld network tester to diagnose PoE, Link, DHCP, Gateway and Cloud connectivity. Sometimes the problems aren't wireless. [$$]
Google Earth We often get floor plans that have no calibrations on them so we use Google Earth to measure the longest straight line of the building and use that to calibrate our floor plans in our surveying software. Google Earth Pro is also now [FREE].
HubHolster @Robb_404 created and sells custom clips that are used to mount USB hubs, NICs, and other survey items to your laptop. And he 3D prints them himself! If you'd rather not Velcro stuff to your laptop this is the way to go. [$]
Wi-Fi Signal System menu bar application that provides easy access to your Wi-Fi connection details, monitors the signal quality of your wireless network [$] [Mac]
★ Totally biased endorsement.
Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display With an OS based on UNIX/BSD you have the tools right at the command line. Also, with full-access to the wireless NIC you can capture wireless traffic natively in monitor mode - no need for expensive external wireless NICs. Yes, I'm biased - so sue me! :-) $$$$
UPDATE: Currently I am avoiding the new MacBook Pros. Not a fan of the all-USB-C port thing, and there have been too many issues with the new keyboard. I am sticking with my 2015 15" retina MacBook Pro that I love. Just upgraded to a 1 Terabyte SSID. I will keep using this bad boy for the foreseeable future.