Wireless Network Analysis for 802.11ac

802.11ac - Wireless Gigabit Speeds Driving Changes in Wireless Analysis

Traditional wireless LAN analysis relied on USB adapters being used as receivers to capture wireless packets for analysis. With 11ac, these days are long gone. USB is just not capable of moving data at the rates possible with 11ac. A new method for capturing data for analysis is required.

New Techniques for Capturing data at 802.11ac Speeds

In order to effectively and efficiently capture and analyze 802.11ac traffic for analysis, WildPackets recommends using access points (APs). Using APs as packet capture devices is hugely beneficial because the APs are already part of the network and are typically specified to handle the most capable clients that will connect to your WLAN – guaranteeing that you’ll have the capacity to capture whatever traffic is on your WLAN.

Analysis can be performed by either connecting an AP directly to a laptop running OmniPeek via the Ethernet port, or by collecting data remotely from APs that are deployed as part of the WLAN. For either approach, OmniPeek supports two different, but similar, connection methods. The first is using remote PCAP (RPCAP) and the second is using custom remote adapters.

Data capture from locally-attached or remote APs

  • Only practical solution for capturing gigabit speed 802.11ac traffic
  • Complete visibility from your desktop
  • Capable of analyzing ALL supported WLAN traffic
  • Scalable solution
  • Cost effective – leverages existing infrastructure
  • Single view into multiple access points
Remote data capture from commercial enterprise APs

Custom Remote Adapters

  • Allow an AP to be put into promiscuous mode and act like a direct-connected sniffing device
  • Allow the full capabilities of the AP to be leveraged
  • APs are “reconfigured” via the AP controller software
  • Depending on the manufacturer and the model, APs may or may not be able to continue sending traffic
Custom Remote Adapters

Remote Pcap

  • An industry standard that allows interaction with a remote device to capture packets
  • Widely available in enterprise-grade APs –makes 802.11ac capture capability easy
  • Simply start a capture on the analyzer and point it to the available RPcap interfaces
  • Typically not a “marketed feature” by AP manufacturers
Remote Pcap

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