Best Free Wi-Fi Tools

One of the best wi-fi tools you have on your Windows based computer is netsh.   Netsh can be used to find out information about wi-fi.

Open a command prompt and you can use these tools…

netsh wlan show networks

Netsh One

netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid

Netsh Two

inSSIDer

- Uses your current wireless card and connection software
– Works with Windows XP, Vista and 7 (32 and 64 bit)
– Compatible with most GPS devices
– Track the strength of received signals in dBm over time
– Sort by MAC address, SSID, Channel, RSSI, and Time
– Export Wi-Fi and GPS data to a KML file in Google Earth

Inssider

Vistumbler  (GPS Capable)

  • Find Wireless access points
  • GPS Support
  • Export/Import access points from Vistumbler TXT/VS1/VSZ or Netstumbler TXT/Text NS1
  • Export access point GPS locations to a google earth kml file or GPX(GPS eXchange format)
  • Live Google Earth Tracking – Auto KML automatically shows access points in google earth.
  • Speaks Signal Strength using sound files, windows sound api, or MIDI

Vistumbler

NetSurveyor

  •  6 graphical, diagnostic views:
    *Timecourse of Beacon Qualities For Each Access Point
    * Differential Display of Beacon Qualities for Each Access Point
    * Usage of Each of the 802.11 Channels
    * Timecourse of the Usage of Each of the Channels
    * Heatmap / Waterfall Chart of the 802.11 Channels
    * Channel Spectrogram of the 802.11 Channels. The more (and different) ways you have at looking at data then the greater the chance something will catch your eye that you might otherwise miss if only a single type of chart were used.
  • Generates reports in Adobe PDF format
  • Powerful and innovative logging and recording capability.NetSurveyor’s playback mode is unique in that it shows you all the recorded data

NetSurveyor

Xirrus

  • Find Wi-Fi networks
  • Managing and troubleshooting Wi-Fi connections
  • Verifying Wi-Fi coverage
  • Locating Wi-Fi devices
  • Detecting rogue APs

Xirrus

What GPS have we used successfully and easily installs in Windows for the GPS Wi-Fi finders above?  The Microsoft GPS Receiver.   The receiver is small, light weight and installs easily.

Microsoft
Our class uses a scientific method of studying wireless and security.  With hands-on during every term (not in a closed lab like a majority of higher-ed institutions), the classes we teach really enjoy the study of wireless and analyzing signals.   During a recent study we found over 380 access points of which 50% were unsecure.

WiGLE has a global map drawn up by wardrivers.   Viewing the maps is scary – really, really scary.  These online GPS maps show secured and unsecured networks.

How to secure your access point- Linksys Belkin Netgear 2wire DLink

Attaching to unknown networks that are unsecured and not public is both dangerous and illegal.   Actually connecting to wireless  hotspots can be dangerous (See our article on attaching to HotSpots).   You should always use a vpn when connecting to a hotspot.   There are now applications that allow laptops, netbooks and droids to be setup as hotspots.  With packet capturing software, your data can be intercepted if you don’t use a vpn.

Improving your wireless signal is actually is easy.  For as little as $40, you can gain (from 30mw) to 1000mw or even 2000mw with the Alpha Antenna.  With a standard laptop, we see approximately eight access points.  With the Alpha we see approximately 14, and with a large antenna we were able to see 44 access points.

So what if you get a larger antenna?  There is a balance of antenna type vs. antenna gain.  A larger antenna can be better,  if it is not too large.


Decibels in relation to power gain:

20 dB is an increase of 100X in power
10 dB is an increase of 10X in power
6 dB is an increase of 4X in power
3 dB is an increase of 2X in power
2 dB is an increase of 1.6X in power
1 dB is an increase of 1.25X in power
0 dB is no increase or decrease in power

Decibels/dB, how to understand their relationship to power loss:

1 dB loss: 80% of power remains.
2 dB loss: 63% of power remains.
3 dB loss: 50% of power remains.
6 dB loss: 25% of power remains.
9 dB loss: 12.5% of power remains.
10 dB loss: 10% of power remains.
12 dB loss: 6.25% of power remains.
20 dB loss: 1 percent of power remains.
(Therefore professional wireless cards have to be used for larger antennas)

(Calculators)

If you add an antenna (yagi, omnidirectional) and need to add cable, make sure the total attenuation or loss is no more than about 3 db at 2.4 GHz or you could lose half of your total transmit power before it even reaches the antenna.

Specs on the Alfa Antenna ~

* Compatible with IEEE 802.11n, 802.11b/g/n wireless standards
* 2.4GHz frequency band, MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output)
* Complies with Universal Serial Bus Rev. 2.0 specifications
* High speed transfer TX data rate up to 150 Mbps
* Supports WPS by S/W
* Supports wireless data encryption with 64/128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2, TKIP, AES
* Wide Range coverage
* Compliant with FCC Part 15.247 for US, ETS 300 328 for Europe
* Works with Windows 2000, XP 32/64, Vista 32/64, Windows 7 32/64.

Specifications:

- IEEE 802.11b/g/n standard
– USB 2.0 standard
– Up to 150Mbps for 802.11n connections
– Frequency Range: 2.412~2.483 GHz
– Receive sensitivity 11b: -92dBm, 11g: -76dBm, 11n: -73dBm@HT20, -70dBm@HT40

Want to further analyze signals? Use a Spectrum Analyzer ($40+).

If you are looking for an economical solution the 2.4 Ghz Spectrum Analyzer by  Ubiquiti  is an excellent buy and is around $40+ – with an external antenna (AirView software is free)  My recent purchase for our class (personal purchase) is an excellent production and teaching tool.

A Spectrum Analyzer normally cost several hundred dollars.  This solution is an excellent solution for viewing the distribution of RF energy in the 2.4GHz band.   By viewing the analyzer, you can determine which channel has the least interference and select an appropriate channel for maximum performance.

See How it works- Link

Product Information

You must purchase the hardware in order to use the software.

Excellent Product for the money.

Updates and HotFixes you may miss in Windows

Microsoft Windows has a great update feature built in.  You may not know it but Microsoft also releases HotFixes and other items that are needed for security, networking, features and other functionality.

How do you find Hotfixes and other items that may need to be downloaded?   You can use a third party utility such as WHDownloader.  (Download here)

WHDownloader is easy to use and brings in both Microsoft Office Products and the latest Windows OS.

Download

Updated List

 

Going to take a certification that involves binary?

Going to take a certification that involves binary?

Here’s a quick tutorial~

Let’s say you are given an IP address of 192.168.1.135 in an answer.

What is this number in binary?

Here’s what you do.

Take a simple key to convert the numbers in the octets into binary.
The key is this:

128   64   32   16   8   4   2  1

Now let’s take the first octet of 192 and let’s see how many times the numbers above (the key) go into the given octet.

How many times does 128 go into 192?     192 – 128        1 time
This will leave us 64.
Next, how many times will 64 (your remaining number) go into the next number in the key(64)?

64 -64       1 time

Now the remaining number is 0.   So if you subtract 32 from 0 the number will be 0.  16 from 0 is 0, 8 from 0 is 0, 4 from 0 is 0, 2 from 0 is 0 and finally 1 from 0 is 0.

Look at your answers. 11000000 -This will represent 192.

Now let’s do the 168 octet.

128 goes into 168 – 1 time.   The remaining number is 40.   64 goes into 40 – 0 times.    32 goes into 40 – 1 time.  This gives you a remainder of 8.   16 (the next number in the key) goes into 8 how many times? 0 . 8 goes into 8 – 1 time.  The remainder is now 0.    4 goes into 0 – 0 times.   2 goes into 0 – 0 times.  1 goes into 0 – 0 times.   Look at your answers (bold).

168 will be 1010100

Of course the next number (third octect) which is 1 will be 00000001.

If you use the above key for 132, along with the subtraction method, 132 will be 10000100.

Your final answer is 11000000.1010100.00000001.10000100

 

Try a these yourself using the subtraction method above -

192.168.1.32
192.168.1.111

 

Flip over and see the answers

11110110˙10000000˙00010101˙00000011
01100100˙10000000˙00010101˙00000011
:ɹǝʍsuɐ

See who’s on your wireless network – SoftPerfect WiFi Guard

Want to see who is on your wireless?  SoftPerfect’s  WiFi Guard is freeware that scans your network, both wireless and wired and it also inventories connections on your network.

Before setting up WiFi Guard, inventory your computers, printers, routers, TVs and other devices that use your network.  Get each devices’ MAC address.  Load WiFi Guard and mark each device as trusted.  WiFi Guard’s settings allows you to set a scan interval and to put comments on devices that you know.  In the event a new device is connected to your network, you’ll be alerted.

taskbar

Scanned

Set a scan interval that meets your needs.Settings 

WiFi Guard keeps a history of devices that connect to your network.History

SoftPerfect WiFi Guard

The Ultimate Toolkit for IT Professionals – GE Geek Toolkit

I discovered GE Geek through Rick at What’s On My PC.  GE Geek is a resource like no other.  The time and dedication to linking and uploading the thousands of resources at GE Geek is commendable.

The best feature by far is GE Geek’s Toolkit that contains 1.7 gigabytes of tools that every IT pro needs.

“A complete collection of over 300 Portable Freeware Tech Related
programs, all accessible from one Menu Launcher Utility. There’s
even a program to update all the essential programs automatically,
all contained on a USB/Flash drive for travel.” ~GE Geek

Here’s a short list of the categories -

Apps to Install
App Updates
App Uninstallers
BackUps
Benchmarking
Compression
Configurations
Diagnostics
Drivers
FTP Tools
Internet
Maintenance
Malware Removal
Multimedia
Network Tools
Recovery
Remote Tools
Repair Tools 1
Repair Tools 2
Scripts
Search
Security
System Information
System Tools
Tweaking Tools
Windows Services Defaults
Windows 7 Tools
Windows 7 Troubleshooting
Windows 7 / 8 Shortcuts
Dozens more
getoolkit 

 

Here’s a Snapshot of his Site. You have to visit the site to get an understanding of how this has to be one of the best sites on the web for IT Professionals.   Link

SnapShot

OPSWAT Gears – Manage your devices’ security remotely

Have mobile devices, servers and need to monitor these devices remotely?  OPSWAT Gears allows you to monitor your computers remotely – update antivirus software, discover compromised devices, manage threats and more.

150 FREE Microsoft eBooks – largest collection ever

150 FREE Microsoft eBooks – largest collection ever

Thanks to Jonathan for remembering to email me the latest Microsoft Blog link about free ebooks.

EBoooks link

Given the amount my readers enjoy these posts and these free resources, I am sharing another post this year with over 130 more FREE eBooks, Step-By-Steps, Resource Guides, etc., for your enjoyment. Plus I’m also including links to the free eBooks I shared in the past so you have all of them here in one single post, making this my single largest collection EVER (Almost 300 total)! Please enjoy these FREE eBooks and resources, and be sure to pass this along to your friends, colleagues, peers, and others who you think would benefit from and enjoy them. After all, wouldn’t it be fun if we could surpass the 1,000,000 download mark within just one week again? ~Eric Ligman, Microsoft