Today, there is no home, school, or office that can function without a high-speed WiFi network. From taking online classes to working in the office, every task that is related to the Internet requires a WiFi network. With the explosion of so many WiFi devices around us, it sometimes becomes hard to detect, manage, and maintain WiFi networks. 

Often users are likely to face many Wi-Fi-related issues, such as dropping out of WiFi signals, slow performance, or poor connectivity. Understanding and analyzing wireless networks can help resolve these issues. You can do WiFi scanning in order to analyze the details and working of wireless networks.

In this article, we will discuss what WiFi scanning is and how WiFi scanning tools work? Also, we will discuss some of the best WiFi scanning tools in Linux. 

Table of content:

What is WiFi Scanning? 

Wifi scanning is a process of scanning available wifi networks within the range of your computer or device. People use different scanning tools to get details about nearby wifi networks. Surrounded wifi networks possess a lot of information, including signal strength, channel, security configuration, capabilities of nearby networks, etc. A wifi scanner can help you detect this information. 

Benefits of WiFi Scanning Tools

WiFi scanning tools allow you to:

  • Locate available wifi networks within range of your computer or device
  • Identify details related to the available wifi networks
  • Install a wireless network
  • Optimize a wifi network
  • Identify rogue access points 
  • Enhance work efficiency

6 Best WiFi Scanning Tools 

While wifi scanning tools help you locate available wifi networks nearby, it can become challenging to find the best tools. Here, we will talk about the six best wifi scanning tools for Linux.  

LinSSID

LinSSID is an open-source WiFi analyzer that has an easy-to-use and graphical user interface. Maintaining its ideal performance, the LinSSID WiFi analyzer can scan both 2.4GHz and 5GHZ networks with an adjustable speed and real-time updates. Being written in C++ using Linux tools, it can even work on low-end systems. 

Key Features

  • It can detect nearby wifi networks and ad-hoc connections.
  • Simple and functional user interface.
  • It can show details of SSID names, MAC Id, Channel, Privacy, Cipher, Signal, Protocol, etc.
  • AP bandwidth is displayed.
  • Provide different information in sortable and movable columns.

nmcli 

nmcli is a command line tool that can scan available WiFi networks to quickly see their signal strength and channels. It can show you available wireless networks SSID, mode, channel, transfer rate, signal strength, bars, and security. It can also be used to create, display, edit, delete, activate, and deactivate network connections. Moreover, nmcli can control and display the network device status. 

Key Features

  • It can control NetworkManager without a graphical user interface. 
  • nmcli can help utilize NetworkManager instead of managing network connections manually.
  • It helps you watch changes in connectivity state, devices, or connection profiles by observing NetworkManager activity.  

Wavemon

Wavemon is a free wifi scanning tool available for all Linux distributions. Unlike LinSSID, it doesn’t have a graphical user interface. However, it can effectively display live signal, noise levels, packet statistics, device configuration, and network parameters of your wireless network hardware. You can use the command “:~$ sudo apt install wavemon” to install wavemon on Linux. 

Key features

  • A ncurses-based monitoring application for wireless network devices
  • Provides information about all the characteristics of a wifi network, including SSID, MAC address, received wireless signal, security, and authentication of the wireless network
  • Has a Text User Interface (TUI)
  • Easy operation and installation
  • Can support connection up to 5GHz band 
  • Flexible and easy to use

Kismet

Kismet is a free wireless network and device detector distributed with Kali Linux. It is one of the most used and up-to-date wifi monitoring tools. Moreover, it supports a variety of scanning plugins, including DECT, Bluetooth, etc. 

Key features

  • Can log all sniffed packets and save them in tcpdump/Wireshark or Airsnort compatible file format
  • Can capture “Per-Packet Information” headers.
  • It can also detect default or not configured networks, and determine what level of wireless encryption is used on a given access point.
  • Supports channel hopping to find as many nearby networks as possible 
  • Supports logging of the geographical coordinates of the network. 

sparrow-wifi

sparrow-wifi is another Graphical User Interface WiFi and Bluetooth analyzer written entirely in Python for Linux. sparrow-wifi integrates wifi, software-defined radio (hackrf), advanced Bluetooth tools (traditional and Ubertooth), traditional GPS (via GPS), and drone/rover GPS via mavlink in one solution. You can hunt multiple samples within a matter of a few seconds and use the telemetry windows to track a wifi source. 

Key features

  • It provides basic wifi SSID identification.
  • Suitable for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum. 
  • Can produce Google maps with available GPS for both discovered SSIDs / Bluetooth devices or plot the wifi telemetry over time.
  • Integration with Elasticsearch to feed wireless scan data into Elastic Common Schema compliant indices.

Kismon 

Kismon is a graphical user interface client for kismet and a wifi scanning tool for Linux. It consists of several other features. 

Key Features

  • It supports file import: netxml (kismet), csv (old kismet version), json (kismon).
  • It also supports file export: kmz (Google Earth) and all import formats
  • Shows a single graph for each network
  • It can connect to multiple kismet servers simultaneously.
  • Provides a live map of the networks

Final Words 

WiFi scanning tools help you locate nearby wireless networks and their details. While users may face many WiFi-related issues at some point, choosing the right WiFi scanning tool can help them address those issues. Scanning nearby wireless networks to check their signal strength, channel, security configuration,  and capabilities can help you select a better wireless network for yourself. 

In this article, we have discussed some of the best WiFi scanning tools in Linux that can scan for any information you may require. Selecting a proper wireless scanner depends entirely on your needs and requirements. Choose the WiFi Scanning tool that fits your needs and resolves wifi-related issues. 

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