- Scan the local WiFi environment with rapid search and filtering
- Identify coverage and performance issues
- Detect rogue APs, including hidden SSIDs
- Perform basic site surveys
- Tune AP placement and channel selection
- Runs in most web browsers, with no software to download and install
- Runs offline when not connected to the Internet
- Native mobile version available in the Android Market
Operating Systems: Windows XP, Vista, 7, Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) or later
Browsers: Firefox 3.5 and 3.6, Safari 4, Internet Explorer 7 and 8, Google Chrome (Windows only)
The WiFi Stumbler console is laid out in five sections.
- SSID-Channel distribution graph
- Search field
- Network list
- Make-A-Wish box
- Learn more about Cisco Meraki
SSID-Channel distribution graph – This graph shows how many visible SSIDs are being broadcast in each channel of the 2.4Ghz and 5GHz wireless spectrums. This information can help you plan your channel selection to utilize channels that are most clear of interference.
Search field – Search for open networks, specific manufacturers of access points, a particular SSID or MAC address or any other string in the scan results using this field. You can also use standard Google search syntax. Click on “Advanced search” to expose a variety of filters to easily customize your displayed results.
Network list – This section lists useful information about the wireless networks that are visible to WiFi Stumbler. You can sort the list by any column by clicking on the header for that column.
Description of information presented in each column in the Network list:
- SSID – Name of SSID. Hidden SSIDs will appear as blank (all other columns will be filled in)
- MAC Address (BSSID) – Hardware address of access point
- Radio Type – Wireless protocol of network (802.11b/g, 802.11a or 802.11n)
- Channel – Wireless channel that the network is operating on
- Signal Strength (dB) – Signal level of network in RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication). Since RSSI outputs from different client cards can vary, these signals are best used as a relative measure of signal strength when comparing networks
- Manufacturer – Name of manufacturer of access point
- Security – Wireless security protocol in use (or Open if none)
- Last Seen – Last time a response or beacon from this network was received
Make-A-Wish box – Suggestions for improving WiFi Stumbler? Ideas for new features that you’d like to see? Think you’ve found a bug? Let us know using the Make-A-Wish box.
Learn more about Cisco Meraki – Interested in learning more about the industry’s first cloud-managed wireless LAN? Click here to learn more about this breakthrough enterprise solution.
- What is the WiFi Stumbler?
- Can I use WiFI Stumbler when I am not connected to the Internet?
- How does the WiFi Stumbler work?
- Why is Stumbler a web-based tool instead of standalone, downloadable software?
- The WiFi Stumbler doesn't load on my computer/in my browser. Why not?
- I am getting an error message telling me that my browser doesn't support Java, but it does. Why isn't it working?
- Why does the bar graph at the top of the screen appear blank?
- Why do some networks appear in gray and others are in dark gray?
- Why don't all of my network broadcast SSIDs appear in the Network List?
- What does "Hidden" mean under BSSID name?
- Why does the same SSID appear twice with different MAC addresses?
Q: What is the WiFi Stumbler?
A: The WiFi Stumbler is a browser-based wireless scanner tool that detects 802.11 wireless networks and displays useful information about the networks in an easily searchable, intuitive web interface. WiFi Stumbler can be used to optimize wireless network coverage, troubleshoot performance issues, detect rogue APs and perform basic pre-deployment site surveys.
Q: Can I use WiFI Stumbler when I am not connected to the Internet?
A: If your browser supports offline mode (currently only Firefox), then it can load WiFi Stumbler from its offline cache. This means that WiFi Stumbler will work in these browsers even when you are not connected to the Internet, as long as your wireless card is enabled. Simply visit the Stumbler page using Firefox once you are connected to the Internet. The site will ask for permission to use offline storage. Grant this permission, bookmark the page and you can revisit whenever you need to use WiFi Stumbler.
Q: How does the WiFi Stumbler work?
A: WiFi Stumbler captures data about nearby wireless networks from your computer's wireless card and displays it as a web page. It can even work when you are not connected to the Internet if your browser supports offline mode (currently Firefox only).
Q: Why is Stumbler a web-based tool instead of standalone, downloadable software?
A: By running in a browser, there is no need to download software to your computer. This makes it very easy to load and use since no software installation is required. It also can run on either a PC or Mac, unlike most downloadable software applications. In addition, as we will be continually adding new features to Stumbler, you will automatically get the latest version of the tool each time you reload the page.
Q: The WiFi Stumbler doesn't load on my computer/in my browser. Why not?
A: WiFi Stumbler requires Java support and does not currently support Linux. If your browser does not support Java or you are running Linux and you try to load WiFi Stumbler, you will receive an error message in your browser window. Currently, Google Chrome for Mac does not support Java so it will not run WiFi Stumbler. WiFi Stumbler is also currently a beta stage tool; if you encounter other problems getting Stumbler to load, please let us know using the Make a Wish box at the bottom of the page.
Q: I am getting an error message telling me that my browser doesn't support Java, but it does. Why isn't it working?
A: In order for WiFi Stumbler to load properly, you must be using a browser that supports Java, have the necessary plug-ins installed, have enabled Java and might need to install the latest version of Java (depending on your browser).
You can check to see if Java is working properly by going to http://www.realapplets.com/tutorial/HelloWorld.html. If you see the "Hey hey Hello world" applet inline in the middle of the page, then Java is installed and enabled in your browser. If you do not see it, then check to make sure that you have the Java plug-in installed. If the plug-in is installed and the page will not load, then there are a few other items to check.
For Firefox (recommended for support of offline mode):
If you are running Firefox 3.5.7 and earlier, check under Tools, Options, Content (Windows) or Preferences, Content (Mac OS X). Make sure that the checkbox "Enable Java" is checked.
If you are running Firefox 3.6, you will need to make sure that you have Java version 6 Update 10 or newer in order for WiFi Stumbler (or any other Java-based application) to run. You can get the latest version of Java at java.com.
Q: Why does the bar graph at the top of the screen appear blank?
A: If you are viewing WiFi Stumbler in IE8, make sure that Compatibility Mode is turned on (under Tools). This should allow the graph to render properly.
Q: Why do some networks appear in gray and others are in dark gray?
A: Networks appearing in light gray were not detected in the latest scan but were detected recently. The last time a network was detected by Stumbler will appear under the "Last Seen" column. If an access point stops broadcasting its SSID (eg. it was unplugged) or local RF interference or environmental obstructions prevent broadcast beacons from reaching your client then the network might "disappear" for a few seconds, in which case it would turn light gray until it is picked up in another scan.
Q: Why don't all of my network broadcast SSIDs appear in the Network List?
A: If an SSID is broadcasting in 5 GHz only and the wireless card in the client on which you are running Stumbler on does not support 5 GHz then the SSID will not appear in the Network List.
A: If a network owner has disabled SSID broadcasting on their network, then the SSID is now "hidden". What that means is that the SSID name is no longer included in the the periodic broadcast beacons from the access point that alert local clients to the network. This is sometimes done as a security measure, as only clients that know the name of the network (or who use "sniffer" software programs) can associate to the network.
Q: Why does the same SSID appear twice with different MAC addresses?
A: If there are multiple access points in a network all broadcasting the same SSID, each AP will appear individually in WiFi Stumbler showing the same SSID. Also, if an access point contains multiple radios that are broadcasting the same SSID, each radio will appear individually in the WiFi Stumbler network list.