• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Sniffer Wireless (notebook)

Apr 24, 20032 mins
Cellular NetworksNetwork SecurityWi-Fi

* The Sniffer Wireless notebook has strong analysis capabilities but lacks dual mode support

Sniffer is the de facto standard when it comes to LAN protocol analyzers, so we couldn’t wait to see what Sniffer had up their sleeve in the area of wireless LAN analyzers.

The Sniffer Wireless notebook version has strong analysis capabilities, but was hobbled by the inability to analyze 802.11b and 802.11a concurrently. Instead of dual-mode card support, the only 802.11a card supported comes from Proxim – the Harmony 802.11a card.

It’s possible to use this otherwise stunning analyzer for one or the other WLAN standards, but not both at once. This is a significant limitation. Another limitation is that the newest operating system supported was Windows 2000 Professional.

As you might expect, given Sniffer’s long and distinguished history, Sniffer has outstanding network analysis by ISO/OSI layer, packet decode, highly refined triggers for alarms, and famous Sniffer Expert analysis available. But strong radio analysis features were missing. We could build filters that would let us analogize some of the features found on AirMagnet, OptiView and Network Instruments Observer.

The lack of strong radio analysis features relegates this product to post-installation analysis tasks that mimic analysis of wireline systems components. Sniffer features many packet decodes; communications analysis; and expert analysis of systems, object, applications and relationships.

Unfortunately, WLAN analysis is seemingly relegated as an attachment or graft to this famous Swiss Army Knife of analysis tools.

And don’t forget, we’re interested in your opinions. If you’ve played with a WLAN product and want to share what you learned with your peers, send your information along.

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