Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector

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Description

Modern network and Internet access is often established with wireless protocols such as IEEE 802.11 also known as Wi-Fi. However, such media also means that there is a greater chance of snooping and intrusion attacks on the networks as the signal is broadcasted over a region. Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector is rich utility to check for such rogue connections and monitor Wi-Fi activity when required.

Features

Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector has a rich and fluid interface where the information is neatly gathered in tabs which are arranged in a simple order. The connected devices and connection details (such as authentication mode, frequency, wireless mode, vendor name, and software version) are shown as alternately colored table entries. The bottom features a line graph which shows signal strength of the selected network. The connections details can be seen on top upon selection. The top menu is an Office style ribbon menu with options grouped into categories. The centre left features an interactive and updating radar view of all access points with respect to your adapter and their proximity to it. The software runs in the background and performs a real-time check of the incoming and outgoing connections whereby the network information can be exported in CSV format for other uses. It provides information regarding signal strength, connection quality and security and provides information for optimizing Wi-Fi speeds. There is provision for running online tests for speedsand quality. It also has security features such as identification of rogue Access Points. Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector has an extremely simple installer and is capable of running on Windows XP, Vista and 7 as well. Backward compatibility in Windows 8 should also ensure that it runs on Windows 8 and later versions.

Comparison

There are plenty of tools available for Wi-Fi scanning on the Windows platform. inSSIDer is commercial tool that performs almost an identical job with further information such as channel recommendations, ESSID, powerful filtering and 802.11ac support. This makes it more feature rich than Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector but the interface is too Spartan. Network Stumbler is a free alternative to detect WLANs but only supports 802.11 a/b/g without n/ac support and thus cannot scan for high-speed or ad-hoc connections. Vistumbler is an open-source offering on Windows which is exclusively available for Windows Vista and 7 and has no support for Windows XP. Kismet is a free cross-platform offering that is not only a detector but is also a packet sniffer and thus can arguably do much more than just monitor connections.

Conclusion

Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector is a simple to use tool for Wi-Fi monitoring and identification of rogue access points for security. The interface is rich with detailed information which can also be imported in CSV. Apart from this, active scans for speed and quality will help to identify problems and optimize Wi-Fi utilization.

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