Why is Chanalyzer using my wireless card instead of Wi-Spy?
Why can't I select Wi-Spy in the WiFi menu in Chanalyzer?
Why can't I see SSIDs?
Chanalyzer pulls data from two sources. WiFi data is pulled from your wireless card/WiFi adapter, and spectrum analysis data is pulled from the Wi-Spy.
WiFi Data vs Spectrum Data
WiFi data (networks, signal strengths) is pulled from your WiFi adapter. Using your wireless card to collect wireless beacons allows us to collect a lot of information about your wireless environment from a WiFi perspective. We get to see:
- Signal Strengths
- Security types
- MAC addresses
- Max data rates
- AP vendors
- 802.11 Phy Types
Here are a couple of examples of data that can be pulled from a normal wireless card:
On the other hand, spectrum data is pulled from Wi-Spy 2.4x or DBx, which is a USB spectrum analyzer. Unlike a WiFi card, it can see all of the raw radio frequency activity around you (Layer 1 of the OSI model), which is very useful for avoiding busy channels, or interference.
Here is an example of spectrum data:
WiFi Data and Spectrum Data Together
When you put both WiFi and Spectrum Data together, something really special happens. You can compare what your wireless card is seeing (wireless networks) with what Wi-Spy is seeing (raw radio frequency activity). Now that you know where your wireless networks are, you can ensure that they aren't being affected by interference.