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How to capture wireless traces from a Macbook or MacAir

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TitleHow to capture wireless traces from a Macbook or MacAir
Objective
  • How to capture wireless traces from a Macbook or MacAir
  • Troubleshooting without a wireless sniffer

 
Environment
  • ExtremeWireless
  • Macbook
  • MacAir
  • Airtool
Procedure
For versions prior to El Capitan:
  1. Download and install Airtool
  2. Wireless Capture on the SSID the MacBook is currently attached to: Click wifi icon > click Capture 
                          User-added image
  3. Wireless Capture on a specific channel/width: Click wifi icon > click Capture Other 5 GHz
                          User-added image
  4. A popup will appear when the capture is started
  5. Replicate the issue or capture for the length of time needed
  6. Click Stop 
  • This will create a trace file that can be reviewed with Wireshark on the MacBooks desktop
El Capitan
  1. Press ALT key and click wifi icon 
  2. Click Open Wireless Diagnostics...
  3. Click Window > click Sniffer
  4. Chose Channel and Width
  5. Click Start 
  6. Replicate the issue or capture for the length of time needed
  7. Click Stop 
  •  This will create a trace file that can be reviewed with Wireshark on the MacBooks desktop. 
 

 

 
Additional notes
Using CloudShark with Airtool - https://youtu.be/n5NBVm1xVQ0

Confirm the MACBook you are using has similar hardware to the type the capture is taken on, for example using a MACBook that only supports 802.11n, will fail to capture all frames from an 802.11ac device (STA or AP.)

 

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