Wifi Apps for Mac OS X (Snow) Leopard

Wifi Apps for Mac OS X (Snow) Leopard

AirPort_Utility_icon
I have a bunch of wifi applications and widgets installed on the mbp that I use mostly for work. While i only use 2-3 of them on a regular basis, I try to keep them all in my Apps folder since they also come in handy at times, depending on their capability. After upgrading to Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), most of them have stopped working due to compatibility issues.

The purpose of this post is to list these apps that are known to be working on Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), so I can check from time to time if a 10.6 version (Snow Leopard) have been released.

CoconutWifi

cocowifi

coconutWiFi displays you a small aqua-bubble at the top of your screen which indicates whether you’re in range of a wireless network or not. The app also tells you if the wireless networks in your range are encrypted or open, so you won’t miss the next open wireless network any more.

This is a simple and easy wifi indicator that sits comfortably on the top of the screen, with 3 color indicating the status:
Green – unencrypted network availabe
Red – no network available
Orange – encrypted network

Version 2 works for Leopard. Download from HERE.

Update: Version 3.0 Beta 1 is working on 10.6.1.

AP Grapher

apgrapher1apgrapher2

AP Grapher is a freeware program for Mac OS X which searches for and displays nearby wireless (AirPort/WiFi) access points along with information about their percent availability, maximum signal strength, and last contact time. The grapher window allows you to graph multiple signal strength parameters for the base station you are currently connected to and optionally display them in the dock icon.

This is yet another good tool, with features comparable to AirRadar (see below). It was last updated in 2007, so I’m not sure if a 10.6 version will be available soon. Download HERE.

AirRadar

airradar

AirRadar allows you to scan for open networks and tag them as favourites or filter them out. View detailed network information, graph network signal strength, and automatically join the best open network in range.

I was very fond of this application, back when it was free. It can do any of the ff. features using active scanning:

* Automatically scan on launch
* Play sounds after scanning, or for new networks
* Remember scan history
* Ad-hoc network scanning
* Adjust scan interval
* Set a maximum retention for out of scope networks
* Speak new network names
* Auto-join open networks with a good signal
* GROWL support
* Mark favourite networks
* Filter out networks
* Colorize networks based on status and type
* Graph network noise and signal strength
* Comment on networks
* Export network lists
* Join both open and closed networks
* Disconnect from a network without turning off AirPort

If you have $19.99 to spare, i think this application is worth it. It works on Snow. Download AirRadar v.1.2.3 HERE.

iStumbler

istumbleristumbler2

iStumbler is the leading wireless discovery tool for Mac OS X, providing plugins for finding AirPort networks, Bluetooth devices, and Bonjour services with your Mac.

iStumbler is a port of the Windows utility called netStumbler. What I love about this app is it comes with a widget. Check it here.
As of Release 98, it doesn’t work on Snow. Currently, Release 99 Beta 5 is in beta testing. Follow @istumbler for details.

Kismac

kismac

KisMAC is an open-source and free sniffer/scanner application for Mac OS X. It has an advantage over MacStumbler / iStumbler / NetStumbler in that it uses monitor mode and passive scanning

Compatibility (taken from website):

  • Snow Leopard users:
    • Please use the latest binary build (Kismac 0.2.99). USB devices continue to work as always.
    • Currently, users with a USB Intersil/Prism2 device will need to use: r279 for injection support.
    • AirPort Extreme users, you are mostly out of luck. Apple changed their drivers yet again and mostly removed the AirPort API. Please buy a supported USB device and complain to Apple.
  • Leopard users:
    • Please use the latest binary build, linked above.
    • Currently, users with a USB Intersil/Prism2 device will need to use: r279 for injection support.

Kismac is special. Unlike all of the above, it is a passive scanning tool. When I installed it for 10.5 a year ago, it won’t work. I managed to make it work from source. (I already forgot how to do it though..) Although the site says 0.2.99 works on Snow, it still won’t work for me. Investigating further…

Wifi Scanner

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WiFi Scanner is a free 802.11 wireless scanner and connection manager for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard or later. It leverages the the newest CoreWLAN API in Snow Leopard. This will detect access points and clients in ad-hoc mode if the SSID is being broadcasted. It can be used for wireless site surveys, wireless discovery, and to connect to wifi networks. The tool reports signal strength in dBm and shows access point BSSID/MAC addresses.

Now this is a new found treasure. Works breezy on Snow. Download HERE.

Airport Utility

I didn’t know about this before, thanks to this post from WLANBook. Basically, it uses the built-in airport utility to scan for network.

ln -s /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport /usr/sbin/airport

airport -I provides information about the current wireless connection.

airport -s performs a wireless broadcast scan of nearby wireless devices
Others/Widgets:

  1. Wireless Grapher – updated to v0.6 to work on Snow.
  2. Airport Radar
  • Hi, all the above desribed procedures an NOT necessary!

    You can use the “alt””command” keys while you are toggeling the airport symbol in your contextual menu.

    It will show to you all available data from the active network

    PLUS

    it will show you the same information for every network in range if you hover over that network in the very same airport symbol contextual menu item.

    enjoy the improvement and never need any stumbler stuff again, albeit they are usefull if they work

    WARNING!

    Some stumblers like AP Grapher are “CAUSING” a drop in connection quality. Somehow that software interacts with the router and/or software wise in a manner that spoils the connection.

    • nice tip with the alt key.
      didn’t know that

  • Marco Scala

    Very nice page and good hints! Thanks a lot! I’ll bookmark it in my http://mac4itprofs.blogspot.com blog too.

  • Jean

    Thank you for the information.

    There is a new V0.3 for kismac and it seems to work on snow leopard 10.6.2

  • Thanks for the review….WiFi Scanner v1.1 available for download. Many new features including mapping access points.

    http://www.wlanbook.com/wifi-scanner-v1.1-mac-os-x-snow-leopard/

  • urg urg

    thanks a lot! I was searching for an iwlist-alternative, a command-line tool to scan wifi-evironment, and i found it here: airport has all i need! super thread, thanks again.

  • It was extremely interesting for me to read the article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

    Avril Smith

  • Update: iStumbler 100 beta seems to work just nice on Snow (10.6.8)

  • dablo

    any of this can be hotspot? i want my mac can be wifi hotspot without using airport extreme. thanks in advanced

  • Messaeh31

    hi,could you help me to find program to detect strong signal wifi to my laptop

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