Wi-Fi cAntenna Deluxe 10Former staff writer - December 9, 2003
As I said earlier in the Wi-Fi Crash Course, you will need a Wifi card that can connect to your cAntenna. Not all Wifi cards have an external antenna jack so when purchasing one, make sure it has one. I just grabbed a "Dell TrueMobile 1050" off eBay for $30 bucks, and it's been working fine. Setting up the cAntenna's was a piece of cake. All I had to do was insert my WiFi card in my laptop, and then connect the pigtail to the external antenna jack on the WiFi card. Lastly, I screwed the other end of the pigtail on the bottom of the cAntenna. It was easy as that.
There are many types of WiFi software and what you use will greatly depend on what your Wi-Fi purposes are. For security assessments and war driving, then I would recommend a free open source project called Kismet. Kismet is a wireless network sniffer that separates and identifies different wireless networks in the proximity. I have found that Kismet is the most advance wireless assessment tool that is available. It is capable of channel hopping, decloaking hidden SSID's, graphical mapping with a GPS, identification of equipment (Manufacture information of the AP), multiplexing of multiple capture sources, and much more.
I tested Kismet out around my Access Point to see how well it worked. Kismet was able to capture packets on my network in real time and I could even set Kismet up to only grab readable text only. This just goes to show how wireless can be insecure if not setup properly (even then so). When WEP was turned on my Access Point, Kismet could no longer grab readable text since the packets were being encrypted. However, the 128bit encryption algorithm is flawed on the 802.11b standard and allows some "weak" packets to leak. Kismet is able to grab these weak packets, and with enough of them you could run a separate program to crack the encryption password. This may obviously be way over your head and since it goes behind the scope of this review, it will not be discussed here.
A couple other wireless assessment tools include Airsnort and Netstumbler. Netstumbler works with Windows (and also works on Pocket PC :P) but is no were near advanced as Kismet. I also found that Netstumbler would not pick up my Access Point everywhere that Kismet could pick it up at, odd I know.
NoCatNet is a very interesting project that allows you to give other users access to you wireless, allowing you to setup your own ISP so to speak. NoCatNet is a centralized authentication system that does not trust any gateway or firewall and therefore it uses a more complicated authentication system. It also is intended to provide differing levels of service to classes of authenticated/unauthenticated users. Keep in mind that when you share your Internet via Wi-Fi you could be breaking the TOS with your ISP (Be sure to read the TOS before it's too late).
There are many other software programs that you can use in junction with a cAntenna. I recommend you search on SourceForge, Freshmeat, and ofcourse Google.