‘LinSSID’ is a Wi-Fi Network Scanner for Ubuntu

‘SSID’ or ‘Service Set Identifier’ is a unique name that is assigned to wireless local area networks for identifying them individually. The ‘SSID’ of each network has to be unique, otherwise the devices won’t be able to connect and communicate properly.

The built in network manager in Ubuntu has the ability to identify different wireless networks (say Wi-Fi networks for instance) and let you manually connect to the one you want with ease. However, finding data such as SSID, signal strength, MAC address, frequency etc of those networks is not that easy with it.

In those cases, your best solution is to find a Wi-Fi network scanner that runs in Ubuntu, such as ‘LinSSID’. It is a new tool and according to the developer it is designed to run in Ubuntu 12.04 plus, currently supports the 64-bit version only. However, I ran it in my Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit without any major issues (except that it crashed here and there),

Update (1/02/13): A recent update seems to have fixed this issue.

'LinSSID' running on Ubuntu 12.10

Once run (it needs ‘sudo’ privileges) it will scan the available Wi-Fi networks that are within your computer’s range and will show information such as:

*. SSID.

*. MAC address (of the device on the other end, of course).

*. Channel.

*. Protocol.

*. Cipher (if you have enabled encryption. Well you should!).

*. Signal strength.

*. Quality (another measurement of the ‘Signal strength’).

*. Speed (in Mbps -- measurement unit).

*. Noise (a measurement of how your Wi-Fi signal’s strength is affected by other frequencies).

*. Frequency and a few more.

You can also change between Wi-Fi devices (if you have more than one on your Ubuntu computer) and change the interval between automatic scanning too. Also, not all of these above information are enabled by default. So once run click on ‘View’ (from the main menu) and enable/disable the fields accordingly.

Data fields supported by 'LinSSID'

How to install it?

As mentioned above, please remember that this is designed to run in Ubuntu 12.04, does not support 32-bit versions (yet) and you might encounter bugs as it is still in beta. If interested, then first please go to this page and download the latest ‘.deb’ package.

Once the download completes, double click on it and follow the on screen details of Ubuntu Software Center to install it. It adds an icon automatically to the ‘Application Launcher’, or you can search for its name (‘linssid’) on ‘Dash’ for opening it as well.

8 thoughts on “‘LinSSID’ is a Wi-Fi Network Scanner for Ubuntu”

  1. Hi. I’m the author. I’d love to know the details of how it’s ‘crashing’. If ya don’t tell me I can’t fix it! At present the only circumstance I know of is when the “naptime” is set to zero so that your wifi driver is kept constantly scanning. Other requests for wifi I/O get backed up and some wifi card drivers seem to behave badly when that happens. I’ve tested it with four different manufacturers’ hardware and drivers. Some are OK, some not. Any details you can provide will be appreciated.

    Thanks!

    -Warren

    • Hi ‘Warren’,

      Well, the ‘naptime’ is set to ‘2’, the default setting. And when it crashes, the Ubuntu crash report says (among other things of course):

      *. Title

      LinSSID crashed with SIGBART in raise ()

      *. ProcStatus

      Stage: sleeping … and few other details.

      *. Signal

      6

      *. UnreportableReason

      You have some obsolute package versions installed. Please upgrade the following package and check if the problem still occurs:

      apt-utils, busybox-initramfs, coreutils, libapt-inst1.5, libcups2, libglib2.0-0, libglib2.0-data, libtiff5, libxml2, lib-base, mountall, perl-base

      Just for the record, the program just don’t crash and exit, instead, first it just seems to go into a sleep state and start not to function.

      Also, I haven’t updated Ubuntu (12.10 64-bit) in a while and just saw in the update manager that updates for some of the above packages are available. So I updated the system and ran ‘LinSSID’ for few times and it has not crashed after that.

      Not sure if it has really fixed the issue or not, but if it occurs, I’ll let you know. Hope this helps.

  2. Hi, Gayan,

    Thanks for the feedback. I poked into the crashing problem some more and found two things going on with wifi drivers. First, some of them report a MAC address and it’s particulars more than once each scan – and, often the first data reported is bogus. Which plays havoc with the pointers that keep track of each attach point’s history as indexed by the MAC. Second, some wifi drivers don’t take kindly to being overloaded with scan reqluests. They just go away and they don’t acknowledge what they’ve done or not done in any consistent way.

    So, I’ve addressed these proplems in version 1.6 which is now uploaded to both sourceforge.net and launchpad.net. I hope the crashing is now significantly reduced, if not eliminated. If you get a few minutes please try it and let me know.

    Thanks!

    Best regards,

    Warren

    • Hi Warren,

      I upgraded to the new version and ran it 4 times, with each time, running it minimized for about 5-6 minutes (while doing other stuff 🙂 ). And so far, it has not crashed once!. So yes, it seems to have fixed it for me. Nice work mate!.

  3. Thanks for your good work on linSSID 2.0 i386
    I would like it to run autoexecuted after startup and the wireless has engaged and sensed signals, with no need for password nor clicking the “Run” button.

    As suggestions, the ‘nap’ time (or interval?) and the bottom scale should be marked as ‘seconds?’; the signal strenght in microvolts, as there is nothing referenced for your zero dB ; the scale and the ‘Signal’ reading box is not marked as dB or dBm either, the ‘quality’ box heading could show ‘%’

    Seems that the program hiccups if started before the computer has activated/enabled/started the WiFi sensing, obvious.
    It failed when tried to move the graph to the ‘next screen’ with 12.04 and grub

    Does what it is supposed to very well.
    Thanks !

  4. Linssid crashes with a core dump a couple of seconds after pressing the play button. I’m running 12.04 Precise, 64-bit

  5. Hi Warren,

    At first LinSSID worked like a charm, but…… suddenly a couple of weeks ago it crashed after a few seconds without showing any data. I’m using Ubuntu 12.10. I recently updated and upgraded but this did not change the malfunctioning of LinSSID alas.
    Please help me out, ’cause i really liked LinSSID.

    Take care,

    yoepie

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