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