Monitoring a wireless access point
You can capture all wireless traffic with a wireless network card on a laptop or any system with a wireless network card if you use the VIAVI wireless driver. The default driver for your wireless card is not sufficient for Observer.
Standard network cards do not support “raw” wireless packets, nor do they enable “promiscuous” mode by default. Promiscuous mode captures all packets for the analyzer, not just those addressed to the network card. Both “raw” wireless packets and promiscuous mode are required by Observer. The VIAVI wireless driver enables these options.
When a network card is running in promiscuous mode, it cannot connect to a wireless access point. It can only capture traffic. If you are using a laptop and want to capture traffic and at the same time connect to a wireless access point, your laptop must have two wireless cards.
If you are using the probe software on your laptop, you need two network adapters. Typically, one adapter is an Ethernet card for communication and one wireless adapter for analysis. You could also use two wireless cards. You may also need special drivers.
If your wireless network uses an encryption key or specific wireless channels, you can specify that information for the wireless adapter.
Note: use private keys to authenticate with a RADIUS server, then dynamic keys are used to encrypt communication on a user by user basis, with no two users ending up with the same keys. Observer cannot decrypt the data from a site that implemented EAP/LEAP, but this does not mean Observer is not useful. Because all management and control packets are not encrypted, wireless troubleshooting is not affected even if you use EAP/LEAP. If you want to troubleshoot the actual data in the conversation, collect the data on the wired side where there is no encryption and all protocols can be decoded. Observer supports both wired topologies (i.e. Ethernet, Token Ring and FDDI) as well as wireless topologies to troubleshoot both sides of a conversation (wireless management+control AND full wired data) you only need one product.