Publication Details

Li, Y., Barthelemy, J., Sun, S., Perez, P. & Moran, B. (2020). A Case Study of WiFi Sniffing Performance Evaluation. IEEE Access, 8 129224-129235.


Mobile devices regularly broadcast WiFi probe requests in order to discover available proximal WiFi access points for connection. A probe request, sent automatically in the active scanning mode, consisting of the MAC address of the device expresses an advertisement of its presence. A real-time wireless sniffing system is able to sense WiFi packets and analyse wireless traffic. This provides an opportunity to obtain insights into the interaction between the humans carrying the mobile devices and the environment. Susceptibility to loss of the wireless data transmission is an important limitation on this idea, and this is complicated by the lack of a standard specification for real deployment of WiFi sniffers. In this paper, we present an experimental analysis of sniffing performance under different wireless environments using off-the-shelf products. Our objective is to identify the possible factors including channel settings and access point configurations that affect sniffing behaviours and performances, thereby enabling the design of a protocol for a WiFi sniffing system under the optimal monitoring strategy in a real deployment. Our preliminary results show that four main factors affect the sniffing performance: the number of access points and their corresponding operating channels, the signal strength of the access point and the number of devices in the vicinity. In terms of a real field deployment, we propose assignment of one sniffing device to each specific sub-region based on the local access point sign


Link to publisher version (DOI)