The AirPcap Product Family offers
a complete range of 802.11 WLAN packet capture solutions
for the Windows platform.
Welcome to the AirPcap family of WLAN packet capture
solutions. The AirPcap family is the first open, affordable
and easy-to-deploy packet capture solution for Windows.
All of the AirPcap offerings capture full 802.11 data,
management, and control frames that can be viewed in
Wireshark thereby providing in-depth protocol dissection
and analysis capabilities. Below we provide a feature
matrix that gives a high-level overview of the feature
sets of the adapters in the AirPcap Product Family.
More detailed information regarding each the member
of the AirPcap Product Family can be found on each member’s
AirPcap Product Family
How AirPcap Adapters Operate
All of the AirPcap adapters can operate in a completely
passive mode. In this mode, the AirPcap adapter will
capture all of the frames that are transferred on a
channel, not just frames that are addressed to it. This
includes data frames, control frames and management
frames. When more than one BSS shares the same channel,
the AirPcap adapter will capture the data, control,
and management frames from all of the BSSs that are
sharing the channel and that are within range of the
The AirPcap adapter captures the traffic on a single
channel at a time. The channel setting for the AirPcap
adapter can be changed using the AirPcap Control Panel,
or from the "Advanced Wireless Settings"
dialog in Wireshark. Depending on the capabilities of
your AirPcap adapter, it can be set to any valid 802.11
channel for packet capture.
The AirPcap software can optionally be configured to
decrypt WEP-encrypted frames. An arbitrary number of
keys can be configured in the driver at the same time,
so that the driver can decrypt the traffic of more than
one access point at the same time. WPA and WPA2 support
is handled by Wireshark.
Multiple Channel Capture (applies
to USB adapters only)
When listening on a single channel is not enough, multiple
AirPcap adapters can be used at the same time to capture
traffic simultaneously from different channels. The AirPcap
driver provides support for this operation through the
Multi-Channel Aggregator technology that
exports capture streams from multiple AirPcap adapters as
a single capture stream. The Multi-Channel Aggregator consists
of a virtual interface that can be used from Wireshark or
any other AirPcap-based application. Using this interface,
the application will receive the traffic from all installed
AirPcap adapters, as if it was coming from a single device.
The Multi-Channel Aggregator can be configured like any
real AirPcap device, and therefore can have its own decryption,
FCS checking, and packet filtering settings.