Sunday, 03 April 2011 17:09

Review: Colasoft Capsa 7 WiFI

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WiFi traffic is, by nature, more ethereal than its wired equivalent. Specialised tools are necessary to diagnose wireless network faults, and Colasoft has extended its excellent Capsa line with a new product to sniff and analyse your WiFi network.

As with other tools in Colasoft's range, Capsa WiFi is a packet sniffer which stands out from the competition by its superb user interface. There are no cryptic or arcane command lines to worry about.

Instead, Windows-basd network administrators can interrogate and inspect raw packet data through a clean, Microsoft Office-style GUI that turns normally complex tasks into straightforward drop-down lists and menu options.

Capsa WiFi understands the gamut of 802.11 protocols and can listen in on any connectible access point that your laptop can reach. You might wish to plug into a cabled network because Capsa WiFi will disconnect you from any WiFi connections in order to do its work. However, it is capable of sniffing traffic across multiple WiFi networks provided they use the same station ID.

Network analysis, by nature, involves vast amounts of data flying by so it is essential for a tool to save data to a buffer, and to allow the user to hone in on the information that matters. Capsa WiFi provides a range of easy to use filters and rules that make this very simple, but effective.

Capsa WiFi weighs in at $USD 699.00 but the product can pay for itself when used on a network of reasonable size and complexity.

Among the many uses of a packet sniffer are to diagnose network intrusions, troubleshoot DHCP problems, analyse network utilisation, uncover reasons for slow network performance, analyse broadcast traffic, raise unattended alerts on abnormal traffic and many other things.

While other network analysis tools exist, Capsa WiFi stands out - as with the rest of the Colasoft range - by its excellent user interface and rich feature suite.

You can try them for yourself via a free, non-WiFi, packet analyser available for download from Colasoft's web site.

 

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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