I mean, just see all the packets going though the air.. is this possible with Wireshark, for example?

  • It's called monitor mode - see Packet Sniff over Wi-Fi
    – user1686
    Jun 4, 2011 at 22:41
  • @grawity Thanks! I installed the CommView for the drivers so my Wifi card now support monitor mode :) Unfortunately Windows version of Wireshark doesn't support monitor mode =/
    – Zequez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 1:01
  • It's not supported by the WinPcap library. You could boot into a Linux LiveCD and use Wireshark there.
    – user1686
    Jun 5, 2011 at 19:53

1 Answer 1



If the signal is encrypted, then you'll need to know the key or password to decrypt the information, but your use of the word "open" probably means that the signal is not encrypted (in which case all you'll need to do is monitor the packets).

To see all the packets, your wireless NIC will need to support "promiscuous mode." Some models don't support this, so you'll need to check the documentation or ask the vendor.

  • 2
    Thanks for the answer ^^ But I did some research and I understood that promiscuous mode is only for a network you are connected in so I would have to use monitor mode, as @grawity said :P
    – Zequez
    Jun 5, 2011 at 1:02
  • A NIC will normally filter out packets that aren't destined for their own hardware address (a.k.a., "MAC address" or "Node address"), with the exception of packets destined for a broadcast address, to reduce OS overhead, but with "promiscuous mode" or "monitor mode" this filtering doesn't occur. These types of features are typically used by applications like WireShark, Network Stumbler, Packetyzer, etc., for the purpose of "sniffing" or "monitoring" all traffic on the local network. Jun 5, 2011 at 1:45
  • Can you capture the handshake and pick off the PSK from that? Apr 16, 2021 at 23:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.