“horst” is a small, lightweight IEEE802.11 wireless LAN analyzer with a text interface. Its basic function is similar to tcpdump, Wireshark or Kismet, but it’s much smaller and shows different, aggregated information which is not easily available from other tools. It is mainly targeted at debugging wireless LANs with a focus on ad-hoc (IBSS) mode in larger mesh networks. It can be useful to get a quick overview of what’s going on on all wireless LAN channels and to identify problems.
- Shows signal/noise values per station
- Calculates channel utilization (“usage”) by adding up the amount of time the packets actually occupy the medium
- “Spectrum Analyzer” shows signal levels and usage per channel
- Graphical packet history, with signal/noise, packet type and physical rate
- Shows all stations per ESSID and the live TSF per node as it is counting
- Detects IBSS “splits” (same ESSID but different BSSID – this is a common driver problem)
- Statistics of packets/bytes per physical rate and per packet type
- Has some support for mesh protocols (OLSR and batman)
- Can filter specific packet types source addresses or BSSIDs
- Client/server support for monitoring on remote nodes
“horst” is a Linux program and can be used on any wireless LAN monitor interface. The latest git version can also be compiled and used on Mac OSX.
- horst-3.0.tar.gz – Stable release version 3.0 (Feb 2011)
- horst-git.tar.gz – Latest development version (usually stable)
With all recent wireless drivers you can put the card into monitor mode and start horst on the default interface (wlan0):
iwconfig wlan0 mode monitor channel X horst
Or with newer mac80211 drivers you can use the “modern” way, using ‘iw’ to add a monitor interface while you can continue to use the existing interface:
iw dev wlan0 interface add mon0 type monitor horst -i mon0
To use the client/server mode you can start a server (-q without a user interface) with
horst -i wlan0 -C -q
and connect a client with
horst -c IP
Only one client is allowed at a time.
To go straight into “Spectrum Analyzer” mode (changing channels) you can start horst with -s:
Please contact me at (br1 at einfach dot org) if you have any problems or questions. New feature ideas, patches and feedback is always welcome.
Mac OSX support is available in the git version, but it’s pretty new and does not support changing channels at the moment. To use it compile horst with