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horst - Highly Optimized Radio Scanning Tool…  more info»


HORST - Horsts OLSR Radio Scanning Tool (or)
HORST - Highly Optimized Radio Scanning Tool
Copyright (C) 2005-2011 Bruno Randolf (

Licensed under the GNU Public License (GPL) V2

= Overview =

"horst" is a scanning and analysis tool for IEEE802.11 wireless ad-hoc (IBSS)
networks and the OLSR mesh routing protocol. it can be used discover the best
OLSR nodes in the neighbourhood, to optimize antenna positions and to discover
problems in the mesh network.

= Description =

with the usual wireless tools like iwconfig and iwspy (and even kismet) it is
hard to measure the received signal strength (SNR or RSSI) for each of the
*different* nodes which form an ad-hoc network, since they all treat the whole
IBSS as one. this information however is very important for setting up,
debugging and optimizing wireless mesh networks.

"horst" aims to fill this gap and lists each single node of an ad-hoc network
seperately, showing the signal strength (SNR) of the last received packet. this
way you can see which nodes are part of a specific ad-hoc cell (BSSID), discover
problems with ad-hoc cell merging ("cell splitting" - a problem of many wlan
drivers), which of the nodes send OLSR packets, wether they use the OLSR link
quality exension, how many neighbors they see, etc.

to do this, it uses the monitor mode including prism2 or radiotap headers (for
the signal strength information) of the wlan cards and listens to all packets
which come in the wireless interface. these packets are scanned for OLSR
traffic, summarized by the MAC address of the sending node, and displayed in a
simple text (ncurses) interface.

"horst" should work with any wlan card which can do monitor mode, with either
"prism2" or "radiotap" headers.

= Usage =

you have to put your card in monitor mode and set the channel manually before
you start the tool (it does not rotate channels like kismet):

1.) put card in monitor mode:
	# iwconfig wlan0 mode monitor

	# wlanconfig wlan0 create wlandev wifi0 wlanmode monitor

2.) for hostap: enable prism headers in monitor mode
	# iwpriv wlan0 monitor_type 1

3.) tune to a channel
	# iwconfig wlan0 channel 10
	# ifconfig wlan0 up

4.) start tool
	# ./horst

5.) see options
	# ./horst --help

= Interpreting the Output =

we try to fit a lot of mostly binary or numeric information to a tiny screen, so
at first it will look confusing ;)

the upper box shows a summary of the information we gathered for each MAC
address (node) we saw, each one in a row:

IP	IP address (if available)
SNR	Signal/Noise ratio of the LAST packet
SOURCE	MAC address of the source
BSSID	The BSSID this MAC is on
LQ	Marked when OLSR Link Quality (LQ) Extension is used
GW	Marked when this OLSR Node probably knows a default gateway
NEIGH	Number of Neighbours
OLSR	Number of OLSR Pakets received
COUNT	Number of all packets received
TSF	The high part of the TSF

the lower box dumps all received packets and shows some information for it:

Sig	Signal in dBm
Noi	Noise in dBm
SOURCE	MAC Address of the Sender
BSSID	The BSSID the Sender belongs to
TYPE	Packet Type
INFO	Additional packet information, depending on type

the lower right box shows the status and displays the SNR of the last packet
graphically with a bar.

= Building =

"horst" is just a simple tool, so "libncurses" is the only requirement (be sure
to install it's header files too). therefore building is as simple as typing:

	$ make

for debugging you can use

	$ make DEBUG=1

= Contributors =

Thanks to the following persons for contributions:

Horst Krause
Sven-Ola Tuecke
Robert Schuster
Jonathan Guerin
David Rowe
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