Monday, May 15, 2017

Fun with a new toy - Kismet on the Alftel Airbud

Alftel ( were very kind and sent me the production rev of their Airbud platform to get Kismet running on it.

Anyone who swung by the NOC at Shmoocon might have seen the pre-production Airbud running a demo there:

The final rev is a lot more elegant!

It's an Intel platform - which means it will happily run Ubuntu, Fedora, Pentoo, and so on - with an ungodly number of mpci-e slots for radios (8x on this model):

This one is stocked with Atheros 11n 2x2 which have been the most stable so far in testing - I've had nothing but misery with the ath10k reporting bogus packets in a HT data environment, and the Intel cards can get into monitor mode but seem to have firmware issues which cause the interface to reset during tuning.

Happily, Kismet's new datasource code handles the multiple interfaces just fine, and I think it's going to ultimately be a lot more stable than the older style code.  Previously, Kismet multiplexed all the sources into a single IPC channel and controlled them from a single process; under the new model, Kismet spawns a process per interface for capture.

Some interesting things happen with this many devices - even scanning both bands and all HT channels, the coverage graph stays pretty flat - we're able to cover enough channels simultaneously that Kismet can maintain a fairly constant view of the devices:

With an estimated coverage map (which is a lot more interesting when it's live and animated) of:

With the new data source REST API it should be possible in the future, with fairly minimal coding effort, to also assign a source to lock on to specific channels when a device is highlighted  - making sure to capture as much information as possible about a specific device or AP while the rest of the interfaces continue channel hopping.

If you're interested in the Airbud HW, check out the Alftel website at for more info.

A huge thanks to all who support Kismet on Patreon - if you'd like to help, you can become a patron here!

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