How to capture raw 802.11 frames with Kismet


Kismet is an 802.11 layer2 wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion detection system. Kismet will work with any wireless card which supports raw monitoring (rfmon) mode, and can sniff 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11n, and 802.11g traffic (devices and drivers permitting).

Kismet identifies networks by passively collecting packets and detecting standard named networks, detecting (and given time, decloaking) hidden networks, and inferring the presence of non-beaconing networks via data traffic.

System requirements

Kismet is licensed under GPL. Most popular Linux distributions come with Kismet packages that can be installed from online repositories. A Win32 port is also available but only works with certain commercial wireless drivers that enables capture under Windows - almost none of the Windows drivers comes with your wireless card supports raw capture.

Check if your wireless card is supported against the list in Section 12, Capture Sources, of Kismet README


This HOWTO assumes you are running Fedora Core 8 and have installed a supported driver for your wireless card.

  1. Login as root

  2. Install kismet packages

     # yum -y install kismet kismet-extra
  3. Modify kismet.conf to tell kismet about the capture source

     # vi /etc/kismet/kismet.conf

    Search for source= and specify the source type, interface, and give a name to the capture source. For example, if you have an Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG card installed as eth1 and are using ipw2200 driver, specify the following:

  4. Now you are ready to run kismet as root

     # kismet

    You will be shown the panel of kismet and it’s started capturing the raw 802.11 frames and stores the packets in a variety of formats under /var/log/kismet

  5. Optionally you can install and use wireshark to parse the *.dump’ file and view the frames in very details. Below is a screenshot of Wireshark showing a capture by Kismet.

A capture of Kismet being displayed in


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