OSX Wireless Airport Tool and Roaming

MAC OSX Airport is a powerful tool to explore the 802.11 information from the wireless interface.

I used a form of this command to troubleshoot a roaming issue in a client’s emergency department with their Patient Access Services WOWs (Workstations on Wheels). I was able to see my test device’s 802.11 statistics. With a slight variation of the command I was able to see when my test device’s roamed from AP to AP.


/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 10.03.18 AM.png

Modified Command:

while x=1; do /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I ; sleep 1.5; done

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 10.18.55 AM.png

In the particular case, the client devices in the emergency department were getting low signal due to the transmission power in the wireless adapter set to “Medium”. Once I set the TxP to “Maximum” the laptops were reporting a similar signal strength to my Mac. This may not be the smoking gun in the emergency roam, but when you start out with a deafened client it is a bad day.

Big caveat here is that each deployment is different. So I am not necessarily suggesting use “Maximum” TxP on your clients. I am suggesting that the Airport tool is a cool option to see a test device roam from AP to AP and gather 802.11 stats.

The MAN page is incomplete unfortunately.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 9.58.39 AM

There is a HELP argument that gives a bit more info.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 10.37.44 AM.png

I love this command since you can TEE it to a file for further analysis. It certainly is not a replacement for other tools such as WiFi Explorer Pro, Metageek, Ekahau, Airtool, WiFi Signal, and many others. But it is free with your Mac. 😀

A buddy of mine is working on a Python script to clean up the output and make it more useful. I will be delving into Python soon I expect. Along with all the other laundry list of geeky things to do.

Screen Shot 2017-06-29 at 10.50.55 AM.png

2 thoughts on “OSX Wireless Airport Tool and Roaming

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