How do we scan all the available channels in Wi-Fi 6E? With an additional 1200 MHz of spectrum ahead of us, we need to have the tools and resources for planning and analysis.
Wi-Fi 6E brings high efficiency. With that comes increased complexity in how we will analyze and validate Wi-Fi operations.
Sure, we might see a big boost in speeds but its worthless if Wi-Fi isn’t operating efficiently. For network engineers, what can we use to help verify our Wi-Fi networks?
I’ve been playing around with the NetAlly EtherScope nXG with newly added Wi-Fi 6E capabilities. In addition to scanning 6 GHz spectrum, we can use the handheld tool to capture frames for further analysis.
So I booted up a brand new Cisco C9136 and joined the only 6 GHz client I had available to see what we can capture.
We need to identify what channel to capture on. The EtherScope nXG provides a channel map along with identifying the number of APs and clients on those 6 GHz channels.
Using the navigation menu, we can view a list of the channels and select my access point’s operating channel, ch37.
The channel view presents details about that individual channel, which is 20 MHz wide. We can capture frames on this channel but if my SSID was configured for a wider channel width I’d be missing some frames.
I recommend selecting SSIDs, selecting your network of interest to properly select the channel width to capture on.
Select the wrench icon on the bottom right, and tap on Capture (Wi-Fi).
Now in the Capture utility, we can see what channel we will capture frames on and at what channel width.
The gear icon allows you to customize the capture settings.
Captures can get really large. You can set a file size limit and specify whether you want to capture a full packet or maybe you just want the headers.
The Capture Settings is where you can modify the channel width and make additional capture settings with filters.
Once you’re done making changes, tap on the back icon and tap Start to begin your 6 GHz frame capture.
As the capture is running, you’ll be able to see how many frames are being captured and what type, such as Management, Control, or Data frames.
Once you’re satisfied, tap on Stop and upload your pcap file to Link-Live. It’s conveniently stored for you online and it can be shared with other network engineers.
View your capture on your computer and learn more about Wi-Fi 6E.
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Frame Capture Files
Here are a few pcap files I captured from the EtherScope nXG. Both captures are from an EnGenius ECW336.