BUYERS GUIDE – OPEN SNIFFER

FEATURE-RICH ANALYZER FOR ZIGBEE / 6LOWPAN / 802.15.4 NETWORKS AND IOT DEVICES

There are several things that you should consider before you buy any sniffer. You are advised to consider following paragraphs.

Open_Sniffer_IV-v2

Product Activation and Transfer

Commercial Sniffers

  • Sniffer’s license is mostly assigned to a dedicated computer. The license transfer might require a several deactivation and activation steps. Communication with the producer might be necessary.

Open Sniffer

  • Open Sniffer operates without the licence limitation, you can use it as you wish.

Supported Frequency Bands

Commercial Sniffers

  • Analyser’s software license or hardware module might be tied to a specific frequency band. The more bands you need the more you pay.

Open Sniffer

  • Open Sniffer directly supports 2400/915/868/780 MHz bands. No additional fees are required.

Your Own Protocol Parser

Commercial Sniffers

  • Access to the sniffer’s SDK mostly requires additional fees.

Open Sniffer

  • Open Sniffer is based on open-source software Wireshark. Find out more, read our tutorial.

Automation and Control via HTTP Interface

Commercial Sniffers

  • Communication protocol for sniffers on the shelf is generally not available. Therefore any remote control or automation is almost impossible.

Open Sniffer

  • Open Sniffer can be easily controlled remotely via HTTP interface. It might be driven from some script language such as Python. Then, together with Injection mode, where user may transmit arbitrary 802.15.4 frames, OpenSniffer can be employed for complete autonomous testing of your IoT product.

Communication Interface and Coverage

Commercial Sniffers

  • They are mostly based on USB which brings limitation of cable length and also might introduce an integration complexity. Let’s imagine that you want to monitor several rooms. With the USB based sniffer you need to have a host computer for every room. This means that you need not only more computers but also more licenses.

Open Sniffer

  • Open Sniffer employs the Ethernet interface. Ethernet has basically no cable limitation (up to 100m), so you can connect the sniffer directly even from distant areas or you can seamlessly connect the Open Sniffer to ubiquitous TCP/IP network infrastructure. In case of multiple sniffers, just an one host computer is needed. Therefore, there are no additional license fees.

Communication Speed

Commercial Sniffers

  • Many of sniffers available are based on the Virtual COM Port interface. Let’s focus on their communication speed which is typically 38.4kbits or 115.2kbits. Now please think about 250kbits which is typical PHY data rate of Zigbee/802.15.4 network. It is obvious that those sniffers might get into troubles such as packet loss whenever communication within the network starts to be intensive.

Open Sniffer

  • Open Sniffer communicates via Ethernet interface which can easily transfer up to several Mbit/s

Radio Coverage

Commercial Sniffers

  • The most of off-the-shelf sniffers use the internal PCB or chip antenna. These antennas suffer from the poor radio performance and directional pattern.

Open Sniffer

  • Open Sniffer gives you the choice to connect antenna that suits you. Original antennas supplied with Open Sniffer have reasonable gain and omnidirectional pattern.

Multiple Sniffers/Channels support

Commercial Sniffers

  • Sniffer device can sense only one channel at a time. More channels are analyzed by paralleling sniffer devices. Regularly, this feature requires a special type of software license. This can be very expensive up to several thousands of Euros.

Open Sniffer

  • You can use parallel Open Sniffer devices without any limitation.

Time Sync Among Multiple Sniffers

Commercial Sniffers

  • Synchronization is frequently implemented wirelessly. This has impact on your tested network, even if manufacturer try to say you anything else.

Open Sniffer

  • Currently not supported. Planned for future firmware releases via PTP IEEE 1588.