Wireless personal testbeds


octoScope's new synchroSniffer helps find and fix issues with wireless mesh, band steering and roaming technologies

synchroSniffer™ multi-probe wireless sniffing technology, a new addition to octoScope's octoBox® personal testbed, easily detects root causes of roaming, mesh and band steering issues. Seminar to demonstrate the synchroSniffer is being held on July 18th

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Littleton, Massachusetts, July 16, 2018 - octoScope®, the leader in accurate, repeatable and automated wireless personal testbeds, today announced the new synchroSniffer technology for synchronized multi-location multi-channel sniffing and expert analysis of wireless mesh performance.

Wi-Fi networks have advanced from a single access point (AP) to a mesh system of APs and extenders. While mesh networks provide better coverage than a single AP, the user experience depends on whether the client devices, such as phones and PCs, associate to the optimum mesh node. Troubleshooting the complex band steering and roaming algorithms that attempt to associate clients to the optimum mesh node, requires synchronized sniffing and expert analysis of traffic at multiple points in the mesh and on multiple frequency channels.


octoScope's synchroSniffer is designed to operate in the octoBox wireless personal testbed, but can also be used as part of an open-air wireless test.

octoScope's Pal instruments serve as synchroSniffer probes. Each Pal uses Precision Time Protocol (PTP, IEEE 1588) to synchronize to the octoBox server. The packets captured by multiple probes are merged into one PCAP file viewable by Wireshark or other common sniffers, showing packets on multiple channels in multiple locations in the testbed.

Craig Smith, the Principal of dot11 Labs has observed a station being band steered incorrectly by a mainstream mesh system from 5 to 2.4 GHz. "We observed this behavior in our open-air tests and then reproduced it in the octoBox. First, we saw it in the test house while walking a PC around. Then we used the synchroSniffer to detect the same issue in the octoBox," Smith said. "In the octoBox instead of walking with the client, octoScope's quadAtten programmable attenuators are used to emulate the motion, making the test much faster and perfectly repeatable from run to run," he explained. "Three Pals were used as synchroSniffer probes, one on the 2.4 and two at 5 GHz, allowing visibility on all fronthaul and backhaul channels. The merged PCAP file revealed the problem between the root node and the client and confirmed the band steering issue. The octoBox testbed enabled us to isolate the issue and reproduce it efficiently and confidently. And the new synchroSniffing tool gave us the ability to quickly isolate this complexed issue," Smith stated.

"We developed the synchroSniffer in response to our customers' requests for faster mesh testing and automated analysis of complex test data. In the past, distributed sniffer captures were only available as unsynchronized PCAP files that had to be manually aligned to make sense of the captures," stated Leigh Chinitz, octoScope's CTO. "Our automated captures from multiple probes and expert parsing of the captures provide engineers with instant visualization of system behavior, saving days of laborious and error-prone work," Chinitz added.

On July 18th, octoScope, dot11 Labs and SmallNetBuilder.com are holding a seminar to demonstrate the test results to the industry. The seminar will take place at octoScope's San Jose office and online. To register, click here.

About the octoBox personal wireless testbed

Stackable and configurable octoBox personal testbeds are completely isolated from external interference and can be used at an engineer's office or lab bench.

Each octoBox personal testbed includes a dedicated web server accessible via a browser UI for manual control or via REST API for test automation. The server controls the built-in instruments, traffic, test flow and DUT configuration and now with the introduction of the synchroSniffer also serves as the PTP and NTP time base for the testbed. Test results are saved in a database, enabling multiple teams to easily collaborate by sharing test results and test automation scripts.

About octoScope

octoScope is the market leader in accurate and repeatable automated wireless testbeds. Our patented technology redefines the accuracy, stability, economics and value of over-the-air wireless testing. octoScope’s product line includes robust solutions for isolation, interference generation and evaluation, client emulation, and essentially all of the elements required to evaluate the behavior and performance of a broad range of wireless devices and systems. octoScope’s headquarters is in Littleton, Massachusetts.

Press contact

Kimberly Boschi
Phone: +1.978.302.7777