MetaGeek Tonic is a blend of MetaGeek's best ideas, including:
- Graphical Wi-Fi scanning (from inSSIDer 2)
- Airtime-based, visual packet analysis (from Eye P.A.)
- Combining Wi-Fi scanning and spectrum analysis (Chanalyzer)
The result is a fast and detailed "Swiss Army Knife" Wi-Fi tool that can be used for a variety of tasks, such as:
- Discovering non-Wi-Fi interference
- Measuring Wi-Fi channel congestion
- Identifying clients and access points that are consuming air time on the channel
- Spot-checking signal strength
- Discovering and monitoring client device behaviors
- Viewing packet exchanges between clients and access points
- Capturing packets to perform deeper protocol analysis
Tonic focuses on being information-dense to help Wi-Fi network engineers gather as much data as possible, all with a clean user interface that is easy to read and navigate.
Is Tonic a Wi-Fi Scanner?
While Tonic does feature graphical Wi-Fi scanning views, the way that it collects data is significantly different from a Wi-Fi scanner.
Wi-Fi scanners work by asking their host operating system (such as Windows) for a list of nearby access points. The operating system then checks each Wi-Fi channel Beacons (and in some cases, Probe Responses) from access points, and then reports back to the Wi-Fi scanner. While every operating system (Android, macOS, and Windows) handles Wi-Fi scanning differently, results are usually only returned once about every 4 seconds.
Additionally, the results that the operating system returns are only the contents of the Beacons and Probe Responses. Wi-Fi scanning is extremely useful for performing site surveys (in other words, plotting signal strength and other measurements on a map), for spot-checking coverage, performing channel planning, and checking access point security and configurations. It's an important tool, but it does not provide as much data as packet capture and/or spectrum analysis.
Real-time Packet Analysis
Instead, Tonic is a real-time packet analyzer. It leverages full Wi-Fi packet capture to listen to all Wi-Fi activity. This includes Beacons, Probe Responses, Data, Acknowledgement, and many other types of 802.11 frames. With this data, Tonic is able to provide a much more complete picture of the Wi-Fi environment.