iwlist: Collecting data

The other tool that’s worth mention out of wireless_tools (which is not to say that iwspy, iwevent or the others aren’t useful) is iwlist.

I pick it out because honestly, between that and iwconfig, most of your bases are covered.


Configuring your wireless card is a bit of a trick if you don’t know the networks that are in range. Hence, the importance of iwlist.

A simple iwlist wlanX scanning should give you a rundown of whatever signals are in range, along with a huge mass of technical data about them.

As you can see there, I piped the results through most, because in my location right now, there are too many networks available and a pager is a good tool.

And of course I use most because I am cool. 😀

Nowadays, most clients or frontends will filter out that data and give you the most important bits — network ID, strength, encryption and so forth.

The key issue here is being able to get that data on your own, without the help of a client … and again, that’s where iwlist becomes useful.

Both iwconfig and iwlist are straight out of the venerable wireless_tools package, and if you have a heart you should send a hug to Jean Tourrilhes, who made it all possible for you. 😉