In this chapter, you can find answers to some of the most
frequently asked questions. The latest FAQ is always available
Q. I'm on a wireless network, and I want to monitor my own inbound
and outbound packets. Which product do I need: the standard,
non-wireless CommView edition, or CommView for WiFi?
A. You need the standard, non-wireless CommView edition. It will
allow you to monitor your own traffic, but you will not be able to
see the traffic of other WLAN stations. Unlike the standard
CommView edition, CommView for WiFi allows you to monitor other
wireless stations, capture management frames, view signal strength,
Q. Do I need special hardware to use CommView for WiFi?
A. Yes, you need a compatible wireless adapter. The list of
compatible adapters can be found at http://www.tamos.com/products/commwifi/. In order to
enable the monitoring features of your wireless adapter, you will
need to use the special drivers that come with this product. When
CommView for WiFi is not running, your adapter will be able to
communicate with other wireless hosts or access points, just like
when you are using the original driver supplied by the adapter
manufacturer. When CommView for WiFi is running, your adapter will
be put in passive, promiscuous monitoring mode.
Q. My card is not on your list of supported hardware. What are my
A. Our hardware compatibility list includes only those cards that
we've tested ourselves in our test lab. There are other cards that
may be compatible with CommView for WiFi. The best way to find out
if your card is compatible is downloading our Adapter Test Utility and running it on your computer.
If a compatible adapter is installed, the utility will display its
name. Before running our test utility, make sure that you use the
latest driver supplied by your computer or adapter vendor. Visit
their Web site to download and install the latest driver version.
This is important, because the results of the test depend on the
driver that is used. The newer the driver, the better the chances
that it will work with CommView for WiFi. Finally, you may want to
buy a compatible card, as they are not terribly expensive these
days. Or simply order a boxed version from us; it comes with a
compatible USB adapter.
Q. What adapter would you recommend for use with your
A. We suggest that you refer to the list of compatible hardware,
which can be found at http://www.tamos.com/products/commwifi/adapterlist.php.
By using this list, you choose the best adapter based on the form
factor (USB, Integrated, etc.), sensitivity, sensitivity, supported
Windows version, and supported 802.11 bands. Generally, the best
choice would be an 802.11ac USB adapter.
Q. Which supported adapters have external antenna
A. Alfa Networks AWUS1900 and Alfa Networks
Q. Can I capture data from multiple channels simultaneously?
A. Yes, if you use multiple supported USB adapters. Please refer to
the Multi-Channel Capturing chapter for more
Q. I've installed the special driver for my adapter and now the
adapter cannot connect to my wireless network after I close
CommView for WiFi. What could be the problem?
A. When you replace the driver for your adapter, the configuration
settings (including preferred networks and passwords) may be lost,
so you may have to re-configure the adapter. If your adapter has
been configured and still can't connect, please disable and
re-enable it in Device Manager, this will restore the
Q. Some of the channels are not available in the channel selection
controls. Is this normal? What if want to monitor these
A. The answer depends on the adapter:
7xxx, 8xxx, 9xxx, and AX2xx integrated adapters, recommended
Realtek-, MediaTek-, and Ralink-based USB adapters, and
Atheros-based USB adapters: All channels are always available when
using them in CommView for WiFi.
miniPCI and miniPCIe adapters: Depending on your country, your
wireless adapter may not support all the channels shown in that
window. The channels that are available for use in a particular
country differ according to the regulations of that country. In the
United States, for example, FCC regulations only allow channels 1
to 11 to be used in the 2.4 GHz band. The firmware of the wireless
adapters being sold in the US is typically configured to disallow
channels 12 and 13.
adapters (e.g. Dell or Broadcom): enabling channels 12 and 13 may
be possible. Open the CommView for WiFi application folder (usually
C:\Program Files (x86)\CommViewWiFi). You will see the file named
ch1213.exe there. Double-click on that file to execute it. Restart
CommView and these channels will become available for selection.
Note that the adapter's ability to capture packets on channels 12
and 13 depends on the regulatory domain set by the laptop vendor.
If the vendor enabled them in your case, there won't be a problem.
However, we've heard of many examples when laptop vendors did not
enable channels 12 and 13 even in the laptops that were sold in a
country where these channels were legal.
Q. When monitoring a WLAN, can I be sure that the program will
capture every packet being sent or received?
A. No, and here is why. When a wireless station is connected and
authenticated, the station and access point(s) employ a mechanism
that allows them to resend the packets that were not received by
the other party or damaged en route for some reason (e.g. radio
interference). In case of CommView for WiFi, the wireless adapter
is put into passive, monitoring mode. Therefore, the adapter cannot
send "requests" to have packets resent, nor can it acknowledge
successful receipt of packets. This results in loss of some
packets. The percentage of lost packets may vary. Generally, the
closer to other stations and access points you are, the fewer
packets will be dropped.
Q. Can the program decrypt WPA- and WPA2-encrypted packets?
A. Yes, in WPA-PSK mode. Both TKIP (WPA) and AES/CCMP (WPA2) are
supported. WPA3 cannot be decrypted. WPA3 uses the passphrase only
for authentication; decryption is impossible.
Q. I'm on a WLAN with high traffic volume, and it's hard to examine
individual packets when the application is receiving hundreds of
thousands of packets per second, as the old packets are quickly
removed from the circular buffer. Is there anything I can do about
A. Yes, you can use the Open current buffer in new window button on
the small toolbar on the Packets tab. This will allow you to make
snapshots of the current buffer as many times as you wish, at any
intervals. You will then be able to explore the packets in these
new windows at your leisure.
Q. I launched the program, selected the channel, started capturing,
but no packets are displayed. Please help!
A. First, switch to the Packets tab. The Latest IP Connections tab
might be empty if you did not enter correct WEP keys, and your WLAN
uses WEP encryption. If the Packets tab is empty too, look at the
program's status bar. If the packet counter is being incremented,
then you have active rules that prevent the program from displaying
packets. Click Rules => Reset All, and then press three toolbar
buttons: Capture Data Packets, Capture Management Packets, and
Capture Control Packets. If the packet counter on the status bar is
not being incremented, then there are probably no active wireless
stations or access points available/detected. If you are absolutely
certain that there are wireless stations or access points, report
this problem to us.
Q. Can CommView for WiFi read NCF log files generated by the
standard, non-wireless CommView edition? How about vice
A. Yes, CommView for WiFi can read NCF log files generated by the
standard, non-wireless CommView edition. The standard, non-wireless
CommView edition can read NCF log files generated by CommView for
WiFi (and will soon be able to read the latest NCFX log format),
but you will not be able to see wireless-specific columns, such as
signal strength or channel number.
Q. Does CommView for WiFi run on multi-processor computers?
A. Yes, it does.
Q. It seems to be impossible to save more than 5,000 packets from
the packet buffer. Is there a workaround?
A. Actually, there is no such limitation. The application uses a
circular buffer for storing captured packets. By default, the
buffer can contain up to 5,000 latest packets, but this value can
be adjusted in the Settings window. The maximum buffer size is
20,000 packets (the buffer cannot be unlimited for an obvious
reason: your computer’s RAM is not unlimited). You can save the
contents of the buffer to a file using the Logging tab. However, by
no means does this limit on the buffer size restrict your ability
to save any number of packets. You simply need to enable automatic
logging on the Logging tab. Such automatic logging will make the
application dump all the captured packets to file(s) continuously,
and you can set any limit on the total size of the captured
Q. My firewall software warns me that CommView for WiFi is
"attempting to access the Internet." I am aware that some sites are
able to track users by collecting the information sent by their
programs via Internet. Why does CommView "attempt to access the
A. Three activities may alert your firewall. First, it may be an
attempt to resolve IP addresses to hostnames. Since CommView has to
contact your DNS servers to make a DNS query, it inevitably
triggers the alarm. You can disable this feature (Settings =>
Options => Disable DNS resolving), but in this case, the Latest
IP Connections tab will not be able to show you the hostnames.
Second, you may have configured the program to check if updates or
new versions are available. To do this, CommView has to connect to
www.tamos.com. You can disable this feature (Settings
=> Options => Misc. => Enable automatic application
updates). Third, when you purchase the product, you need to
activate it. If you select online activation, CommView has to
connect to www.tamos.com. You can avoid this by selecting manual
activation. These are the only types of connections CommView can
potentially make. There are no other hidden activities. We don't
Q. I'm often logged on as a user without administrative privileges.
Do I have to log off and then re-logon as the administrator to be
able to run CommView for WiFi?
A. No, you can open CommView folder, right-click on the CV.exe file
while holding down the Shift key, and select "Run As" from the
pop-up menu. Enter the administrative login and password in the
window that pops up and click OK to run the program. Under Windows
Vista and higher, CommView is automatically launched with elevated
Q. When reconstructing TCP sessions that contain HTML pages in
Japanese or Chinese, I can't see the original text.
A. To see text in East Asian languages, you should install East
Asian fonts. Open Control Panel => Regional and Language
Options, select the "Languages" tab, and check the "Install files
for East Asian languages" box.
Q. I'm confused about the license types available for CommView for
WiFi. Could you explain the difference between the license
A. Two license types are currently available for CommView for WiFi:
Standard license and VoIP license. The more expensive VoIP license
enables all the application features, including VoIP analyzer,
whereas the standard license doesn't enable VoIP analyzer.
Additionally, the Standard License is also available as a One Year
Subscription, which is a time-limited license valid for one year
from the date of purchase only.
CommView for WiFi can also be purchased as a boxed product. Boxed
versions include a compatible wireless adapter and a USB flash
drive. The price includes UPS ground shipping.
Please refer to the End User License Agreement that comes with the
product for other licensing terms and conditions.
Q. Can I save the audio from the VoIP analyzer to a standard .wav
or .mp3 file?
A. Not directly, but there are many utilities on the market that
offer a "virtual audio cable" that allows saving anything that is
played back through your sound card to a file. Try, for
Xilisoft Sound Recorder
(use the "What you hear" mode).