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I need to see the channels used by all wifi networks in range in order to improve my wifi connection by selecting the channel to be used by my modem (a procedure related to the 'freebox' modem).

In Windows there is Vistumbler (that I know of).

What would be the equivalent in Ubuntu?

Edits after answers/comments:

  • The name of my wireless is registered as eth1 (not as wlan#) - as confirmed after comments and chats

  • What I want is a program that would display all wireless networks in range (which any network app does) and the channel used by each of them, like Vistumbler does:

enter image description here

  • I have an answer that seems satisfactory for now (wicd)- but please post more if there are other similar apps.
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There's also iwScanner. – Xylo Dec 29 '13 at 19:15
up vote 9 down vote accepted

you can use this Linssid

enter image description here

it will show you ssid , mac , power signal , and graphic

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Cannot test it now, but it looks like the closest to what I asked (that is something similar to Vistumbler) – cipricus May 1 '14 at 16:35
yes very similar to inSSIDer ;) – enjoy May 8 '14 at 10:40
It's really awesome! – Viacheslav Kondratiuk Jul 4 at 15:22

If Kismet fails to work with your wireless card, I've used wicd in the past;

A network connection manager that aims to simplify wired and wireless networking in Linux.

It is in Ubuntu repositories - can be easily installed from Synaptic.

Lists all networks & channels.

enter image description here

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i used wicd before but then didn't noticed it displays channels (although only for wifi networks above a certain strength: it displays 14-15 wifi-networks/channels, while Vistumbler around 50. i'll keep it. thnx – cipricus Jun 18 '13 at 8:08
The one-liner I used for a summary is wicd-cli --wireless --list-networks. To count how many neighbors are using each channel, wicd-cli --wireless --list-networks | awk '{print $3}' | sort -n | uniq -c – Matt D Feb 22 at 1:02

Yes , There is Alternative to Vistumbler

  • Kismet : Network detector for 802.11 wireless LANs , Work Under Linux..

You can Download it from Kismet

or Open Terminal

          sudo apt-get install kismet

Another Way To Monitoring Wireless but via Terminal :

  • Open Terminal
  • su
  • iwlist wlan0 scanning

wlan0 its your wifi interface, to get name of your wifi interface see ifconfig in terminal

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Actually you don't need su and only to see the channel used by wifi you can use iwlist wlan0 channel – Radu Rădeanu Jun 18 '13 at 7:48
@cipricus Check first with lshw -C network (you should wait a while to finish this command) what is the logical name of your wifi interface! It seems that for you is not wlan0. – Radu Rădeanu Jun 18 '13 at 7:59
@cipricus Check again, eth1 is ethernet interface, not wireless interface. Should be something like wlan#, where '#' is a number. – Radu Rădeanu Jun 18 '13 at 8:10
@cipricus Now I remembered/find again, iwconfig command is much simple to see what is the logical name of your wifi interface. – Radu Rădeanu Jun 18 '13 at 8:13
@RaduRădeanu - thnx for all feedback, now lets delete our comments – cipricus Jun 18 '13 at 9:07

I'm guessing you're looking to set to a channel that is not being used locally - so you want to see a summary of what is being used. Try the following from the command line:

sudo iwlist wlan0 scanning | grep -i Channel

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In addition to Rozza's answer you can group the results and see how much each channel is used:

sudo iwlist wlan0 scan | grep Frequency | sort | uniq -c | sort -n

Example output would be like this:

  1                     Frequency:2.422 GHz (Channel 3)
  1                     Frequency:2.432 GHz (Channel 5)
  1                     Frequency:5.26 GHz (Channel 52)
  1                     Frequency:5.5 GHz (Channel 100)
  2                     Frequency:2.452 GHz (Channel 9)
  2                     Frequency:2.472 GHz (Channel 13)
  3                     Frequency:2.447 GHz (Channel 8)
  6                     Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
  6                     Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)
  7                     Frequency:5.18 GHz (Channel 36)
  8                     Frequency:2.412 GHz (Channel 1)
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You can also use nm-tool on the command line (this is the default network manager for Ubuntu, normally you use its GUI). Somewhere in the output of nm-tool, it contains the following section of found access points:

  Wireless Access Points (* = current AP)
    Neighbors:       Infra, 00:XX:XX:XX:XX:04, Freq 2437 MHz, Rate 54 Mb/s, Strength 44 WPA WPA2
    *network-2C5A6:  Infra, 00:XX:XX:XX:XX:79, Freq 2437 MHz, Rate 54 Mb/s, Strength 100 WPA
    bbox2-8afd:      Infra, 00:XX:XX:XX:XX:0F, Freq 2412 MHz, Rate 54 Mb/s, Strength 42 WPA WPA2

To convert the frequencies to channel numbers, use the command iwlist frequency:

wlan0     32 channels in total; available frequencies :
          Channel 01 : 2.412 GHz
          Channel 02 : 2.417 GHz
          Channel 140 : 5.7 GHz
          Current Frequency:2.437 GHz (Channel 6)
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There's also Wifi Radar, not mentioned here yet.

It's in the Ubuntu repositories (as wifi-radar):

sudo apt-get install wifi-radar

Wifi Radar screenshot

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nice. a limitation of the gui is that clicking on the channel column header the same-number channels are not grouped together – cipricus Nov 10 '14 at 12:38

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