Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Raheem A. Beyah - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Anu Bourgeois

Third Advisor

Dr. Xiaolin Hu


In this thesis, we characterize the proprietary active scanning algorithm of several wireless network interface cards. Our experiments are the first of its kind to observe the complete scanning process as the wireless network interface cards probe all the channels in the 2.4GHz spectrum. We discuss the: 1) correlation of channel popularity during active scanning and access point channel deployment popularity; 2) number of probe request frames statistics on each channel; 3) channel probe order; and 4) dwell time. The knowledge gained from characterizing wireless network interface cards is important for the following reasons: 1) it helps one understand how active scanning is implemented in different hardware and software; 2) it can be useful in identifying a wireless rogue host; 3) it can help implement Active Scanning in network simulators; and 4) it can radically influence research in the familiar fields like link-layer handovers and effective deployment of access points.