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Thread: Why can't all wireless cards inject packets?

  1. #1
    Just burned his ISO GrumpyOldGuy's Avatar
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    Default Why can't all wireless cards inject packets?

    Ok, so this is something that is undoubtedly pretty basic, but this is the beginner's forum, after all.

    Here's what I don't get - every wireless card is basically a little radio transmitter and receiver. By definition, all wireless cards can both send and receive radio waves, duh.

    So if my card can send packets, via radio, then why can't it "inject" packets? Why can card X send packets via radio and "inject" them, while card Y (also sending packets via radio) can't? And don't tell me it's because the card or chipset doesn't support packet injection, cause I can do circular logic all by myself, thank you very much.

    This probably ties in to what the definition of injecting packets is, maybe it means that the card interrupts normal network traffic or something... but I got no idea... which is why I'm asking.

    Thanks from a Grumpy Old Guy.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator lupin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why can't all wireless cards inject packets?

    Not really BackTrack related, but OK. Someone with more knowledge on wireless networking can correct me if Im wrong, but I believe that cards not being able to perform injection is due to lack of support in the driver.
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  3. #3
    Just burned his ISO
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    Default Re: Why can't all wireless cards inject packets?

    You need to patch the drivers in order to get the advanced features such as monitor mode and injection capability. I wouldnt say that it is a lack in logic but rather software. Most patches can be found via google. Remember you will need to have the kernel headers and, in some cases, the kernel sources on your system prior to compiling the drivers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Thorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why can't all wireless cards inject packets?

    Aside from driver issues, in a lot of cases it's also hardware related, in that the card lacks either computation power and/or the memory registers, etc., to perform the needed operations. You have to remember that the cards aren't merely just little RF transceiver boxes, but that they also to a lot of computational work at the hardware level while it's striping off the 802.11 frames and making the end product an Ethernet packet (whilst receiving) or doing the inverse (whilst transmitting). Also, things like encryption happen at the hardware level, so there's a fair amount going on. Some cards just doing have the horsepower to do everything.
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  5. #5
    Just burned his ISO GrumpyOldGuy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why can't all wireless cards inject packets?

    So fundamentally it's a software problem in that the driver won't support injection, potentially exacerbated by a lack of computing horsepower in the chipset even if the driver did instruct the card to perform the injection.

    Which all makes perfect sense.

    Thanks guys, I get it. Much appreciated.

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