Scenario: no router, just a laptop network card turned in monitor mode. (imagine you are in the bus or train)

In this scenario can I see all the data that is going through air around me?

Can I capture this data?

Can I get some relevant info out of this data? (e.g. source and destination of the packets)


Can I sniff the traffic of other networks (other routers around me, and smarthphones) and get some relevant info?

what can I see? I should at least see the source and destination IP, but can I get some info our of this packets or the packets are totally encrypted?

This scenario is monitor mode? promiscuous would be when I am actually connected to the network I am sniffing? or do I miss something?

  • Are you actually connected to any network?
    – Arminius
    Mar 15, 2017 at 23:39
  • @Arminius no I am not. Is it possible to monitor the networks around you and capture traffic destinated to one device (smarthphone or router)? Without being connected to any network. Is it possible to extract any useful info in this scenario? e.g. if the people sends some plain text not ecrypted and so on....
    – user155293
    Mar 15, 2017 at 23:53
  • Yes, if it's unencrypted. Why don't you try it, or read about it online? Mar 16, 2017 at 0:19
  • Check out promiscuous mode.
    – hashcode55
    Mar 16, 2017 at 6:10
  • @hashcode55 i thought that promiscuous mode is when you are actually connected to some network, or? I edited the question
    – user155293
    Mar 16, 2017 at 22:59

2 Answers 2


This questions is way too broad, try to be more specific, but YES.

If you put a wireless NIC in monitor mode it will capture everything within it's range (This depends on the antenna type, gain, position, etc.), from smartphones, tablets, AP, laptops, etc.

Now about all your questions you can do whatever you want to, but it is likely that most data will be encrypted, hence you won't be able to make much use of it.

Be warned that this may be illegal in different countries.

Related Topics:


You can sniff one channel per NIC. Decent USB NICs are pretty cheap. If the data is sniffed from encrypted networks, you have to know/acquire the key. Dumping to pcap format lets you use pretty much any packet analysis tool to dissect traffic. Most of what you pick up is going to be useless data; HTTPS sessions etc.

Why do you want to do this?

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