I'm looking to see whether it's possible to implement a staff 'in office/out of office' facility by tracking the active wifi (phones/tablets/laptops) in the building.

Is it possible to return a list (MAC addresses?) of active wifi clients even if they are not associated with an AP? I'm wondering whether I could put together a Linux-based solution that's totally independent from the company Access Points as they have no simple way to pull off a list of attached devices.


  • Considering that the wifi could be turned off, which I do regularly in the office, this is really not a good solution plus the phone may not have a wifi connection.
    – Karlson
    Aug 31, 2012 at 14:29
  • Kalson: Appreciate the input but tracking wifi is not the only way things will be done, it's just the avenue I'm exploring here.
    – Linker3000
    Sep 2, 2012 at 16:21

3 Answers 3


Depending on the software your router is running, maybe you could get a list of the DHCP leases, and try pinging everyone on that list. For example, in OpenWRT, if you cat /tmp/dhcp.leases you get a list of IP addresses, MAC addresses, device names, and times when the leases were given. You could go through this list and for everyone who answers the ping, you know they're still around.


You just need wireless cards that you can run in rfmon mode, and then you can see all the traffic (including non-associated clients searching for APs), and extract MAC addresses from that.

I don't know if there is existing software to do that, or if you'd have to write your own.


Why wouldn't you check the list on your router's web page ?

But anyway, it's possible, with airodump-ng you could monitor traffic in real mode, see who's communicating with whom,

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