The Flying Squirrel Wireless Discovery/Mapping Application is a Government-off-the-Shelf (GOTS) software application developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to provide real-time discovery, analysis, and mapping of IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n wireless networks.

With the advantages that wireless technologies provide, many organizations are seeking the means to securely integrate wireless capabilities into their networks. In an effort to standardize wireless security for the purpose of detecting and thus deterring unauthorized wireless activity, the Department of Defense (DoD) Enterprise-Wide Information Assurance and Computer Network Defense Enterprise-wide Solutions Steering Group (ESSG) identified the need to enhance network security through the employment of a Wireless Discovery Device (WDD) capability.

To enhance the security posture of DoD networks, Flying Squirrel provides a real-time wireless discovery, integrated visualization and mapping, and post-hoc analysis capabilities. These capabilities are provided in Flying Squirrel (interchangeably referred to as Flying Squirrel Wireless Assessment Tool Suite) via the Flying Squirrel, Caribou, Woodchuck, and MeerCAT-FS components.

Flying Squirrel (FS), a strictly standalone application designed to run on a standard laptop, can detect and segregate wireless transmitters that are acting as a WLAN client or Access Point (AP). It is designed to operate on both Windows XP/Vista/7 and Linux operating system (OS) platforms. Unlike many wireless discovery tools, FS is at no time connected to the organization’s network in order to operate. Instead, it employs passive detection to identify wireless stations or AP’s operating within a geographic area on a real-time basis. FS also provides a real-time integrated visualization and mapping capability called Woodchuck. Woodchuck allows users to generate a “Radiation Field (RF) Map” based on the signal strength information for any selected transmitter. This RF-map allows users to conduct basic geo-location by visual inspection.

To compare and analyze multiple FS data capture sessions, MeerCAT-FS, an analytic visualization tool, can be launched as a plug-in from within FS or from its desktop icon, to perform further post-hoc analysis. By utilizing its key features, such as time trend analysis, wireless topology, profile filters, and communication patterns, the operator can turn Flying Squirrel’s wealth of data into meaningful, actionable information.

To aid in performing wireless discovery and mapping of wireless transmitters indoors, Caribou, an inertial measurement sensor, provides FS position information in the absence of a global positioning system (GPS) signal. This ruggedized (3”x1.25”x2.5”) device integrates seamlessly with FS requiring the operator to simply clip the unit to their belt, plug in the USB cable, and pick a starting location. The sensor data is transferred to FS via the USB.


Key Features

Wireless Discovery

  • Easy-to-use graphical interface with both Windows and Linux
  • Supports 802.11a/b/g/n
  • Real-time protocol analysis
  • Cloaked network discovery
  • Arbitrarily filter, search, and sort networks
  • Statistical analysis of captured network traffic
  • Customizable report generation

Wireless Mapping

  • Real-time signal strength interpolation
  • Real-time drive path & logical network visualization
  • Integrated Geographic Information System (GIS)
  • KML (i.e. Google Earth™) export
  • Filter networks by geographic area
  • Blueprint overlay

  • Built-in reporting
  • Time trend analysis
  • Wireless topology
  • Mission correlation
  • Communication patterns
  • Compares many war drives across locations and time
  • Big picture overview; drill-down for detail
  • Visual tracks of threat locations: geographic and in-building
  • Profile filters highlight suspicious behavior


  • Inertial, magnetic, and barometric sensors for indoor tracking
  • Built-in GPS for outdoor tracking
  • Ruggedized enclosure - 3 x 1.25 x 2.5
  • Tilt compensated compass
  • USB powered, no need for batteries
  • Easily mounts to an operator's belt
  • Sensor data is transferred to Flying Squirrel via USB
  • Blueprint overlay into Flying Squirrel