This morning I took delivery of a ST Microelectronics STM32W-RFCKIT (€33 from Mouser). I was pleasantly surprised that it too has a network analyzer in the form of a Wireshark bridge. These days Wireshark is the only game in town for packet analysis, so this was a smart move.
The kit comes in two pieces: a remote control device with 6 buttons and a dongle for the PC.
Unfortunately all this is Windows software. So I powered up a Windows XP virtual machine, and installed the software from the ZIP file SW application to interface Wireshark packet capture tool (AN3406). I also needed to install Wireshark for Windows. I plugged in the dongle and assigned the USB device to my Windows VM (this is the same as physically plugging in the device if it was a real computer). Then the usual windows new hardware detection and driver installation. (I can never quite understand what is going on with Windows when new hardware is plugged in. I did a reboot also, but that was more out of habit... it might not have been necessary).
Right out of the box, the dongle does not have the right firmware installed. So select the Tools menu and select "Flasher". Click the 'Flash' button and all going well, the packet sniffer firmware will be transferred onto the dongle.
Linux is my OS of choice, so it would be great to have this working without having to boot a Windows VM. Unfortunately it seems that despite the wise choice of using the Wireshark tool and extolling the virtues of open source code in the documentation, they've neglected to include the source code for the firmware and server software. However it shouldn't be too difficult to reverse engineer. If I get a chance over the coming days I'll give it a stab.
|A screen grab of Wireshark sniffing 802.15.4 / ZigBee packets from the dongle supplied with the STM32W-RFCKIT.|
Update (7 April 2012): I did a quick comparison with the STM32W dongle vs my Microchip ZENA (first version). Both devices are on my desk, about 50cm apart. I ran a Wireshark session on both devices at the same time on the same channel. After a few minutes the STM32W device captured 424 packets vs 290 packets from the ZENA. It seems the STM32W-RFCKIT makes for a better packet sniffer!
Update (9 April 2012): I've made good progress reverse engineering the firmware protocol. I've now got a Linux command line tool (written in C) that will dump packet hex to terminal and allows the 802.15.4. channel to be changed. I hope to release the first version of the Linux Wireshark server in the next few days.
Update (12 April 2012): The first version of the Linux Wireshark server has been released.