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Which Field Kit is right for me?


zenware
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I'm interested in getting one of the Essentials or Elite Field kits (or perhaps both) and just curious to get your input on which you'd recommend. Currently, I work as a freelance software developer for a few clients, as a contractor for one company doing Linux admin & software dev work to make sure the internet keeps running for a few pretty large service areas across the continental US. And I just mess around with security tools in my free time.

That said I like to figure out a way to make my hobbies sustain themselves, so I'm interested in doing freelance or contract pentest work. Which kit would you recommend for me? I've got plenty of homelab wireless and various machines to test stuff against in safe and legal ways.

I'm leaning towards the essentials /w the Nano because it's small, it has expandable storage, and could probably live on battery power longer. I've built a few MiniPwners from TL-MR3040v2 (and accidentally erased the root from at least one, totally disabling it, I couldn't even flash it from the UART) and imagine it's comparable to those regarding size and battery life, but with much more power and two external antennae. I'm also planning to upgrade to a Pixel soon and convert my Nexus 6 to a NetHunter machine which I imagine will be perfectly paired with the Nano.

That said, I've also connected 4 WNICs to a single laptop so I could dedicate a few channels to each when wardriving, so the power a Tetra provides is very desirable to me. Perhaps I'll get the Elite Kit and add an Elite Nano in the future.

I especially like that the Tetra supports both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz frequencies, and MIMO, it's not clear to me that the Nano does. The Nano also has expandable storage with an SD card and it's not clear to me that the Tetra does (although 2GB NAND is a huge amount of space compared to most networking hardware I've used, especially wireless platforms.)

I think I may have made this question too focused on the 6G Pineapple platforms for this subforum but the question still pertains to field kits, and as far as the actual hardware differences between the two it seems to be the pineapple. There are also a few accessory differences as well, the Elite seems to come with a 5 port switch, USB Ethernet, and several other extras that may be useful in various scenarios. Maybe that answers my question then... It's just a lot of stuff, I try to be a minimalist except for books and... I guess networking hardware.

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Okay so the main difference between the 2 kits is the Pineapple. The Elite kit comes with the Tetra and the Essentials comes with the Nano.

The main difference between the two Pineapples? 1's small and mobile, the other is bigger and more of a dedicated router/AP sitting on a table.

Tetra has longer range and can have many antennas - Nano can fit in your pocket, can fit some antennas but has less range and power.

The Elite kit also comes with a bunch of other small things - 5 port switch, antennas, ethernet cable/s, bigger bag etc.

Hopefully that helps you decide easier..

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if you just want to mess around with it and not worried about mobility then go Tetra.  If being mobile is your thing, go nano.   The Tetra supports 2.4ghz and 5ghz and the Nano is 2.4ghz only.  With that said, I have a backpack I always carry around and the Tetra fits inside just fine with batteries, laptop, and other odds and ends, so it just depends on whats best for what you want to do. 

 

Some people have a problem with the sdcard on the nano and you can use a usb stick and mount it as the sdcard which have help some people.  But 2gb nand is more than enough.  After mine is setup and ready to go, I have 1.8gb free space, which is more than enough, and you can add a usb stick if you really need to.

Edited by b0N3z
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1 hour ago, b0N3z said:

With that said, I have a backpack I always carry around and the Tetra fits inside just fine with batteries, laptop, and other odds and ends, so it just depends on whats best for what you want to do. 

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This is kind of what I was thinking. I can't go anywhere without my bag, I keep all my gadgets in there including stuff from my laptop which I need because I'm pretty much always on call, so worst case scenario distance from me it's in my car or something... Yeah, especially if my lust is driving me towards platforms like this: https://www.alftel.com/products/airbud-x9 "Hey honey uhm, *cough* I think we need a new router, so I'm gonna order.. uhm, a new router."

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5 hours ago, zenware said:

This is kind of what I was thinking. I can't go anywhere without my bag, I keep all my gadgets in there including stuff from my laptop which I need because I'm pretty much always on call, so worst case scenario distance from me it's in my car or something... Yeah, especially if my lust is driving me towards platforms like this: https://www.alftel.com/products/airbud-x9 "Hey honey uhm, *cough* I think we need a new router, so I'm gonna order.. uhm, a new router."

That's not a router! That's a PC pretending to be a router! That's a NAS, a PC and a terminal server pretending to be a router! :O

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  • 2 weeks later...

When I designed this appliance router was a last thing I had in mind. The rationale behind was to create a multi-radio gadget flexible enough to throw any currently available and future radio cards. As a matter of fact appliance allows you to install even "extended" size radio cards that do require additional 5V rail for power amps (visit Compex web site a d you will see what I am talking about). Bare in mind that coming soon quad chain Wave 2 AC mini PCIe cards do consume up to 13W - good luck with standard mini PCIe slots in legacy boards. On the other hand, having x12 slots that do support anything, one can create very sophisticated router/gateway/bridge indeed - sky is a limit. BUT, I did create this beast for one sole reason - to make tools like Kismet to benefit from multi-radio environment. Take a look what Kismet creator says about it : 
http://blog.kismetwireless.net/2017/05/fun-with-new-toy-kismet-on-alftel-airbud.html

We worked with dragorn extensively and as a matter of fact some current (git) multi-radio Kismet features will be very hard to  realize on any other platform. Another point is that after being long time ARM designer and follower, I finally got fed with constant dependency from silicon vendors and their overseas support forces (TI, STMicro, NXP to name a few). The only true platform that will allow you to drop-in anything you want at will is x86. Airbud is using commercial grade x86 board, but we already sent few samples to community members with pcengines APU3 (absence of video is somewhat annoying, but Ubuntu server with serial console runs just fine). Remember that our quad x86 CPU has only 5W TDP (Thermal Design  Profile), and bits any quad ARM to the dust when it comes to legacy software packages.

You can treat it as a development platform, and we have current plans to create a specialized 4 chain radio cards for it, such as sub-GHz, 2.4 ISM, BTLE5, etc. Also on a table very special antenna split circuit that will allow us to decrease antennas count x4 times with very significant and ultra low noise  RX amplification. Current plans also include fixing ath10k firmware and drivers to create a solid and reliable RX sniffer environment with 40MHz, 80MHz and 160MHz channel width capture capabilities.

You can always approach me directly via email (on our web site).

BTW - we will station Airbud live permanently at Wireless Village, DEFCON 25, Las Vegas, July  27-30 - come and take a look, I will be somewhere around as well (including a small talk on Saturday).

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When we tried our early prototype at RSA 2017 in SF, we were able to trace and detect >20K wireless appliances in proximity - I doubt any other gadget will be able to do the same, and this is not a limit - dragorn had a massive optimization update since February. Another point is that Airbud was not designed as a "mobile" back-pack gizmo, so comparing it to Pineapple or a like wouldn't be entirely correct - it's just a bit different breed of wireless appliance with extended capabilities. We are after passive monitoring solo, without being exposed to surrounding environment. Of course one can always install high power Mikrotik cards, and blast away anything one desires.

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On 7/19/2017 at 5:11 PM, AlexZ said:

When I designed this appliance router was a last thing I had in mind.

1

It was a joke, you have built an impressive beast of an appliance. I wish I could be there to check out your booth this year, hopefully next!

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