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Probes come in two flavors, requests and responses. Let’s begin with the request A probe request is a special frame sent by a client station requesting information from either a specific access point, specified by SSID, or all access points in the area, specified with the broadcast SSID. The difference here being that by sending a probe request your wireless card is making an active scan of either a specific network or all networks in the area, where as simply listening for beacon frames in considered a passive scan.

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