Python 3

If Python 3 is not already installed on your system, go to the Python main page to learn how to download and install it for your specific system:

It should now be possible to launch Python and run some simple commands:

On Windows, try using py to launch Python.

Python Serial Support

To provide access to the COM port, install the pyserial package.

It should now be possible to launch Python and import the pyserial package:

NOTE: the import is actually serial, not pyserial.

Install Wireshark

Go to the Wireshark main page to learn how to download and install Wireshark for your specific system.

Once complete, it should be possible to run Wireshark and at least get the start screen.

Note: For Linux, you may need to add yourself to wireshark group to run it without sudo with following command: sudo usermod -aG wireshark $(whoami)

Install BLE Sniffer Plugin

OK, finally, the thing we actually care about. The thing that will let us talk to the Adafruit BLE Sniffer and do some actual BLE sniffing. Let's download and install that BLE sniffing plugin!

Download Plugin from Nordic

Start by downloading the nRF Sniffer for BLE package from Nordic Semiconductor:

This will be a ZIP file. At the time of this guide, the version is 4.1.0.

Determine Wireshark Plugin Folder Location (extcap)

We need to install items from the ZIP file downloaded from Nordic into a specific Wireshark folder location.  This location is different on different systems. To determine it for your system, do this:

Open Wireshark, in the Help menu select About wireshark

In the Folders tab, find the "extcap" or "Personal Extcap" path

We'll refer to this folder location as the Wireshark extcap folder.

Install BLE Sniffer Plugin into Wireshark

To install the plugin, simply copy the files shown below from the ZIP downloaded from Nordic into the Wireshark extcap folder location determined above.

Open the ZIP file downloaded from Nordic:

We only need the contents of the extcap folder from the ZIP file.

Extract and copy all of the contents of the extcap folder to the Wireshark extcap folder location.

Final Check and Test Capture

OK, now we can test things out with some actual BLE sniffing! woot!

  • Plug in the Adafruit BLE Sniffer.
  • Launch Wireshark.
  • The sniffer should show up under the available capture devices.
  • Double click on the sniffer capture device.
  • This will open the device and start capturing.
  • If there is BLE traffic, it will be seen right away.
  • If there is no BLE traffic, it will look like this.
  • Note the device has opened properly and is sniffing, there's just nothing to be seen.

Next Steps

Once everything is working as shown above, you are ready to move on to working with these BLE packets.

This guide was first published on Dec 22, 2021. It was last updated on 2021-12-19 23:31:01 -0500.

This page (Installing Python3 and WireShark) was last updated on Jan 15, 2022.

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