Using a special firmware image provided by Nordic Semiconductors and the open source network analysis tool Wireshark, the Bluefruit LE Sniffer can be used as a low cost Bluetooth Low Energy sniffer.

NOTE: This product can only be used to sniff Bluetooth Low Energy devices. It will not work with classic Bluetooth devices or transactions.
Since nRF-Sniffer is a passive solution that is simply scanning packets over the air, there is the possibility of missing packets using this tool (or any other passive sniffing solution). In order to capture as many packets as possible, be sure to run the sniffer on a USB bus that isn't busy and avoid running it in a virtual machine since this can introduce significant latency over USB.

v3.0: CP2104 Driver Requirements (Black Boards) 

The latest version of the sniffer uses the CP2104 USB to Serial bridge and drops the SWD connector, allowing us to sell the boards at a significant discount compared to version 1.0. To use the v3.0 boards, though, you will need to install the CP2104 VCP driver from Silicon Labs:

v1.0: FTDI Driver Requirements (Blue Boards)

Before you can start talking to the sniffer, you'll need to install a standard FTDI driver for the FT231x located on the device.

Find the appropriate FTDI VCP installer on the FTDI Driver Download Page, install it on you system, and then insert the sniffer in any USB port on your system.

Using the Sniffer

There are currently two ways to use the sniffer:

Nordic's nRF Sniffer Utility (Windows only)

If you are on Windows, the best user experience will be had by using the official Nordic nRFSniffer application, available as a download from Nordic Semiconductors after creating a 'My Pages' account, and regitering your device using the product ID located on the Bluefruit LE Sniffer packaging.

More information on using Nordic's nRF Sniffer application.

Python API (Cross-Platform, no Registration)

If you are not using Windows, or don't wish to create a MyPages account, the alternative is to use a Python interface to communicate with the nRFSniffer firmware, which will log any traffic to a libpcap file that can be opened directly in Wireshark.  This has been tested on OS X 10.10, Ubuntu 14.04 and Windows 7, but it currently doesn't support streaming data directly into Wireshark via named pipes (though this is possible with some platform-specific effort).

More information on using the Python API.

Last updated on Apr 06, 2017 Published on Nov 19, 2014