Why we need your location information…

News, Support

Since iOS 13, Apple has disallowed developers from obtaining the name of the currently connected Wifi network unless the user has explicitly opted-in to location sharing. While these two elements may seem unrelated, they are part of a greater push to preserve your privacy.

We don’t need to actually know where you are to run IP Scanner but we are obliged to request access to this information in order to read the name of your connected Wifi network. This is in turn essential for saving custom devices names and badges.

It is possible to run IP Scanner without this access, but the scan results are limited to our educated guesses about the nature of the scanned devices and you cannot fix or reassign names and badges.

Restoring MAC addresses on iOS 11 (sort of)

News, Support

With iOS 11, Apple has radically reduced access to underlying Unix routines that many networking apps rely on. As many of you have already noticed, it is no longer possible to obtain MAC address on iOS 11. Many folks have already detailed the problem in depth (e.g., https://netanalyzer.helpscoutdocs.com/article/119-mac-addresses-arent-available-under-ios-11) so we won’t go into all the ramifications here.

The one silver lining here is that the entire dev community is working with Apple to try to find a solution and as soon as one is found we will update IP Scanner to take advantage of it.

In the interim, we are in the privileged position of being multi-platform and have therefore implemented a way to transfer discovered MAC addresses from the Mac OS version of IP Scanner over to the iOS version, either through a direct data dump, or incrementally using iCloud sync.

To take advantage of this process, you can use any version of IP Scanner for the Mac. Launch the Mac app, then launch the iOS app. Look for the import option in the Scanner Tools.





Understanding the IP Scanner Debug screen

Developer, News, Support

Networks can be amazingly complex; new protocols (and new twists on old ones) appear all the time.  We do our best to accommodate many common situations but sometimes the default configuration of IP Scanner may not be suitable for your network environment.  For example, multicast DNS provides better information with regards to device names, but does not always reflect actual public DNS records for your network segment.

The Debug window, which is accessed from the IP Scanner Help menu, provides a means for power users to tweak IP Scanner’s behaviour.

What are these cryptic options at the bottom?

DNS: enables DNS lookups.  Note: DNS lookups can generate considerable network traffic.
DIG: use DIG for DNS lookups (spawns separate threads) instead of system APIs, DNSServiceQueryRecord(), etc.
LCL: use local multicast DNS queries instead of designated DNS servers

MAC: only display devices that have a valid MAC address
ZZZ: enables support for Bonjour Sleep Proxy detection
NBT: enables scanning for NBT / Windows File Sharing
NDP: enable IPv6 scanning



Hey, my iPad has morphed into my Apple TV! (or … understanding the Bonjour Sleep Proxy Service)

Developer, News, Support, Uncategorized

Devices appearing to “steal” other devices’ network identities (and therefore also their customizations) is an unfortunate side-effect of network segments containing Apple TVs, Airport Base-stations and certain other devices that implement a network service knows as the “Bonjour Sleep Proxy Service”. This can lead to symptoms such as multiple, identical entries for some devices or individual entries switching IP numbers with alarming frequency.

Here’s why this happens: devices that typically are inactive on the network for long periods of time (cell phones, tablets, iOS devices, etc) go into a standby mode to save power. Since they do eventually need to respond to network requests, however, some of these sleeping devices use the Bonjour Sleep Proxy protocol to allow the Airport Base Station, Apple TV (or other device supporting the sleep proxy protocol) to take network requests on their behalf. For this handoff to work, the Airport must masquerade as the sleeping device by temporarily “stealing” its MAC address; the former then wakes up the sleeping device when it receives a network request intended for the latter and returns its identity so it can respond accordingly.

This behaviour makes those sleeping devices appear to have the same MAC address as the base station (or an iPhone suddenly turns into a second Apple TV, etc), leading to multiple entries with the same MAC address but different IP numbers and generally confusing scan results.

If you have a network that displays this behaviour, there are a couple of workarounds:

1) add those devices that tend to get hijacked as ‘manual entries’ – this will supersede the dynamically scanned entry. You can then optionally enable the ‘Display current Ping status’ preference to see if the device is actually currently present on the network.

2) disable network services that use the Bonjour Proxy, such as ‘Wake for Wi-Fi network access’ and other wake-on-demand services.

3) disable the ‘allow duplicate MAC addresses & IP numbers’ option in the IP Scanner prefs, although in some cases you may then get an incomplete view of your network.

4) be aware that this phenomenon exists; understand it and live with it – Remember: the technology exists in order to save power and make the world a better place!

More information: search for ‘Bonjour sleep proxy’ will return a number of more-or-less technical results. Here’s a pretty good primer for understanding and troubleshooting the service: http://stuartcheshire.org/SleepProxy/