Keys and MAC addresses

Devices are indexed two primary ways in Kismet:

  1. Keys

    A key is unique for each device. The key is derived from the MAC address, but contains additional information about the PHY type.

    This allows multiple devices to have the same MAC under different PHY types; this can be particularly important when using non-traditional PHY types like those derived from SDR captures, when the devices do not have an actual MAC address.

  2. MAC addresses

    The MAC address is a (theoretically) unique identifier given to each device at manufacture time. It is used to identify the device uniquely on a network.

    Typically, the the IEEE assigns each manufacturer a block of addresses with a common header (the OUI) and the manufacturer is responsible for creating unique identifiers within that block.

    For datasources without a defined MAC address, Kismet will attempt to synthesize a MAC address from the unique data available.

MAC address masking

On queries and filters affecting MAC addresses, Kismet supports complete addresses or partial addresses with masking.

A masked address resembles the syntax typically used for IP network masking: [MAC]/[MASK].

For instance, to match only the OUI, a masked MAC of:


This would match any MAC address where the OUI, or first three bytes, are “aa:bb:cc”. A similar feature to match on the first four bytes would be: