Kismetdb to PCAP

The kismetdb_to_pcap tool converts the unified kismetdb log to standard PCAP format logs for use with any tool that processes PCAP logs - Wireshark, tcpdump, or any number of other processing tools.

The more modern PCAP-NG format allows for mixing different types of data (for instance, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) into one logfile, and preserves which capture source it was received on, but isn’t well supported by all tools (Wireshark and tshark offer excellent support, however).

kismetdb_to_pcap can convert to PCAP, PCAP-NG, split packets based on type, datasource, generate multiple smaller log files, and more.

Converting to PCAP-NG

kismetdb_to_pcap --in some-kismet-log.kismet --out some-pcap-log.pcapng

This converts the log to a standard pcapng file. This file contains the most information and is most useful in tools like Wireshark.

If you have only one type of data - for instance, Wi-Fi packets captured from a single interface - this file will be usable with any tool which uses libpcap (such as aircrack, tcpdump, and almost all other tools); otherwise it will be necessary to export individual original-format PCAP files for each capture type for legacy tools.

Converting to legacy PCAP

kismetdb_to_pcap can log to legacy PCAP files as well:

kismetdb_to_pcap --in some-kismet-log.kismet --out some-pcap-log.pcap --old-pcap

Legacy PCAP files are limited to one DLT, or data link type; the link type is the type of packet, for instance raw 802.11, radiotap signal headers, Bluetooth, and so on.

Legacy PCAP files have no concept of interfaces or data sources, so if you have multiple datasources in Kismet, all the packets will be available, but it will be impossible to see what source originally captured each packet, unless you split by datasource (more on this in the next section).

If your kismetdb log has more than one link type, you can specify which one will be included in the legacy pcap using the --dlt option:

kismetdb_to_pcap --in some-kismet-log.kismet --out some-pcap-log.pcap --old-pcap --dlt 127

To see what linktypes are included in your kismetdb log, use the --list-datasources option (see the next section for more).

Listing and selecting datasources

kismetdb_to_pcap will list the datasources and what link types each has captured:

$ kismetdb_to_pcap --in some-kismet-log.kismet --list-datasources
* Found KismetDB version 6
* Collecting info about datasources...
Datasource #0 (5FE308BD-0000-0000-0000-00C0CAA6846C xenon-mt2 wlx00c0caa6846c) 766980 packets
   DLT 127: IEEE802_11_RADIO 802.11 plus radiotap header
Datasource #1 (5FE308BD-0000-0000-0000-00C0CAA68473 xenon-mt1 wlx00c0caa68473) 704950 packets
   DLT 127: IEEE802_11_RADIO 802.11 plus radiotap header
Datasource #2 (5FE308BD-0000-0000-0000-00C0CAA68471 xenon-mt0 wlx00c0caa68471) 3656794 packets
   DLT 127: IEEE802_11_RADIO 802.11 plus radiotap header
Datasource #3 (689C0913-0000-0000-0000-0000865F0805 rtladsb-0 rtladsb-0) 0 packets
   No packets seen by this datasource
Datasource #4 (5FE308BD-0000-0000-0000-9CEFD5FDD05C xenon-rt28 wlx9cefd5fdd05c) 0 packets
   No packets seen by this datasource

Each datasource has a unique identifier, or UUID. Because multiple datasources could have the same interface (for example when using remote capture), datasources must be referred to by UUID.

Logs can be extracted for one or more datasources:

kismetdb_to_pcap --in some-kismet-log.kismet --out some-pcap-log.pcap --old-pcap --datasource 5FE308BD-0000-0000-0000-00C0CAA6846C --datasource 5FE308BD-0000-0000-0000-00C0CAA68473

will generate a legacy PCAP log with only the first and second interfaces.

Splitting logs

If you have multiple datasources and want to generate a log file for each, or extremely large log files and want to split the logs by packet count or by log size, kismetdb_to_pcap can do that, as well:

kismetdb_to_pcap --in some-kismet-log.kismet --out some-pcap-log.pcap --old-pcap --split-datasources

will make a pcap for each datasource named some-kismet-log.kismet-[uuid].

The --split-packets [#] and --split-size [kb] options allow splitting packets by count or by total packet size in Kb:

kismetdb_to_pcap --in some-kismet-log.kismet --out some-pcap-log.pcap --old-pcap --split-packets 10000

will make a pcap every 10000 packets, named some-pcap-log.pcap-[XXXXXX].

The --split-datasources option can be combined with the --split-packets or the --split-size options.


-i / --in={ filename }

Path to the kismetdb file to process

-o / --out={ filename }

Path to the pcap or pcapng file that will be written

-s / --skip-clean

kismetdb_to_pcap automatically optimizes and cleans the kismetdb file when opening it, repairing any partial journal files and reducing the overall size. If this has already been done, or you don’t want to alter the logfile, you can skip cleaning up the log.

-f / --force

Force overwriting any existing files, by default kismetdb_to_pcap will refuse to erase existing output files.

-v / --verbose

Verbose output and progress


kismetdb_to_pcap generates PCAP-NG files by default. The PCAP-NG format is more flexible and contains more of the original information, but may not be readable by all tools.

This will force generating original PCAP format files. PCAP will support only one link type per file.

--dlt={ linktype# }

Limit dumping packets of a single link type; required when generating legacy PCAP files instead of PCAP-NG.

Available linktypes are shown in the --list-datasources output.


List datasources and link types in the capture file.

--datasource={ uuid }

Includes packets from this datasource.

Multiple datasource arguments can be provided to include multiple sources in a single output file.


Split the output into multiple files, by the datasource which captured the packet.

--split-packets={ num }

Split the output into multiple files, with each file containing at most {num} packets.

--split-size={ size-in-kb }

Split the output into multiple files, with each file containing at most {kb} bytes.