AirMagnet Integrates for Accuracy

By Eric Griffith

February 06, 2006

The company says its site survey and spectrum analysis tools will now work together to focus on performance issues.

Two great tastes that taste great together: site survey and radio frequency (RF) spectrum analysis. After all, why shouldn’t you know about problem spots in your network before you even install it? That’s how AirMagnet feels, and that's why the latest versions of its two products in those categories — AirMagnet Survey 3.0  and AirMagnet Spectrum Analyzer 2.0 — will integrate their abilities, even though the products will continue to be sold separately.

“They’ll still work by themselves,” says Wade Williamson, Product Manager for AirMagnet. “But together, you get combined functionality neither has all by itself.”

This marks the first time that the company is building its AirWISE software analysis engine for into the survey tool. AirWISE handles management and analysis of all 802.11 channels, and contains alarms to alert administrators of problems.

Survey PRO 3.0 will also integrate with Microsoft MapPoint and support for global position system (GPS) coordinates to facilitate outdoor site surveys such as mesh networks. An additional feature is capacity planning to avoid overload of users on access points (APs). It will now run on laptops using Intel Centrino chipsets; previously, laptops needed a third-party Wi-Fi card with a supported chip inside.

Spectrum Analyzer 2.0 has a new dashboard interface to tell 802.11 devices from other wireless products that may be using the same RF spectrum. AirMagnet has added identifiers for 15 new sources of interference, everything from low-frequency microwave ovens to Bluetooth devices to just about anything using modulation schemes similar to Wi-Fi. It even looks at the 4.9GHz spectrum reserved for first responder communications.

The software can now capture data for playback as well — in fact, the saved data can be displayed in a free-to-download version of the Spectrum Analyzer software, so techs in the field can send data back to the home office. Recording will only work if the user also has the separate Spectrum Analyzer data capture card.

Williamson says that “no one else has done this in the past,” as the combination of site survey and spectrum analysis is very new, but AirMagnet did get beat to the punch by at least one announcement last week, when Ekahau announced that its site survey tool will be integrating with the InterpretAir WLAN Survey software from Fluke Networks. Cost for InterpretAir is $3,460 for one user, compared to AirMagnet’s bundled products for close to $7,000. Individually, it's $3,695 for Survey PRO 3.0 ($1,995 for the standard version), and $3,995 for Spectrum Analyzer 2.0.

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