When you’re examining wireless networks in the field, inSSIDer is a great tool. However, since inSSIDer can only gather information from your computer’s Wi-Fi card, there are some pieces of the Wi-Fi puzzle missing.
Enter Wi-Spy and Chanalyzer, the spectrum analysis toolkit that gives you X-Ray vision into the invisible interference that your computer’s wireless adapter can’t see.
Why is Spectrum Analysis important? One of our customers who works in managed IT was responding to a call from one his clients who was experiencing drops in Wi-Fi coverage. Below are a couple of screenshots from the customer’s actual field recording — The first image shows what our customer saw with just his Wi-Fi card, and the second displays the exact same point of the recording with spectrum data added in:
Every device that emits RF signals has a unique signature shape. To display these shapes, MetaGeek’s spectrum analysis diagnostic tools work similarly to a thermal camera: The more constant a transmitter is the more red it becomes. Viewing the spectrum data using color by utilization helps us identify patterns of specific transmitters and their level of spectrum saturation.
In our customer’s case, the red shapes indicated several wireless security cameras. It ends up that a wireless security system had been installed next door to his client’s office, and it was interfering with the Wi-Fi– despite the fact that the access points were running on the proper channels.
As you saw in the spectrum image above, each of the non-overlapping Wi-Fi channels is experiencing overlapping interference from the cameras. In this case, using only a 2.4 GHz-capable network wasn’t a viable option for our customer’s client. They couldn’t change the wireless video cameras, but needed to make the Wi-Fi work. Thanks to the Spectrum Analysis toolkit, our customer was able to provide solid evidence for the need to switch to a 5 GHZ wireless network deployment. And, even better, our Managed IT customer was able to scan the 5 GHz band before deploying the new network to ensure there was no interference before and after installation.
Wireless video cameras aren’t the only source of non-Wi-Fi interference. Wireless sound systems, cordless phones, and even the microwave in your kitchen can and will cause interference in the 2.4 GHz band. These are just a few of the common culprits that you can’t see without the ability to peer into the wireless spectrum using MetaGeek’s Diagnostic Tools.
MetaGeek’s Wi-Spy DBx with Chanalyzer Pro provide you with our best spectrum analysis solution, analyzing both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, making you future-proof for all of the next generation Wi-Fi equipment.
The benefits of seeing all of the RF activity in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are huge when troubleshooting Wi-Fi issues in the field. Isn’t it time you took your troubleshooting to the next level?