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Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any question and the answer will expand below.

Chanalyzer

What is the Density View?

The Density View displays how often a signal is detected at a specific amplitude. The graph shows signal amplitude over frequency. After a short time of gathering data, patterns begin to emerge in the Density View. The flat top pattern in the image represents a 40 MHz wide 802.11n file transfer. A density map view enables the user to quickly identify packet-based and analog patterns that may be interfering with your network. To see more specific information about a point on the graph, use the Inspector tool. The display options currently available in Chanalyzer Pro are: Current – This represents the received values at the most recent reading in the time span. Average – This is the average of the received spectrum activity in the selected time span. Max – This is the maximum points received across the band in the selected time span. Color by Amplitude – Display option to show highly populated frequency amplitude points using opacity with colors representing amplitudes. Color by Density – Display option to show highly populated frequency amplitude points using colors. Color by Utilization – Display option to show how constant transmissions are within a selected time range. Networks – By selecting Networks Chanalyzer will draw overlays of the SSIDs selected in the Networks Table. Transmitters (Pro only) – Chanalyzer Pro will attempt to automatically identify transmitters. This display option will toggle on the drawing of detected transmitters within the threshold settings. Outline – This represents the line Chanalyzer Pro attempts to match patterns too. This is most often used in creating a classifier. Inspector – This creates a hovering box above the cursor that displays specific numbers regarding a particular frequency amplitude point.

What is Utilization?

The Utilization (Duty Cycle) is a relative score that helps determine how usable a channel is. It measures the percentage of time at or above the Utilization Threshold. This threshold can be adjusted in the top left corner of the Utilization tab. The selected time span in the waterfall navigation is used in the Utilization calculation.

802.11g Utilization View at -75 dBm

How are the values in the Channels Table Calculated?

Current – This represents a single sweep from the Wi-Spy. The accumulation of these sweeps are used for the rest of the calculations below. Grade – This calculation uses the entire 20 Mhz width of a a Wi-Fi channel. Higher power levels near the center of the channel will affect the grade more negatively. A high grade of 90 or above can be interpreted as an “A” while 80 or above is a “B.” Anything below 70 is not recommended for Wi-Fi deployment. Average - For each channel range (for example, Wi-Fi Channel 1, 2401-2423MHz), Chanalyzer calculates the average power within that channel frequency range. Max - This value is the highest amplitude point within the Wi-Fi channel frequency range. Utilization – The percentage of all noise above a defined amplitude threshold. The default amplitude is -85dBm. Networks – Once network scanning is initialized Chanalyzer will count list the amount of networks detected

What is Chanalyzer?

Chanalyzer turns data collected from a Wi-Spy and a wireless network interface into highly interactive charts and graphs which enables users to visualize their wireless landscape. Chanalyzer uses both a Wi-Spy and a wireless network card. With the wireless network card, Chanalyzer can display available access points as they appear in the spectrum which helps users to interpret the data from their Wi-Spy. Wi-Spy data can be found in the Density, Waterfall and Channels Table views while network data from the wireless network card can be found in the Networks Table and Networks Graph. If you are running Chanalyzer in a virtual machine like VMWare, you will need an additional USB Wi-Fi adapter to view network overlays.

What are the requirements of Chanalyzer?

Chanalyzer 4 and Chanalyzer Pro require:
  • Wi-Spy 2.4x or Wi-Spy DBx hardware
  • Wi-Fi card (for Wi-Fi features)
  • Windows XP SP3, Vista or Windows 7
  • .Net 3.5 framework
  • USB

What are the differences between Chanalyzer 4 and Pro?

Both of the spectrum analysis programs are very similar. There are several additional features Chanalyzer Pro offers:
  • Report Builder
  • Waterfall Navigation
  • Utilization (Duty Cycle)
  • Device Finder
  • Automatic Device Pattern Matching

Why can’t I select the Wi-Spy in the Wi-Fi tab?

The Wi-Spy scans the physical layer, and can’t read packets. Chanalyzer pulls spectrum data from a Wi-Spy, and WiFi data from your wireless adapter. Chanalyzer will function without a wireless card, but the additional information can be very valuable in site surveys.

Where can I download Chanalyzer 4 or Pro?

You can download Chanalyzer 4 or Pro for free. A Wi-Spy is required for viewing and recording spectrum data, and a wireless adapter is required to overlay spectrum data with network information.

Chanalyzer 4 Download
Chanalyzer Pro Download

Chanalyzer Pro will install as a trial edition but can be unlocked by purchasing a license key.

How do I simultaneously record the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz?

With two Wi-Spy devices, you can simultaneously log the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. You can also alternate between them without creating additional files. Once a Wi-Spy is plugged in Chanalyzer will automatically start logging the data from both Wi-Spys. To toggle between each Wi-Spy use the session manager in Chanalyzer Pro: In Chanalyzer 4 a drop-down selection tool will appear in the bottom left corner of the application.

Should I disable my wireless adapter while scanning?

Disabling your wireless adapter will make for a more clear analysis. Wi-Fi cards continue to probe for APs in case it needs to roam at any point. The Wi-Spy will capture the noise generated by the wireless NIC. If there appear to be curves across the entire band and each is centered on a Wi-Fi channel it is likely you will want to turn off the wireless card. Pressing stop in Chanalyzer will not prevent the wireless card from probing. It only disables Wi-Fi logging in Chanalyzer.

How do I upgrade to Chanalyzer Pro?

You can purchase Chanalyzer Pro directly from the MetaGeek website. You can learn more about Chanalyzer Pro by visiting the product page. Chanalyzer Pro

I have Chanalyzer Pro but I don’t see Device Finder

The device finder tool in Chanalyzer Pro requires a small frequency range. In the Overview Pane, click and drag across the transmitter you would like to find. A new tab will appear in the details pane.

Does the DBx Pro include the Device Finder directional antenna?

There are two pieces to Device Finder. The first is a software tool which tracks the amplitude levels of a user-specified frequency range. This is included with Chanalyzer pro The directional antenna, also called Device Finder, is an optional accessory which can be purchased in addition to the DBx Pro bundle.

Why am I not seeing any WLAN SSIDs?

The Wi-Spy is not designed to read Wi-Fi data, it is designed to show noise generated by non-wi-fi and Wi-Fi together. Chanalyzer uses data from two sources, the Wi-Spy for the spectrum data and the computer’s wireless card for SSID and signal strength. If your computer does not have a wireless card, Chanalyzer will still function properly displaying Wi-Spy spectrum data. Some users have discovered that Chanalyzer will recognize their wireless card by using this hotfix for Windows XP from Microsoft. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968682#fixit4me

How do I create my own signatures?

You can download a Chanalyzer Pro evaluation guide which will take you step by step through signature creation. Evaluation Guide Or you can watch a 13 minute video. Fast Forward to 6:40 to see signature creation.

I have a Wi-Spy v1, where can I find the software?

Please download Chanalyzer 2.1.7 to use in Windows XP only.

Will Device Finder find Rogue Access Points?

The Device Finder tool (built into Chanalyzer Pro) is designed to track amplitude levels. Since the Wi-Spy is not capable of reading at the protocol level, the noise of a client can overpower an access point. The Wi-Spy itself cannot differentiate between two transmitters. This tool is designed to find cordless phones, hidden cameras, wireless headsets and any unknown interference sources. To track down rogue access points, use the Networks Table in the details pane. Check the SSID you would like to track. Chanalyzer will now track the RSSI levels in the networks graph.

Will Chanalyzer use my Wireless Card?

Chanalyzer uses the Wi-Spy for the spectrum analysis, and the wireless card through the windows wireless connection manager. If you run a program such as Intel Proset you will need to change the advanced options to allow Windows to manage the Wi-Fi.  You may also need to make sure Windows WLAN Auto Config Service or Windows Zero Config Service is running.

What is the Density View?

The Density View displays how often a signal is detected at a specific amplitude. The graph shows signal amplitude over frequency. After a short time of gathering data, patterns begin to emerge in the Density View. The flat top pattern in the image represents a 40 MHz wide 802.11n file transfer. A density map view enables the user to quickly identify packet-based and analog patterns that may be interfering with your network. To see more specific information about a point on the graph, use the Inspector tool. The display options currently available in Chanalyzer Pro are: Current – This represents the received values at the most recent reading in the time span. Average – This is the average of the received spectrum activity in the selected time span. Max – This is the maximum points received across the band in the selected time span. Color by Amplitude – Display option to show highly populated frequency amplitude points using opacity with colors representing amplitudes. Color by Density – Display option to show highly populated frequency amplitude points using colors. Color by Utilization – Display option to show how constant transmissions are within a selected time range. Networks – By selecting Networks Chanalyzer will draw overlays of the SSIDs selected in the Networks Table. Transmitters (Pro only) – Chanalyzer Pro will attempt to automatically identify transmitters. This display option will toggle on the drawing of detected transmitters within the threshold settings. Outline – This represents the line Chanalyzer Pro attempts to match patterns too. This is most often used in creating a classifier. Inspector – This creates a hovering box above the cursor that displays specific numbers regarding a particular frequency amplitude point.

What is Utilization?

The Utilization (Duty Cycle) is a relative score that helps determine how usable a channel is. It measures the percentage of time at or above the Utilization Threshold. This threshold can be adjusted in the top left corner of the Utilization tab. The selected time span in the waterfall navigation is used in the Utilization calculation.

802.11g Utilization View at -75 dBm

How are the values in the Channels Table Calculated?

Current – This represents a single sweep from the Wi-Spy. The accumulation of these sweeps are used for the rest of the calculations below. Grade – This calculation uses the entire 20 Mhz width of a a Wi-Fi channel. Higher power levels near the center of the channel will affect the grade more negatively. A high grade of 90 or above can be interpreted as an “A” while 80 or above is a “B.” Anything below 70 is not recommended for Wi-Fi deployment. Average - For each channel range (for example, Wi-Fi Channel 1, 2401-2423MHz), Chanalyzer calculates the average power within that channel frequency range. Max - This value is the highest amplitude point within the Wi-Fi channel frequency range. Utilization – The percentage of all noise above a defined amplitude threshold. The default amplitude is -85dBm. Networks – Once network scanning is initialized Chanalyzer will count list the amount of networks detected

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