Wi-Spy + Chanalyzer 5NEW!
Now with 802.11ac support!
Wi-Fi has revolutionized the way we work. People can get online from any location, stay connected via mobile devices, and eliminate cables and wires. It’s magical and it’s awesome. Everyone’s happy, and considers reliable Wi-Fi a “given.”
When Wi-Fi isn’t working, though, it’s a frustrating mystery. Users start complaining of dropped or slow signals and dead zones. Important data isn’t being transferred, people can’t get their tasks done, and the workplace grinds to a halt. You’re in charge of Wi-Fi, but the same reason Wi-Fi is so awesome — it’s invisible — is why it’s so hard to fix.
Wi-Spy and Chanalyzer were created to help you fix these Wi-Fi headaches… FAST!
— Larry Greenblatt, CISSP, CISM, CEH, ECSA
See the invisible with Wi-Spy
If you can see it, you can fix it
Wi-Spy is a custom USB spectrum analyzer designed specifically for troubleshooting Wi-Fi issues. Unlike most Wi-Fi tools, Wi-Spy is able to measure ALL RF signals, not just Wi-Fi traffic. With Wi-Spy DBx, you can measure RF signals in the 5 GHz band, which is quickly becoming as crowded as the 2.4 GHz band!
By integrating the raw RF signal measurements from Wi-Spy with standard information from your Wi-Fi radio, Chanalyzer creates a complete picture of how Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi transmitters impact your wireless networks, giving you the information you need to resolve the issues affecting your users.
Quickly locate interference
Track down offending signals using Device Finder
The standard antennas found in most wireless devices are omni-directional, so they receive signals from all directions. This can be useful, but when you need to find out where interference is coming from, a directional antenna can pinpoint your mystery device.
The Device Finder 2.4 GHz Directional Antenna is just what it sounds like — attach it to the Wi-Spy and point it in any given direction to quickly track down troublesome interferers.
Choose the best channel
Because you’re better than auto-channel selection
Chanalyzer shows you the signal strength and RF activity of co-channel networks, overlapping channel networks, and non-Wi-Fi transmitters on each Wi-Fi channel. The Density View gives you a color-coded snapshot of both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi activity at any given frequency on your chosen band, and the Channels Table lets you view more details about your chosen networks. Armed with this information you can pick the quietest channel for each of your access points.
There are three types of interference that can eat away at your Wi-Fi network speed.
- Overlapping Channel interference occurs when networks are on adjacent channels that overlap.
- Co-channel interference happens when multiple devices are competing for airspace on the same channel.
- Non-Wi-Fi interference is the hardest type to see. Baby monitors, microwaves, wireless security cameras, and other devices transmitting in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band can all cause non-Wi-Fi interference. You can see this type with Wi-Spy and Chanalyzer.
Fortunately, overlapping channel interference can be reduced or eliminated by simply selecting the proper Wi-Fi channel for your network. But which channel is the right one?
To answer that question, let’s get technical for a moment. The 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n spectrum (a.k.a. where your Wi-Fi lives) is made up of 11 channels, centered 5 MHz apart. Each channel is 20 – 22 MHz wide. For all the channels to peacefully coexist, the 2.4GHz band would need to be about 242 MHz wide, but it’s not. It’s only 100 MHz wide. So, the band is pretty crowded. The channels have to overlap each other to cram into a too-small space, and this is how you get overlapping channel interference.
Every channel in the 2.4GHz spectrum is overlapping, except channels 1, 6, and 11. Why is overlap bad? It’s bad because Wi-Fi is a very polite conversation. If your wireless router hears others talking on the same channel, it will wait for its turn to talk. If there are a lot of routers talking, there’s going to be a lot of waiting around. You can lose 40-60% of your performance this way. Keep your network antisocial and isolated on either channels 1, 6, or 11, and you won’t have that problem.
The second type of interference (Co-channel interference) isn’t as big of a deal. Think of it as a “if you can’t avoid them, join them” situation. If you can’t pick a non-overlapping channel that no other networks are on, it’s ok to share a channel. It’s still better to choose 1,6, or 11 (even if you have to share with another network) rather than choose another channel that is NOT 1, 6, or 11.
The last type of interference (non-Wi-Fi interference) is problematic because your computer’s Wi-Fi card can’t see it. Luckily, Wi-Spy can, and it works with Chanalyzer to give you better insight into your Wi-Fi network than ever before.
Chanalyzer will allow you to see all the surrounding networks in your environment and will help you eliminate the first two causes of interference (co-channel and overlapping). With the addition of Wi-Spy, Chanalyzer visualizes the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz RF spectrum, so you can see interference caused by baby monitors, microwaves, wireless security cameras, Xboxes and any other nearby device transmitting in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz spectrum – all of which are invisible to your regular Wi-Fi tools. As 802.11ac adoption continues, the problem of overlapping bonded channels in the 5 GHz band will become more of an issue. Luckily, Chanalyzer 5 is ready!
Troubleshoot Spectrum Remotely
Leverage your Cisco CleanAir APs to troubleshoot from afar
With the optional Cisco CleanAir accessory for Chanalyzer, you gain immediate visibility into the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band from the perspective of your Cisco Access Points without leaving your desk.
Being able to perform spectrum analysis from locations throughout your WLAN gives you a front to seat to the action– whether it be down the hall, across town, or on another continent.
Document your results
Explain wireless issues to your end users, no matter how technical they are.
With just a few clicks using the included Report Builder Accessory, you can add a snapshot of any image or table displayed in Chanalyzer. Add your own pictures, create your own descriptions, or just use the defaults. After you’re done, export to PDF and present it to your client or boss.
Mobile Lab-quality Spectrum Analysis
Our Chanalyzer Lab Accessory delivers lab-quality spectrum analysis anytime, anywhere right from your laptop. An expert’s tool designed for deep-dive looks outside your Wi-Spy’s default settings. Learn More
- Use industry standard or customized presets to target your device.
- Plug in directly to your Wi-Spy with a RP-SMA connection.
- Export data into a .CSV file
Visualize the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands to diagnose issues with your Wi-Fi network.
- Wi-Spy DBx
- Chanalyzer 5
Visualize the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands to diagnose issues with your Wi-Fi network.
Locate interfering devices, and document your spectrum findings with a deliverable report.
- Wi-Spy DBx
- Chanalyzer 5
- Report Builder
- Device Finder Antenna
Locate and identify interference sources. Visualize network conversations to quickly identify network congestion. All you need for spectrum and packet analysis in the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.
free 2-day shipping + 30 day money back guarantee
What Users Are Saying
Blake Krone, Wireless Architect
MetaGeek helps give that aha moment to someone when the light bulb turns on and they finally can understand a problem and hopefully solve it.
Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games
We used the Wi-Spy DBx extensively across various venues to identify unauthorized access points and to map out our internal Wi-Fi coverage. It’s a great tool that helps us troubleshoot more accurately and quickly! The Wi-Spy units work extremely well… all members of my staff really enjoyed having them in our toolkit.
Every good WLAN engineer wants there to be no mystery to what’s going on with the RF in their environments, and MetaGeek nicely demystifies the complex. As the 802.11ac clouds gather over the WLAN landscape, things in the RF domain are about to get much busier, and more complicated. Understanding what’s going on truly benefits from seeing what your RF “looks” like through the lens of good tools. If you have no MetaGeek utilities in your toolbox, you’re missing out on powerful magic at a fair price.
Marcus Burton, CWNP
MetaGeek’s Wi-Spy products have the right features and are both user-friendly and affordable… any WLAN engineer should consider MetaGeek at the top of the list for spectrum analysis. I’m highly impressed with their unique feature enhancements and continued passion for affordable RF visibility.
Jeanette Lee, Ruckus Wireless
Recently, our tech support group asked if I could help them out with a customer. Apparently, the customer was seeing constant drops on the wireless network. One of our engineers told him that it looked a lot like some kind of RF interference. But without an analyzer, no one could prove it.
So, off I went with my Wi-Spy 2.4x to see the customer. The first thing we did after I got there was hook it up and check out the RF topology. Although the noise ceiling was a bit higher than I’d have liked, it didn’t seem too bad. Then, the early morning shift in the warehouse next door got a break. About 15 people walked into the break room (next to the offices) and the first thing they all did was to line up at the microwaves and heat up something to eat.
I happened to be watching Chanalyzer when this happened and we saw his 802.11b/g network get almost completely lost in the interference. You could barely see it in the background, the RF from the break room was that bad.
After letting the customer “drive” on the walk around with the Wi-Spy in his own laptop, he realized just how bad it truly was. The admin that I was working with was so impressed with the Wi-Spy that he immediately got his boss to approve the purchase of several.
The Wi-Spy DBx is an excellent product for the vast majority of those people looking to get data about their 2.4 and 5GHz spectrums. The folks at MetaGeek have done a graceful job of putting some very powerful tools well within the reach of those that are looking to jump into the wireless game or are looking to augment their personal toolkit with gear that does something that would otherwise be unavailable to them.