What would be some recommendations for a minimal site survey test kit for SOHO/ROBO scenarios? Specifically, the types of equipment needed (e.g., signal generator, power meters, PDAs, WNIC cards, etc.) and the makes and models of good, yet fairly inexpensive brands?
Well, I would definately recommend a Proxim 11B/G wireless card:
But, if you're looking for the best detailed site survey software client, check cisco's 11a/b/g card:
Also, an Access Point...AP-600 is cool:
Or Cisco's AP1231g:
but if you ain't got the loot, the Linksys 11G:
As far as other items, what type of survey equipment do you need? antennas, cables, arrestors??
What type of environment? Factory, home, business?
You can get started very cheap, but remember...you get what you pay for! ;-)
As far as a good source to buy the equipment:
http://www.ingrammicro.com ! :-) ! ? ;-) ? lol
Thanks for the great info!
I'm looking to start with SOHO/ROBO site surveys and move up from there. I was wondering what the basic kit for performing indoor, single building surveys contained.
first of all to answer murray's question, you will need to go in for multiple APs in each building, there's no option, as i have seen that external antennas really dont work in buildings, antennas are are to cover more area, they will really not help in penetration.
aslo does anyone know of a good battery pack for site survey.
You dont need much surveying equipment for a SOHO network, just set up the AP and plug in a PC Card into a laptop and just walk around. If you download Netstumbler(.com) that will give you the coverage readings, the lower the -dbm value the better the coverage if you use the % value between 15% and 69% is 5.5 and over 70% is 11
I wanted to add to the responses that you've listed above. Here's some additional items to consider on a site survey kit. (I'm focusing the details to indoor installs)
First, external antennas have absolutely made a difference in many of the indoor deployments I've one. Think about it, if you place an omni near the corner of your coverage area you're wasting energy outside the building and losing it where you need it. I'd recommend the following: 2.2dBi and 5.5dBi omni, 90 & 180 degree patch/panel antenna, and a good ceiling mount omni. There are other specialized antennas like corner reflectors that are work very well, but you can qualify whether you need one based on the other antennas listed above.
Second, you need several APs. Don't get the home SOHO junk if you're focused on business users. If you're looking at a multi AP deployment indoors, the SOHO stuff will be a stretch. I'd highly recommend a Cisco 1200 (802.11b is fine for site surveys; you're just measuring 2.4GHz propogation most of the time; get one used on eBay) because it's a good quality radio, has external antennas and is 100mW (and power adjustable, which is key in high density, colocation environments like large hotel conference rooms, etc.) Next, you'll need to get yourself a high quality tripod (lighting tripods work the best) that goes really high (I recommend 12' minimally). What you then need to do is rig a mounting plate and fits on top of the tripod and you then mount the AP with different antennas on there. You use this to mach-deploy your AP and then walk the facility taking measurements of signal strength, nulls, noise, etc. Move the tripod in different locations until you have a plan to cover the facility. Play around with different antennas using this and you'll see the difference. High mounting locations make a big difference because of indoor obstructions/attenuators (that includes people!). Especially if furniture will move around frequently inside. (warehouses get complicated)
The software mentioned above should suffice to get you started. If you find yourself doing a lot of these, you'll want somethink like AirMagnet, which is well worth the money.
Hope that helps.