We are starting to progress more in to the WIFI troubleshooting area, whilst still surveying and implementing.
We have a netbook that we use for this using the WiSpy DBx adapter and Visiwave survey software. We use a number of other free apps such as Inssider, etc.
However we havent got anything aimed specifically at troubleshooting, other than experience and the above tools.
I have been looking at the Airmagent WIFI analyser express and pro as this is the only thing I have really found that is laptop based.
Does anypone have any comments on this or other recommendations? As ever cost is a factor, but the Airmagnet pro software is over ?3k anyway whn you put the support and card in to it!
I've found that the Airmagnet Pro and VoFi analyzer are invaluable. However, I do understand the words no capital purchase requests regardless of how much time it will save you. I've had some luck doing some troubleshooting with things like Microsoft's Network Monitor on XP and Win7. One of the great things you can do with this tool is perform packet captures on multiple interfaces. Great for troubleshooting problematic clients. Also, if you are using Windows 7 you can use some of the netsh commands to get your negotiated rate. It is a little cumbersome but for smaller sites it can be used in conjuction with a ftp transfer to track what your PHY rate really is. It is ok for just validating the network meets your build specs. On the Linux side you can use KISMET for free any day. I would go with the LiveCD version and a USB dongle to record to. Here are the netsh commands I use (Win7/Vista only):
netsh wlan show interface - Shows what your laptop is connected to
netsh wlan show networks mode=Bssid - Shows all visible networks by BSSID
FYI the Signal value is a percentage 0-100% which equals -100dBm to -50dBm
Honestly, if you are going to do troubleshooting pretty routinely invest in a box of donuts for your boss once or twice per week with an Airmagnet quote inside. Good luck.
Thanks for your input. I can definately see the value of the Airmagnet and subject to a small consultancy role we maybe carrying out the costs can be justified, but I wanted to make sure we are purchasing the right tools for the job. I appreciate that a software tool is unlikely to 100% toubleshoot issues, but I am fairly confident in my skills having attended the CWNA course (not taken test yet, my bad).
What is the reporting like on the Airmagnet, as customers often value pretty graphs more than straigh talking advice?
Luckily I am the boss, but think it would be easier if someone else was, then I could convince then to sign it off!
The reporting is not too bad. They have all the standard reports for legal compliance SOX, GLBA, HIPAA, PCI, DoD, etc. There is a section on the tool called AirWise. Based security and performance profile you specify it will provide you with a list of potential problems. You will want to work with the tool a bit before using it in production. If you can spare the time and money, the Airmagnet Expert Training is top notch. Keith Parsons was the instructor when I took the class and is unbelievably knowledgeable and entertaining. Good luck with the tools. I'll add a word of caution about Airmagnet, if you want to look down deep in the packets, this is not the tool. It does have a packet capture function. However, this is not the intent of the tool. It is meant to make thinks easier for you to spot. It may not be the best tool for doing things like wireless product development.