I am looking for a recommendation on a good wireless site survey tool/application. We will be setting up wireless at all of our locations this year and I would like to mail the hardware to each site in advance and get a good understanding on how many AP we will need.
Everyone has their own method for doing site surveys, it can be as easy as walking around with a laptop verifying connectivity (think Verizon Guy) or it can be complicated. My suggestion to you is to let the application drive the effort. Terrawave solutions makes some of the best and read to use equipment out of the box but it is costly..http://www.terra-wave.com/shop/site-survey-tools-site-survey-kits-c-260_262.html. Airmagnet makes software applications that you can use on a workstation that willl give excellent results as well. However it can be pricey. There are also applications out there from Ekahau, Aerohive (I guessing on that one...lol) and any other major vendor to assist with the process. If this is just a one time thing that you might not need again it might be better to just tag along and hire it out.
Thanks, I will start looking at them. Cost is not a big concern, 80 + sites, I can budget it in. I was looking for an all in one unit I can fedex around, not all the techs are that familiar with wireless and something user friendly would be nice.
The new Tamograph 3.0 coming out in a couple weeks is quite impressive for only 25% the cost of Airmagnet. Very easy to use and does the important things well and smoothly. More importantly, will an experienced/trained person going to be performing the surveys?
My biased two cents: Ekahau Site Survey is a pretty good planning / site survey tool as well. Who else provides true 3D planning, capacity planning/analysis, and active+passive surveys that work without any pre-configuration? Also, consider ease of use/learning (like you said that's important), as well as how the heatmaps look.
You'll be saving a lot of time if you make the off-site plan carefully, but for that you want to choose a really good, three dimensional planning tool.
Still about ease of use, Ekahau Mobile Survey is the first enterprise-grade site survey tool that works on a tablet or even a phone (Android). It's very low cost, integrates with Ekahau Site Survey, and brings ease of use to a new level for site surveying.
We also provide training for all the tools, webinar based, classroom training, you name it.
ESS was also the first tool that truly pioneered the market, think of it as the iPhone of the site survey tools. 10 years in the business, 15,000+ happy paying Ekahau Site Survey customers, 500,000+users with Ekahau site survey technology.
So much for the sales pitch. Whatever tools you end up with, we wish you the best of luck!
Jussi / Ekahau
I use Airmagnet which is pretty powerful and does what I need it to do. As an enterpise tool you can imagine its going to be expensive and licensed.
It boils down to cost, ease of use and of course on going support for the product. Remember with any site survey tool, training on how to use it is probably the most important cost you will incurr.
I am interested to look at others to see what they bring to the table as I cannot believe AM is the only major player out there.
[quote]I am interested to look at others to see what they bring to the table as I cannot believe AM is the only major player out there.[/quote]
No, AM is not the only major player. There are three major players, and all of them have been mentioned in this thread: AM, Ekahau Site Survey, and TamoGraph Site Survey. Why these three? For many reasons, but primarily because these are the only site survey products that use custom packet capture drivers, which ensures high accuracy of measurements and provides a few other benefits. There are other products on the market, for example Covera Zone or Visiwave, but they rely on the standard Windows scanning interface; it is extremely inaccurate and doesn't allow the application to extract vital information from captured packets (because there is no access to packets).
If you want to pick the best one out of the three, download trial versions and see for yourself. A useful URL with a feature matrix: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wireless_site_survey_applications . Also, you can find a few TamoGraph screen shots and videos here: http://www.tamos.com/products/wifi-site-survey/ . Speaking of TamoGraph 3.0 mentioned by harmonic -- yes, it's coming soon (2-3 weeks) and it will add 3D RF planning, a.k.a predictive surveys.
Just like Jussi who voted for his tool, Ekahau, I vote for our tool, TamoGraph :-) But the choice, of course, is yours.
I am doubting that multiple techs will be able to give you a consistent quality result.
Even if they are all familiar with wireless, I'm sure their experience levels will be different, and have probably used different tools. Just a different walking pace may make a difference.
I would either use the same team to run the tests or have all the people that will be perfomrming the tests get the exact same training on the procedures to be used.
I'm sure that most of them would like to get the experience doing surveys if they haven't done some already.
Good luck with whatever package you choose.
PS: I'd probably go with Tessco too, if I had the budget for it.
^ Wlanman pretty echoed my thoughts. Plenty of useful advice regarding survey software offered in this thread but what is really critical is the person performing the survey. The way I think I'd tackle a large deployment like this is to:
* Choose your survey application & spectrum analysis application
* Have a quick play (e.g. - do a few small surveys at local offices)
* Do some reading (if pointing to a single source of info, it would be the CWDP book..awesome!... at least read a few of the more relevant chapters)
* Re-survey areas you already surveyed with newly acquired knowledge
* Write up a survey plan (rough how-to for performing the surveys) - use this in the next step
* Gather (fly-in) all the guys who will be doing the surveys and perform the theoretical (and practical) training for them. Obviously this may not be feasible but with an "80-site budget", hopefully it would be.
Per Wlanman above, ideally, the same small team would go from location to location performing the surveys but this may not be an option.
The 'easier' the surveys, the less strict I would be with my plan (if I were in that situation). For example, if you had 80 generally 'easy' surveys (Offices with data-only requirements), you may be able to drop some of the steps. If however you had 80 'hard' surveys (Hospitals and Warehouses with data, voice and location requirements) I would be inclined with sticking to my plan.
Just my take. :)
Tamograph doesnt support predictive survey.?????....but will soon i just re-read your post :-)
These days, that function altho not essential, can save time and money for any wlan survey because you can simply deploy/install from a predictive then complete a post physical site survey to verify and validate your predicitve survey.