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EkahauWireless Site Survey: Strong analytical capabilities

By , Network World
June 22, 2009 12:01 AM ET

Network World - Company: Ekahau
Product: Wireless Site Survey Professional
Verdict: Strong analytical capabilities

Ekahau is best known for their real-time location and tracking (RTLS) products, but it is also in the site-survey business – in fact, one of the key applications for Ekahau Wireless Site Survey is to assist in planning and deploying an RTLS installation, which requires precise calibration for optimal accuracy.

We tried the Ekahau Wireless Site Survey Professional tool with their optional NIC-300 sensor (a dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi Cardbus adapter), which is $145. We ran this app on a tablet PC, and finally found an undeniably good reason to purchase one of these.

Ekahau Wireless Site Survey is both a predictive and an analytical tool. It's very easy to set requirements for a given installation, in terms of access point signal strength, SNR, throughput, and even access point density. Predefined requirements for various classes of service, including voice, are supplied, making it easy to get started. While the placement of simulated access points in the predictive case is supported, the application is more oriented towards analytical, walk-around surveys.

The program can guess at access point locations in this case, and it's easy to correct for any errors in this type of automated access point placement – just drag and drop. Analysis of results is performed graphically, including a verification of whether the network is meeting its specified requirements (called "Network Health").

A Standard version, minus network planning (predictive capabilities), automated reporting and GPS is available at $1,995. Ekahau also offers free, scaled-down site-survey tool (which we did not evaluate) called HeatMapper.

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Read more about wireless & mobile in Network World's Wireless & Mobile section.

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