Wi-Fi test: How we did it

How we tested AirMagnet Spectrum Analyzer and BlueScanner.

We used AirMagnet Spectrum Analyzer on an HP ZV5000 (AMD64@2.4GHz, 1G-byte dynamic RAM) and a Toshiba Satellite M35XS-S111 (AMD's Celeron 1.8GHz with 256M bytes) both running Windows XP Professional SP2, 32-bit edition. We tested AMSA with its internal and external antennas. We found the external to be vastly preferable, and used it exclusively for our device testing.

Several known noise sources were used to test the analyzer's ability to identify consumer-electronics noise sources. Correctly identified were several brands and models of 2.4-GHz phones and 5.8-GHz FM phones from Panasonic and Uniden. We also found a noisy microwave oven (GE 2003 model). We also tested out-of-band Wi-Fi network interface cards (within the frequency spectrum that's tracked) as well as Bluetooth devices (Belkin Bluetooth adapters, PCs, Macs and other devices with integral Bluetooth in active discovery modes that produce signals), and a broadband noise source (a leaky old automobile generator).

We tested BlueScanner on the same platform as the AirMagnet Spectrum Analyzer, but had to disable the integral HP Bluetooth adapter, as it was incompatible with Windows XP SP2 driver set. We principally used a Belkin Class 1 USB-Bluetooth adapter.

We tested detection in the lab by using Sony Ericsson T610s, several Nokia phones, Plantronics and Scala Bluetooth earpieces, and two Apple Powerbook G4s (one with integral adapter and one with an OEM Bluetooth adapter) to detect the adapters and features of each device. We turned the features on and off (where possible, as different adapters and drivers have combined service toggles for each specific Bluetooth device) and noted that BlueScanner sees the changes in service advertisements or the results of the queries. Usually this takes just a few seconds, but we noted that some drivers change the feature set very slowly, and we used other Bluetooth device queries to verify the slowness of the feature changes.

We also tested BlueScanner in a very densely populated area of tech-industry people. BlueScanner identifies items quickly, but needs a while to update the features in each Bluetooth device it "hears." Logs of sessions and locations can be saved for future audit and scrutiny.

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Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.