WLAN Branches Out

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2008-04-14 Print this article Print

AirDefense and MetaGeek aim analysis tools at wider audiences.

Eager to catch the wave of 802.11n wireless network upgrades and rollouts presumably on the way, wireless LAN tools vendors are tuning up their products and platforms with an eye toward making high-end wireless planning technologies such as spectrum analysis available to a wider range of customers.

To this end, AirDefense recently added SA (spectrum analysis) capabilities to its AirDefense Enterprise 7.3 solution, and MetaGeek significantly improved its low-cost, laptop-based spectrum analyzer Chanalyzer.

SA helps administrators find non-Wi-Fi sources of interference in the unlicensed 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectra.

Many non-Wi-Fi devices, such as cordless phones and Bluetooth devices, operate in those frequencies, often using different modulation schemes. Too many transmitters in the same airspace can lead to interference, resulting in service interruptions or signal degradation for the Wi-Fi network.

eWEEK Labs evaluates the coming WLAN tools wave. Click here to see what they found. 

Spectrum analyzers provide the insight into the physical layer of wireless networking needed to help identify and eradicate those sources of interference.

During my tests of the two wireless analysis tools, I was impressed to see the steps that AirDefense and MetaGeek have taken to put their utilities within reach of a wider array of organizations.

I recommend that administrators evaluate these offerings as they prepare to take on 802.11n.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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