AZO Takes Measure of WLANs

AZO Technologies' VisiWave Site Survey gathers WLAN RF data and produces visually compelling survey reports, making it an indispensable tool for WLAN consultants and administrators.

Azo Technologies VisiWave Site Survey gathers WLAN RF data and produces visually compelling survey reports, making it an indispensable tool for WLAN consultants and administrators.

VisiWave uses a Navigation Unit connected to a WLAN-enabled Pocket PC to correlate users X-Y coordinates with wireless characteristics such as signal-to-noise ratio, receive errors and TCP round-trip times. This information is exported to a PC, where users can generate 2-D and 3-D graphs of the radio environment.

I tested the VisiWave 2100, which is available now for $3,995, with a Hewlett-Packard iPaq 3765 and a Proxim Orinoco Classic Gold 802.11b client adapter. (Each is sold separately.) I looked at a beta of Version 1.1 of the reporting tool, which should be available by the end of this month.

The Navigation Unit, which acts as pedometer and compass, requires a fair amount of tuning. I had to spend some time determining the length of my normal stride and relearning how to walk. In case of inaccuracies, the VisiWave makes it simple to adjust location readings manually.

Using the reporting tool, I generated graphs depicting per-channel coverage, gaps, weak points in the network and potential areas of interference, which helped greatly to deploy a testbed for future wireless stories .

VisiWaves hardware support is limited. VisiWave requires a full PCMCIA client adapter (only Orinoco cards are supported now), and there is no support for 802.11a networks.

More information is at www.visiwave.com.

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