Mark Yensen from MetaGeek sent me a Wi-Spy dBx to do some beta testing of their Chanalyzer Pro application, so I thought I'd pit it against the application I use most often for spectrum analysis - Cisco Spectrum Expert.
At first glance, the Chanalyzer application was very impressive, especially with the Wi-Spy dBx price point of $599.00. I liked the device signatures collected in Chanalyzer showing the visual patterns generated by devices operating in the 2.4 or 5GHz frequencies.
The beta version of Chanalyzer Pro that I've been trying out doesn't have the device recognition turned on yet - but when Chanalyzer Pro is out of beta, this will be functioning. The device recognition feature will call out devices whose RF patterns are known to the Chanalyzer Pro application based on a given RF 'signature'. The list of known devices will grow based upon data sent in by end users of the MegaGeek Chanalyzer application. As end users submit more and more data about RF devices, the repository of known devices will grow and will be shared with all Chanalyzer Pro users.
A 'confidence level' will also be attributed to patterns recognized by the device recognition feature. Many devices capable of RF transmission in the 2.4 or 5Ghz ranges can have similar RF patterns, and the confidence level will indicate the reliability of the device identification feature.
Both the Chanalyzer Pro and the Cisco Spectrum Expert have a display of the RF spectrum that looks similar, and can be interpreted similarly. The Cisco Spectrum Expert has the 'Swept Spectrogram' and Chanalyzer Pro has the 'Waterfall View'.
There are a boatload of videos by Trent @ MetaGeek up on Youtube - I didn't realize this until just yesterday.. Thanks Trent for giving me a private tour of Chanalyzer Pro, when you could have pointed me to your YouTube channel just as easily :) I appreciate you taking time out of your day to show me around Chanalyzer Pro.
The Chanalyzer Pro is a great application, it does nearly everything that the Cisco Spectrum Expert application does, at a much lower price point. Chanalyzer Pro has a 'report builder' template that allows you to easily embed spectrum analysis screen captures and other spectrum analysis data into an RTF, HTML or PDF document. I have to manually capture screen images from the Cisco Spectrum Expert in order to put them into a customer facing deliverable, and the device listing export is only to a .csv file.
I made a YouTube video showing the differences between the two applications, or as much as I could cram into ten minutes.. Let me know if you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer them.