Recently I had the opportunity to get some hands on time with a Yellowjacket b/a/n/g Wi-Fi Analyzer. I'd heard of the device before, but I'd never come across one in real life. It is also incredibly hard to find out the retail cost of this device. The manufacturer's website only shows the basic information on operating the device. All information requests must be obtained by contacting their sales support team. I have a pending request, but no hard data yet.
This device is an HP iPAQ running Windows Mobile 5.0 encased in a large yellow plastic enclosure which also houses the wireless cards used by the Yellowjacket software. The iPAQ's internal wireless card is disabled and the Yellowjacket wireless card is used for the spectrum analysis. The Yellowjacket softaware is run as an application on the iPAQ, much the same as any other application would be installed/run on an HP iPAQ.
When I was using the Yellowjacket b/a/n/g device, I also had the Cisco Spectrum Expert application running on my Lenovo x201 laptop as a control since I know how the application works under normal circumstances, as well as what the display shows when I enable a wireless security camera as a source of constant interference.
The Yellowjacket b/a/n/g has a series of tabs you can select to show different wireless information. It seems that the tab that would be in use under most circumstances would be the MAC tab. This tab shows the MAC address, SSID, SNR and RSSI of all detected wireless devices and clients.
When I had this screen selected as the main display, and I powered on the wireless security camera - a strange thing happened. The MAC tab display that had previously shown all the detected wireless access points and clients began to show less and less listed devices, until the entire MAC listing was blank.
I navigated through the different filter options for the MAC tab, and found nothing that I could select to show the list of MAC addresses again. When I switched over to the Spectrum tab to see if the wireless security camera showed a disturbance in the spectrum readout. It did, but since the screen is only 640 x 480, the entire 2.4GHz spectrum is shown quite small on the screen. If I were not experienced in using spectrum analysis tools, there would have been no real way for me to visibly discern that there was a source of interference that was critically impacting the 2.4GHz channel 6. The detected spectrum is shown as a green wave form, and there was a visible spike in the waveform, but the color of the spike was still green. To anyone with little spectrum analysis experience, the spike would not have stood out, and green usually means 'good'.
I sent an email on 8/5/2011 to Berkley Varitronics Systems' firstname.lastname@example.org email address asking about why the MAC display tab began to clear when I powered on the wireless security camera. I have yet to receive a response to my request for additional information to explain the unexpected behavior of the Yellowjacket b/a/n/g Wi-Fi spectrum analyzer.
The device is described as being able to analyze the entire 2.0-4.0 & 4.9-5.9 GHz spectrum, but the 2.4GHz and 5GHz antenna connectors on the device aren't far enough apart to connect the 2.4GHz and 5GHz antennas at the same time. I also didn't see a way in the application to analyze both spectrums concurrently. The inability of the device to detect sources of interference on the 2.4 and 5GHz spectrums at the same time causes the wireless engineer to have to do twice the walking to test the same physical space for both wireless frequencies.
I also made a video recording of the whole process for easier demonstration of how the Yellowjacket b/a/n/g responded under the testing conditions.
Previously posted on YouTube: Cisco Spectrum Expert, AirMagnet Spectrum XT & WiSpy Chanalyzer 4
Previously posted: MetaGeek Chanalyzer Pro - Beta Testing