Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Ekahau was the third presenter at Wireless Field Day 2
Ekahau's site survey software was born out of the RTLS calibration required in order to do site surveys back in 2001-2002. The point of their survey software is to continuing monitoring from the client perspective at the client level.
Ekahau Site Survey Pro (includes Planner and Troubleshooting) is an indoor focused site survey tool, design in 3D for coverage and capacity. The list of access point models that can be used for site survey simulations is updated monthly. If there is a new access point not in the list Ekahau will define the RF profile for the access point.
The requirements of the RF coverage can be customized in planning mode. They recommend not using large Auto CAD files and performing visualizations of large AP deployments in planner mode. You may experience application errors if the planner files are too large.
Blue screens do not happen as often in recent software releases since they've resolved quite a few of the previous wireless driver issues. They have full support for 64 bit operating systems, and you save as you go vs having to save different paths within the application and merging them later.
Alignment points are set from floor to floor to align the floor plans as they change as the building gets higher. The numbering needs to match from floor to floor #1 needs to be #1 on every floor. Where the floor changes would be #4 #5 and #6 so you would use them for the other smaller floors that matched. You can create a custom floor property by editing a conf file in Survey Pro.
You can use the planning mode to do planning for high density user locations where the users gather. Capacity profiles can be defined for client devices (laptops etc) to a granular degree. It is possible to break up the predictive number of users per floor in a building of an overall capacity planning model.
Survey Pro works on Macs in Bootcamp (preferred) and Fusion and native wireless drivers will pass through in a VM on a Mac. Freezing access points makes a virtual mac address for the AP and fixes its location on the map, and everything is always merged when you collect site survey data.
If your'e using the application to do 3D visualizations you need the alignment points. They have plans to use defined walls within Auto CAD. The properties of a given Auto CAD line is a given wall type and dB loss.
You can tweak the pause time between channels for the "wait time on channel" selection, and you can set the host to ping a wireless client/server etc. You don't have to click to collect data, they have a constant data collection method as a background process.
The Ekahau Mobile Survey application is available for Android devices. You can use auto detect of your own network to define rogue APs vs infrastructure APs. Background monitoring can turn the phone/tablet into a WiFi sensor, and the application retails at $399. The Android OS must be Froyo 2.2 or better. There is no current ability to do AP-on-a-stick site surveys, since can't freeze the APs and have them seperate if they're the same AP (MAC address). Active survey (AP-on-a-stick) may be in version 2. This release could be in a couple of months, or nearer the end of the year.
Ekahau was a sponsor of Wireless Field Day 2. I received copies of their Survey Pro application for Windows and Android, and as a sponsor, they were responsible for covering a portion of my travel and lodging expenses while attending Wireless Field Day 2. They did not ask for, nor where they promised any kind of consideration in the writing of this review/analysis. The opinions and analysis provided within are my own and any errors or omissions are mine and mine alone.