WiFi Spectrum Analyzer | Spectrum Analysis – Fluke Networks

By: Clearsight Networks  09-12-2011

AirMagnet Spectrum XT is the first and only professional spectrum analyzer solution that combines in-depth RF analysis with real-time WLAN information for quicker and more accurate trouble­shooting of performance problems. This combined view of “impact analysis of RF interference” on the network’s overall performance helps pin-point the root-cause of those problems.

AirMagnet Spectrum XT is the ideal solution for network engineers and installers/integrators for troubleshooting and deployment of WLAN networks, and is available in the universal and convenient USB form factor, allowing it to be used on any notebook, netbook or tablet PC.

Features

AirMagnet Spectrum XT offers real-time detection and identification of a number of non-WLAN sources that interfere and lower the perfor­mance of WLAN networks. The extensive device or source list includes bluetooth devices, digital and analog cordless phones, conventional and inverter microwave ovens, wireless game controllers, digital video converter, baby monitors, RF Jammers, radars, motion detectors, zigbee devices and many more.

Users are also powered with detailed information for the interference source, including peak and average power, first and last seen time, center frequency, impacted channels, number of times the source was detected, and many more. With an additional Bluetooth adapter plugged into the same PC, AirMagnet Spectrum XT provides Bluetooth information such as ID, name, services, etc. for enhanced Bluetooth interferer analysis.

With AirMagnet Spectrum XT’s built-in “device locator tool”, users can physically locate any Wi-Fi or non-Wi-Fi interference sources operating in the RF environment. The device locator tool operates as a Geiger counter and beeps louder as users get closer to the location of the device.

Key graphs and charts include:

Real-Time FFT - provides a real-time view into the RF energy in the environment with current, max, max-hold and average RF signal levels.

Spectrum Density – provides a longer-term view into the network by displaying live information on the signals that are common during the current capture session. This is helpful to identify infrequent transmitters.

Spectrogram - provides a scrolling history of the RF environment and allows a visual understanding of the spectrum over time to see intermittent spikes or bursts of RF energy that may be causing WLAN network problems.

Duty Cycle - displays how often an interfering signal is present. A high duty cycle means an interferer is constantly transmitting and will most certainly cause problems on the affected channel.

Event Spectrogram - provides a visual presentation of real-time information on interfering devices that are detected in the last 5 minutes. It includes information on power level and channels/frequencies affected by the device.

Channel Power - shows the maximum and average power levels across all the channels in the selected radio band.

Interference - displays the average power readings of interfering devices on the selected channel or channels.

Channel Duty Cycle & Interference Power vs. Time Trending- shows the average power in the channels that is above the noise floor and the maximum average power readings of interfering devices operating.

AirMagnet Spectrum XT also provides a complete inventory of all Wi-Fi devices operating in the environment and their configured settings. Users are entitled to a number of Wi-Fi charts to solve problems faster and more efficiently including:

  • AP Signal Strength
  • Channels by Speed/Address/Media
  • Top 10 APs by CRCs/Retry
  • Channel SNR; Errors/Retry
  • Channel Utilization
  • Channel Occupancy

With its unique capability for creating customized signatures for any RF interferer device, AirMagnet Spectrum XT provides a more-efficient method for troubleshooting any RF interference issues, and saves time and costly IT resources.

In enterprise environments, users need the ability to classify repeat offenders that are unique to the network or environment before the RF interference source has a significant impact on WLAN performance. With AirMagnet Spectrum XT, users can create customized signatures for any source of interference. Signature creation is a simple process, where the user first captures the signature of the source and using AirMagnet Spectrum XT, creates customized signatures to classify the source automatically when the device is encountered again.

With this integration, users are entitled to unique heatmaps within AirMagnet Survey, for example:

  • Channel power heat map that provides a color-coded display of the power levels detected on each channel in the wireless spectrum.
  • Interferer power/location heat map that displays non-WLAN interference sources or devices that are detected during the site survey

AirMagnet Spectrum XT users can save their RF spectrum scans, retain them as hard evidence and play them back at a later time for post-capture investigation and analysis. This is very helpful as critical forensic information while investigating any Layer 1 Denial of Service attacks against the WLAN network. The saved trace files can also be shared between users for collaborative analysis and troubleshooting.

AirMagnet Spectrum XT’s Instant Replay feature allows users to review the most recent spectrum information and play it back, as if it were being viewed live for the first time.

Supported Adapters

RF Spectrum Analysis (mandatory RF spectrum adapter required to run Spectrum XT; viewing RF spectrum data and classifying non Wi-Fi sources of interference)
AirMagnet Spectrum XT Adapter (USB form factor).

Additional Wi-Fi Analysis (Optional AirMagnet-supported Wi-Fi adapter)

AirMagnet Spectrum XT offers additional Wi-Fi analysis features in addition to the spectrum features supported by the AirMagnet Spectrum USB adapter. This does NOT remove the requirement for a AirMagnet Spectrum USB adapter, without which the Spectrum XT software will not work.

AirMagnet supports two categories of wireless adapters for additional analysis:

  1. Preferred adapters: Adapters that have been comprehensively tested by AirMagnet and are recommended for use with the AirMagnet products.
  2. Limited-support adapters: Adapters that have been known to work with the product, but AirMagnet does not perform extensive testing on these adapters. AirMagnet recommends the use of adapters that have been tested and certified as mentioned in category 1.

Note: Only 802.11a/b/g/n USB Wi-Fi adapters are supported on 64-bit OS PCs on Microsoft® Windows 7 for additional Wi-Fi analysis.

Preferred Adapters

AirMagnet

  • AirMagnet 802.11 a/b/g/n Wireless PC card.
     | 
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate, Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N

Cisco

  • Cisco Systems a/b/g Wireless Adapter
    • AIR-CB21AG-A-K9
    • AIR-CB21AG-E-K9
    • AIR-CB21AG-J-K9
    • AIR-CB21AG-P-K9
    • AIR-CB21AG-W-K9
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate, Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

NEC

  • NEC Warpstar Aterm WL300NC 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless adapter (TELEC regions only)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate, Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N

Ubiquiti

  • Ubiquiti SRC 300mW MMCX ()
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G
  • Ubiquiti SR4C 4.9 GHz (4.9 GHz supported. )
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A, 4.9 Ghz

Limited-Support Adapters

3Com

  • 3Com 802.11 11a/b/g Wireless PC card (3CRPAG175)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G
  • 3Com 802.11 11a/b/g Wireless PC card (3CRPAG175B)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

AirMagnet

  • AirMagnet wireless cardbus adapter Super A/G (NL-5354CB PLUS Aries2)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G
  • AirMagnet wireless cardbus adapter Super A/G (NL-5354CB PLUS Aries2-F)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G
  • AirMagnet Trio 802.11 a/b/g wireless adapter (NL-5354CB)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Buffalo

  • AirStation WLI-CB-AMG54 wireless adapter (Japan Only)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Cisco

  • Cisco Systems 350 802.11b PCMCIA wireless LAN adapter (AIR-LMC352, AIR-PCM352)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 B

D-link

  • D-Link Xtreme N Notebook Adapter (DWA-652)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 B/G/N
  • Dlink AirXpert DWL-AG650 wireless cardbus adapter
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G
  • D-Link AirPremier™ AG DWL-AG660 108 Mbps Cardbus Adapter
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Enterasys

  • Enterasys a/b/g RoamAbout CB-500AG
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Lancom System

  • Lancom Airlancer 54-ag
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Linksys

  • Wireless A+G Notebook Adapter WPC55AG ver 1.2/1.3 (4.9 GHz supported on v1.3 only)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G, 4.9 Ghz

NetGear

  • Netgear WAG511 802.11 a/b/g wireless adapter
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G
  • Netgear WAG511v2 802.11 a/b/g
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Nortel

  • Nortel Networks 802.11 a/b/g wireless adapter 2202
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Proxim

  • Proxim Orinoco 802.11 b/g PC Card Gold (8470-FC)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 B/G
  • Proxim Orinoco 802.11 b/g PC Card Gold (8470-WD)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 B/G
  • Proxim Orinoco 802.11 a/b/g ComboCard Gold (8480-XX)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Symbol

  • Symbol LA-5030 Wireless Networker 802.11a/g Cardbus adapter
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Preferred Adapters

Ubiquiti

  • Ubiquiti SRX 300mw 802.11 a/b/g MMCX Express Card
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Limited-Support Adapters

D-link Systems

  • D-Link Xtreme N Notebook ExpressCard (DWA-643)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 B/G/N

Preferred Adapters

D-link

  • D-Link® Xtreme N™ Dual Band USB Adapter (DWA-160) h/w ver. A1 and A2 only
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro(32-bit), Vista™ Business/Ultimate(32-bit), Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate/Enterprise(32-bit and 64-bit)
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N
  • AirPremier DWL-AG132 Wireless 108AG USB adapter (rev B; H/W Ver. C1 and H/W Ver. B3; F/W Ver. 2.30)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

NEC

  • NEC Aterm WL54SU2 (PA-WL54SU2) Wireless USB Adapter (TELEC Regions only)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Proxim

  • Proxim Orinoco 8494 802.11a/b/g/n USB adapter (US/WD/JP versions)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro(32-bit), Vista™ Business/Ultimate(32-bit), Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate/Enterprise(32-bit and 64-bit)
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N

Ubiquiti Networks

  • Ubiquiti Networks SR71-USB WLAN
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro(32-bit), Vista™ Business/Ultimate(32-bit), Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate/Enterprise(32-bit and 64-bit)
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N

Limited-Support Adapters

Netgear

  • Netgear RangeMax Dual Band WNDA3100v1 Wireless-N USB 2.0 Adapter Note:
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro(32-bit), Vista™ Business/Ultimate(32-bit), Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate/Enterprise(32-bit and 64-bit)
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N

Preferred Adapters

Intel

  • WiFi Link 5100
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro(32-bit), Vista™ Business/Ultimate(32-bit), Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate/Enterprise(32-bit)
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N
  • WiFi Link 5300
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro(32-bit), Vista™ Business/Ultimate(32-bit), Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate/Enterprise(32-bit)
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N
  • WiFi Link 4965AGN
    Supported OS: Windows® Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G/N
  • PRO/Wireless 3945ABG
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Limited-Support Adapters

Acer

  • Acer Aspire One Netbook (Atheros AR5007EG Wireless Network Adapter)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Home
    Media Type: 802.11 B/G

AirMagnet

  • AirMagnet 802.11a/b/g Wireless LAN Mini PCI Adapter
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro, Vista™ Business/Ultimate
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Cisco

  • Cisco Systems 350 mini PCI wireless LAN adapter (MPI350)
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 B

IBM

  • IBM ThinkPad Mini PCI a/b/g (Atheros AR5212 based chipset) P/N:39T0071
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Intel

  • PRO/Wireless 2200BG
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 B/G
  • PRO/Wireless 2915ABG
    Supported OS: Windows® XP™ Pro
    Media Type: 802.11 A/B/G

Optional:

The AirMagnet Directional Antenna will enhance the RF detection and capabilities of the AirMagnet products in a single direction helping narrow down the search pattern far more effectively. It is small, light and portable.

Users need to attach the Velcro base (supplied with the directional antenna package) to the laptop and connect it to the AirMagnet card and start analyzing the wireless environment in the specific area.

Technical Specifications for Directional Antenna

Frequency Range
- 2.4 GHz Band
- 5 GHz Band


2.4 GHz
4.9 GHz


2.5 GHz
5.9 GHz

Front-to-Back Ratio

>20dB

Azimuth Beamwidth (V-pol)

55 deg

Elevation Beamwidth (V-pol)

50 deg

Additional Bluetooth Analysis

AirMagnet Spectrum XT offers enhanced Bluetooth interferer information using an optional Windows-compatible Bluetooth adapter. The enhanced information includes details on the name, ID, services, etc. for Bluetooth devices.

Users can either use the Bluetooth adapter that is built into their PC or can use an external adapter. One such Bluetooth adapter is the IOGEAR GBU421 Bluetooth Adapter that has been tested by AirMagnet.

Note: It is recommended that users always use the Microsoft driver for Bluetooth devices instead of the vendor-supplied driver. This driver is built into Windows XP (SP3), Vista, 7 Operating Systems. Please refer to Microsoft's website for obtaining drivers for other Operating Systems.