What is our primary use case?
I use it primarily for signal distribution, identification, Cat5 and Cat6 identification, access point, decibel levels, and identifying all areas of IT equipment onsite.
I use the device in one area to identify access points. This device not only identifies access points, it tells me audibly and visibly the strengths of the decibels. So, it allows me to advise installation crews where exactly to place certain types of equipment, like access points.
How has it helped my organization?
I am a site administrator for about 25 sites. At one particular site, they reported that the circuit was totally down. This means that their communications with their PCs, tablets, and telephones (which were Voice over IP) were not functioning. Therefore, the entire site was down. This was a state facility.
My job is to resolve the issue regardless of what the problem is. When I go out and troubleshoot, I'm able to take that NetAlly device and verify the equipment is working. I can verify if the LAC has signal coming into the facility along with every access point from that point forward. Thus, I can troubleshoot the entire system from point A to point Z for that matter. About two weeks ago, I had to do that and it saved a lot of time and money.
The state was going to overnight some very expensive equipment, and I told them that I didn't need that equipment because NetAlley identified that our equipment was functioning perfectly. To make a long story short, the problem was on the provider's side, not ours.
It is a very clean device. It has resolved troubleshooting issues 100 percent, streamlining our networking operations.
What is most valuable?
All of the features are valuable. It is a wonderful tool. It allows me to troubleshoot and bypass network operating personnel. It takes the place of an IT troubleshooting department, because now I can do all the troubleshooting. I can walk into an environment and know what is going on. I don't have to call for IT assistance.
The solution’s one-button AutoTest feature is able to identify common problems. This is a major feature and plus for this particular device. You are able to hit one button and then identify different areas of the IT environment.
The information provided by the solution for resolving connectivity and performance problems is very thorough. The reporting functionality is extremely good as I can pass that information on with little input. The device will identify issues and problems, e.g., the diagnostic material. When you have Internet access, it sends the information to your email address, which is very useful.
What needs improvement?
The battery life needs improvement. For example, when you are doing an Ethernet test, that seems to drain the battery pretty quickly.
I would like it if they could somehow build/develop a type of fiber optic module with the device. That would be good.
The tool itself has a series of features. I think that each set of features should have its own way of identifying, "Here is the problem, and this is how NetAlly fixes that problem or resolves that issue." Typically what happens because there are so many features, marketing might not be familiar with all the things that a solution can do and the problems that it will solve. So, they'll give two or three quick phrases of what it can do, and if you're not really familiar with the issues, then you won't understand what is being said.
For how long have I used the solution?
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It is a pretty rock-solid device that is well-built.
How are customer service and technical support?
I have never used the technical support for this device.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
I used several tools previously. I used toners, butt sets, Sidekick, and Fluke tools, but AirCheck is an all-in-one solution.
What was our ROI?
The first time I used it, there was return on investment. It is not only the time involved, but its ability to solve issues for the client quickly. The client is impressed with what you're telling them, because now you can show them (by means of this device) where the issue lies, which gives the customer confidence. Before I get to the customer, I have to travel. A lot of that time is now saved.
This solution has provided visibility into our network that we could only get by using many other tools. One device takes the place of many, which is time efficient and cost-efficient.
It saves me a tremendous amount of time when I am troubleshooting. For example, if a site only has 20 devices, then you could save three or four hours. However, if a site has 100 devices spread out over a mile, then it could save you a couple of days.
The solution has made our networking staff more productive, saving me at least 20 hours a week.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The price is fairly expensive, if you are a single individual. For me, it's well worth the cost of the unit. Depending on the nature of the work that you're doing, the upfront costs can be expensive. Typically, what happens in an environment is a department might have one device as opposed to technicians having them individually.
We purchased our unit outright.
I am the only one using AirCheck right now due to the cost of the device.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I looked at several brands. I do a lot of research before I make decisions on technical tools. It just so happened that the makers of this particular device had a client that I was very familiar with, and it was a medical facility. That particular example made me look further into this particular unit. Being used in a medical facility of a significant magnitude, I was pretty comfortable with my decision in using this device at a state-run facility.
What other advice do I have?
Thoroughly research the functionality and features of this particular tool. I am finding that the tool itself has so many features and so much functionality that the cost benefit could be missed. A client looking into the device might not realize its potential or ability to solve certain niche problem.
It is easy to use. A novice would have to get used to trusting the tool. More advanced technicians would find this tool extremely helpful. The learning curve depends on the level of the technician. If you are a novice, then the learning curve might be overwhelming. However, for an advanced technician, the learning curve is pretty quick and intuitive.
I would rate this solution an eight (out of 10). If they fixed the battery, it would be a 10.