AirMagnet Survey Review

The SNR and RSSI information to optimize access point placement is valuable. Strict licensing model based on the hardware MAC address of the capture adapter.

How has it helped my organization?

I was able to conduct pre-implementation surveys for floors using the production access points to see where potential dead spots were going to be. No matter how accurate the results and my reporting, there were still quite a few challenges with translating this to building contractors and electricians that did not see the benefit of accurate access point placement.

What is most valuable?

The software itself is pretty basic actually. There is a lot of detailed information that is provided; however, I would state the most valuable information would be the SNR and RSSI information received to optimize access point placement.

What needs improvement?

Even though I was using an approved USB wireless adapter (Proxim Orinoco), I had many problems with getting the software to talk to the adapter and successfully start capturing data.

The “support” for OS X through Bootcamp or some other virtualization software is almost false advertising. I understand why the product does not work with OS X natively, but stating that it does work by using virtualization software and installing Windows should probably be avoided.

The licensing model is very strict and based on the hardware MAC address of the capture adapter (which is why I purchased the Proxim USB). While I understand the need for software security, in order to change the MAC address to a different adapter, a service ticket needed to be entered with Fluke Networks to have a support engineer make the necessary changes for me. On two out of three occasions where this happened with my organization, the response time was unacceptable and caused a significant loss of productivity. I do not know how this model now works with Netscout, however.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product would frequently crash and this was on different laptop platforms. It was even advised due to frequent crashing that surveys should last between 5 and 10 minutes and that multiple surveys should be merged together to form a complete picture of a survey area. It would be great if there was a switchable “feature” to perform this action for me, so I wouldn’t have to remember to stop a survey before the program crashed.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The program did seem to work well with multiple floors as well as multiple surveys within a particular floor. The most complex survey was a HQ building that was comprised of 54 floors and I had all of them added to one survey file (for vertical stacking and wireless “bleeding”).

How are customer service and technical support?

Other than having technical support change out the adapter MAC address on the license for me, I did not have much experience with technical support. There was one ticket initially that only confirmed what the software told me upon startup that the USB endpoint protection software that my company used would have to be removed to allow the program to identify the adapter correctly and start.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

AirMagnet Survey PRO was the first survey solution that I used.

How was the initial setup?

Application setup was straightforward. I ran into a lot of discrepancies with our corporate laptop image, so I had to use a bare-bones machine with no other software on it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I believe pricing is a little high and the company, Fluke, at the time was not willing to work with our organization on a discount, which was disconcerting. We ended up purchasing only 25% of the licenses we originally wanted and sharing the Proxim USB adapters between engineers. I have already mentioned my response issues with the licensing. Note: Both of these issues might have changed since the Netscout acquisition.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Before choosing this product, no other products were evaluated.

What other advice do I have?

Make sure you are not using any custom software on the platform you are installing this onto. Disable all security, whether it be endpoint protection or other. Be patient with the software and find an “order of operations” combination that works for startup and surveying.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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