AirMagnet Survey Review

Provides us with SSID and throughput readings. We can create standard heat maps.

What is most valuable?

I have been using AirMagnet for clients to do WiFi surveys. This is pretty much an AP-on-a-Stick survey. Right now, I'm on a deployment in which we are using it for a validation.

How has it helped my organization?

Everything about the AirMagnet is useful. It's good for work, giving us our SSID and throughput readings for the AC that is currently available. We have been using it primarily for the 2.4 and 5 GHz to create standard heat maps for their standard coverage.

What needs improvement?

They need to get it up to speed with surveying and using the product on a tablet-based platform. Sometimes you don't have a stylus with you and you don't have the right-click functionalities in certain areas, like with the merge.

If you have a mouse, as was the case in previous years, I always used it on a laptop. It was right-click, data merge up, and SVD files.

I've been using the SurfacePro 4 for the last couple of months with AirMagnet. It just has the right-click functionality. It does not respond well in AirMagnet with the stylus. There are certain things you can do, but there are other things you can't do. It's very finicky as far as picking up right-clicks.

Some more functionality with tablets would be good. Just to make sure that it runs smoothly and you can do everything on the tablet that you could do on the laptop.

With previous versions, there was a way to exclude erroneous data. Anything over a certain decibel rating would not be included in the final merge of the data, which was pretty neat. That got taken out in Version 9.1.

The only thing that I've seen people struggle with is reading the floor plan as they're walking. I was discussing this with my co-worker.

It would be great if there were a way to have the floor plan actually flip with you as you're walking. That would require having some kind of GPS integrated indoors, which I don't even know if it's possible to have an indoor GPS survey. It would be sort of like Pokemon. You just walk around, and whatever is inside the tablet will just walk around with you.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve used AirMagnet for about six or seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is not really too good when you have larger floor plans. Some of the floor plans that we imported into the AirMagnet software were almost 80,000 square feet. If you have a floor plan that big, it's unresponsive and lagging as far as capturing data and being responsive to the initial clicks.

There are some issues with the drivers as well. I guess that would be more of a user error. If you don't unload the drivers properly, you get blue screens and it crashes.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As far as what I have been using it for, we have not had scalability problems. But there were definitely scalability issues in the past.

It's been a long time since I've had to do an overly large floor plan. I haven't really looked through the floor plans for this site yet. As far as I know, everything should be smaller and run smoothly. It can handle a good amount of what we do.

It crashes only if you have too large of a floor plan or you're trying to merge a lot of data together. It does get hung up. I am using an i7 processor now that has plenty of RAM on the tablet.

Sometimes it could be an issue that the computer can handle, but the solution cannot handle it.

How is customer service and technical support?

The quality of technical support varies for me. I was a 1099 contractor for quite some time. The AirMagnet software was actually provided to me through another company.

I wouldn't necessarily have the Gold service support like I've had with companies in previous years. It's been a really long time since I've had to call into support.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Ever since I started doing these WiFi surveys or site surveys, I've mostly used AirMagnet.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup for me was just a download of the software and then installing the right drivers. It was pretty straightforward on my end.

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

As far as pricing and renewing the licenses and things of that nature, I've only really had to do that once for my company.

From what I remember a couple years back, we were going through a phase where we did have to log in to my AirMagnet website account. I needed to remove all the people who left the company or their licenses were expired. From what I remember, I got pretty straightforward answers when I called support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I don't remember if we evaluated other options. The only other survey software that I know that's out there is Ekahau. It acts similar to AirMagnet.

As soon as I started in this field doing the WiFi surveys, it's always been AirMagnet. It seems to be used very widely throughout the wireless community. There are very limited choices for software that provides the type of data that AirMagnet provides.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely take the courses that they offer. I acquired the AirMagnet 30 and 40 certificates for running AirMagnet Survey Pro and the Spectrum Analyzer. It is pretty much the same learning base.

Teaching people how to use the tool is pretty straightforward if you just explain it to them. You need to teach about data merging or merging certain paths together.

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