AirMagnet Survey Review

I use the WiFi Analyzer to see signal interference, co-channel interference, the devices, and so on. On the survey side, they need to have more adapters to support.


What is most valuable?

I use almost all AirMagnet features. For the survey, I use PRO. I use Planner for planning tools. I use WiFi Analyzer for troubleshooting, and XT for the troubleshooting, as well.

How has it helped my organization?

The predictive survey has improved the way my organization functions. I use their planner when making the walls. You can create a real-world environment and then come up with the plan for APs. Once everything is in place or if a real-world survey is needed, then the active survey or passive survey is used for that purpose.

For the WiFi Analyzer, if there is trouble in a wireless environment, I use it to see the signal interference, the co-channel interference, the devices, and those kinds of things.

For spectrum analysis, if issues are reported, to check the overall health of the wireless, I use Spectrum XT.

Before AirMagnet, most of the survey work was guesswork, depending on the expertise of the engineer. They used to place the APs, and then go back and do the survey. So, when AirMagnet Survey first became available, that became a lot easier. Before that, there was another tool called Ekahau Site Survey. With AirMagnet, you have all of the solutions, all of the tools, from the one platform.

What needs improvement?

The worst thing that is built into AirMagnet is, if your laptop crashes in the middle, all of the work you have done is gone. There should be an auto-save functionality. Currently, even if you stop the survey, save it, and your tool crashes, that thing is not saved. The auto-saving should be more reliable, so that your done part is not gone. Auto-saving must be a key factor.

On the survey side, they need to have more adapters to support. In the adapter, there should be more preset values. Because right now, the way the survey tool is designed, you have to set the specific power before you start the survey, but most of the vendors, with the current environment, they are going on automatic power and channel settings. AirMagnet lacks that capability. They need to have an option with the auto-channel and auto-power, so we can come up with more accurate surveys.

Another main problem I have with the tool is, in Spectrum XT, you have to select the band, like 5 GHz, lower, middle, Uni1, Uni2, Uni3 and extended. So you cannot have the whole thing on one screen. That is needed. There should be one screen which has all of the spectrum on the dashboard, so you can see the whole picture in one place, instead of having four screens open. If somebody's using a 10- or 12-inch laptop, a notebook, a tablet, then you can imagine opening four screens side by side, how small they will become.

They need to have a dashboard which will show the entire spectrum on one screen. They could add additional screens. If somebody wants to know further details of a screen, they could open up another screen, like they have in the WiFi Analyzer, which has different tabs. The first tab shows the main screen. Then, if you want to go and look into specific things, you go to that screen.

I've been using the Proxim adapters. They are not really roaming well.

Also, the USB adapter is not reliable with the users. For example, we have the AirMagnet tool on the laptop and everybody uses that USB. If the laptop is gone, you can't assign a license to a laptop. If that is gone, you have to redo the whole thing.

If AirMagnet can come up with their own adapter that is more compatible with their tool, I think that's more preferable. The reason is if you use this Proxim adapter, you get different results. If you use NetGear or some other adapter, you get a different result. The reason is the adapters don't have the same sensitivity on the wireless side. That should be standard, so that we are sure we are getting data that is reliable.

This tool does not work with the drivers of those USB adapters. The adapters and drivers should be more consistent. Changing the adapters should not change the result of the survey.

They need to change the way AirMagnet starts a project. It is exactly the same as when they started in 2004. They have not changed it. They need to change it according to the current wireless settings, according to current wireless environments. It needs to change, because if you look at AirMagnet 4 and AirMagnet 11, the start of the project, and how you build the thing and get to the survey screen, that is exactly the same. Between 2004 and 2016, wireless has changed a lot.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the solution since 2004.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There were stability issues. It takes up a lot of resources and it crashes in the middle.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It does a pretty good job with scalability, because this is all software which is installed on hardware. It doesn't have hardware. If you have hardware, you still have software installed on it. So, I think there are some tweaks on the software side that need to be more specific for some main vendors: Cisco, Aruba, Motorola and those vendors. If there are some presets for their main antenna patterns, that would be more helpful to do the survey.

How is customer service and technical support?

I called technical support several times but most of the time, the people I talk to are not so intensively knowledgeable technically. For example, I have 12 years of radio frequency (RF) wireless experience and those people are just sales and support kind of people. So, I don't blame them. I rate technical support 10/10.

Which solutions did we use previously?

When I switched to AirMagnet in 2004-05, I also used Ekahau a little bit and at that time, Ekahau was also at the preliminary stage because wireless was not that popular. AirMagnet was more user friendly and there were more settings that you could tweak. There were more options compared to Ekahau.

I have pretty much stuck with AirMagnet since then.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was easy. That's one of the reasons everybody is using AirMagnet. It is easy to set up, easy to operate.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I just got some of the reviews on the Ekahau tool I used because the other tools and other options available were not enterprise-type. On the enterprise side of wireless survey, Ekahau mostly provided survey tools and other things. But they were not intensive. AirMagnet is a one-stop shop for everything. That's why I'm still sticking to AirMagnet.

Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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