Wi-Fi Pilot and Wireshark are a match made in heaven. If you don’t have the technical know-how to quickly filter through gigabytes worth of packet capture in a matter of seconds. The difference is so drastic it almost deserves a Billy Mays infomercial.
Trust me, this is not a watered down version of WireShark – quite the opposite actually. It is the perfect complimentary tool. At any point in your work you can right click and send whatever data you’ve selected to WireShark for further filtering. Even for browsing WireShark files – you could have the problem resolved before WireShark even opens the file. See for yourself.
For the curious and analytical minds out there, you can click on almost any value and apply an additional filter to it. See which SSID is causing the most traffic on the traffic, what type of frame type, the frame size and which client associated is causing the traffic increase.
Switch to Chanalyzer Pro to see if interference may have caused the issue
Chanalyzer Pro has a nifty waterfall navigation tool that allows for similar drill-down capabilities as Wi-Fi pilot. By selecting the same range of time 2:07pm to 2:09pm, I can look at what the spectrum looked like the transmissions were abnormally high.
Here is the before picture. Notice how there are two main curves. The first one is a 40 MHz wide 802.11n access point extending from Wi-Fi channel 5. The other curve represents MetaGeekGN on Channel 11. If there were more activity or throughput on these channels they would create a boxy shape similar to the outlines you’re seeing now. The outline shape indicates the maximum speed the AP is capable of. (802.11b curve, 802.11a/g/n boxes).
The Microwave caused the Retransmissions.
Now look at the activity when the retransmissions were high. There was a microwave that came on over the 2.4 GHz band scrambling the communication process of the WLAN.
For those of you familiar with WireShark, Wi-Fi Pilot is the tool to quickly analyze packets and generate powerful reports. The graphics are visually pleasant. The GUI navigation is quick and leaves little to be desired.
Views and even more views for you Analysis.
Instead of typing all of the views available in Wi-Fi pilot, I created a screen grab. If any of these seem to be of any value in your WLAN troubleshooting I recommend picking up the AirPcap NX (3 if you want to measure channels 1, 6 and 11 simultaneously!) and Wi-Fi Pilot. It is a fantastic companion to Wi-Spy DBx and Chanalyzer Pro.