INTEROP Site Survey with VisiWave

A while ago I took VisiWave out for a spin at Interop 2010 Las Vegas. This was hosted in the Mandalay bay conference center. Since so vendors are showing off their wi-fi gear I thought I would show their coverage vs others.

I will end the post showing what the 2.4 GHz spectrum looks like vs the 5 GHz. One of the coolest features about VisiWave, is that it maps the spectrum activity with a Wi-Spy DBx as well as the signal strength coverage using your computer’s wireless NIC. You will see that a tradeshow can be one of the most brutal environments for Wi-Fi. There were several hundreds of APs all competing for range in the 2.4 GHz.

Here is a scale for interpretation:

Anything above -60 will be assigned a blue color. Anything below -80 is assigned orange.

Using a spectrum analyzer (Wi-Spy DBx) VisiWave will map the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands simultaneously and put the activity on a map. Typically this is better for identifying locations where narrow band transmitters might be causing some problems but due to the amount of RF traffic at Interop 2010 you will see what the activity looks like.

Here are some visual comparisons:

Hidden SSIDs

There were plenty of vendors who hid their SSIDs.

SSID ciscoVPN1

SSID CiscoVPN1 at INTEROP '10

SSID ddwrt

SSID ddwrt

SSID aruba_AP_Local

SSID aruba_AP_Local

SSID xirrus

SSID Xirrus

And now for the good stuff. Using a spectrum analyzer (Wi-Spy DBx) VisiWave will map the 2.4 and 5.8 GHz bands simultaneously and put the activity on a map. Typically this is better for identifying locations where narrow band transmitters might be causing some problems but due to the amount of RF traffic at Interop 2010 you will see what the activity looks like.

2.4 GHz at Interop

The 2.4GHz was completely saturated.

5 GHz Interop

5 GHz Interop 10

Ready to make the move to the 5GHz yet? Here is how you might choose the best channel for your 802.11a/n wlan:

Use a spectrum analyzer with adjustable time parameters to grade the channels