Spectrum And Packet Analyzer Improves Wi-Fi
Testing, Installation, And Troubleshooting
With the recent final ratification of the 802.11n wireless local-area network (WLAN) standard, more and more 11n routers, gateways, and access points are being deployed. Radios using the 11n standard are far more complex to deploy and certainly more difficult to troubleshoot. It’s no longer just “plug and play” as with earlier slower LAN transceivers. Multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) and the higher speed make it a real challenge to monitor performance and identify problems and interference.
The Berkeley Varitronics Systems (BVS) Yellowjacket portable b/a/n/g tablet analyzer can make WLAN installation, evaluation, and troubleshooting about as easy as it can be. It combines a spectrum analyzer and a packet analyzer into a single handheld test instrument for WLAN testing (see the figure). Also, the instrument uses a Samsung Q1 UMPC tablet PC as the basic user interface with its 7-in. touch screen.
The spectrum analyzer covers the 2- to 5.9-GHz range, enabling users to see not only surrounding Wi-Fi signals but also WiMAX, ISM (industrial, scientific, medical), public safety, Bluetooth, and other radio signals. With the Yellowjacket, users can readily identify the presence of any 802.11b/g/n networks and any RF interference that can block or slow 11n access points. Full 40-MHz bandwidth MIMO capability is included.
The packet analysis section of the Yellowjacket demodulates the received signal and provides a clear indication of the media access controller (MAC) address, Service Set Identification (SSID), channel number, data rates, encryption, modulation scheme, device/packet type, and other useful access-point configuration data. The Yellowjacket also can use BVS’s Swarm mapping software to create a floor plan from site survey data.
Key specifications include channel power measurement capability in the –20- to –80-dBm range, 40-dB dynamic range, and ±1.5-dB accuracy. The received signal strength indication (RSSI) measures within ±1.0 dB of any nearby 802.11 packet on or off the network. A 12-channel GPS receiver is also built in. The run time on the internal battery is greater than three hours.
The Yellowjacket is available now. Prices start at around $8500 for the basic unit and $2500 for the Swarm mapping software.
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© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
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