WiFi Surveyor turns data collected from RF Explorer spectrum analyzers into graphical charts and displays in real time, enabling users to more readily visualize the RF environment, monitor RF signals, troubleshoot RF issues, and detect sources of RF interference. In addition to spectrum analysis, integrated in the application software is a full-featured, Wi-Fi scanner — also known as an 802.11 network discovery tool. The software can be used to monitor wireless devices and RF interference that impact the performance, range and security of wireless networks. When installed on a laptop computer, WiFi Surveyor provides mobile, site survey information that facilitates optimal configuration of wireless networks and proper location of RF devices, and aids in identifying potential sources of interference.
WiFi Surveyor offers a variety of diagnostic views of the data captured by the RF Explorer device. Employing multiple views of the data enhances your ability to gain a better understanding of the local, RF landscape in which your wireless network is operating. WiFi Surveyor includes two software modules integrated into one application — one for RF spectrum analysis and a second for performing 802.11 network discovery (i.e. Wi-Fi scanning). Armed with the information these tools provide allows you to make better decisions setting-up, configuring and maintaining your wireless network. Also, if a wireless network is performing poorly then WiFi Surveyor can aid in troubleshooting the problem and help you determine whether other wireless devices operating in the vicinity are the source of RF interference.
For certain charts, WiFi Surveyor massages the raw, RF energy data to create “channel-centric” diagnostic views. In contrast to a typical spectrum trace that plots signal strength along the y-axis and frequency along the x-axis, a channel-centric chart replaces frequency with 802.11 channels along the x-axis. The 802.11 network discovery charts are similar in appearance but use different data and have a different interpretation. It is important to clarify the distinction between RF spectrum analysis and 802.11 network discovery — in RF spectrum analysis a radio module is measuring raw, RF energy across a frequency range, whereas in 802.11 network discovery your laptop’s built-in 802.11 adapter decodes beacons received from nearby wireless routers.
The channel-centric views are calculated by summing all the RF energy for the range of frequencies that fall under each channel. Since Wi-Fi channels overlap then the RF energy detected for a particular frequency will contribute to more than one channel. Contrast this with 802.11 network discovery, where the 802.11 adapter only sees 802.11 beacons — it does not see raw RF energy. So, when viewing the charts it is important to keep in mind which data is being used — raw, RF energy or 802.11 beacons.