Taming rf Unicorns and Other Fantastic Beasts

Taming rf Unicorns and Other Fantastic BeastsResources from PSU MacAdmins Conference 2018 session on using the Ekahau Sidekick’s spectrum analysis to identify and troubleshoot problems with Wi-Fi. Click here for official conference page: http://macadmins.psu.edu/2018/05/01/psumac18-277/

Description: Wi-Fi Muggles rejoice! Your time has come. The wonderful world of wireless and wizardry is magical indeed, but what’s a MacAdmin to do when things go awry? Many sources of non-802.11 noise impact your Wi-Fi. Finding these gremlins and either removing them or distracting them is vital. Although you may have identified and designed around these during your initial set up, new sources of interference may have crept their way into your airspace and could be disrupting your network. Left your magic wand at home? No worries, the Ekahau Sidekick will light our way. Learn FUNdamental insights into the mysteries of how to help Mac users in this marvelous medium. We will playfully use the pensieve of spectrum analysis to gaze into perplexing aspects of sending packets through the air, hopefully avoiding pitfalls along the way.

 

What is Spectrum Analysis?

Spectrum analysis uses specialized hardware, like the Ekahau Sidekick, in order to listen to energy in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz unlicensed bands shared by WLANs, measuring the power (amplitude) of radio transmissions and pulses that occur at discrete frequencies. Companion software, like Ekahau’s Site Survey, uses statistical analysis to plot these readings, letting you visualize wi-fi air quality.

Non-802.11 devices that generate RF energy can have varied impacts on your WLAN. Some operate intermittently for brief periods (e.g., microwave ovens), while others transmit continuously (e.g., analog video cameras). Some devices emit low power over a narrow frequency band (e.g., Bluetooth), while others have far greater effect on Wi-Fi (e.g. baby monitors, radar, and wireless phones). When troubleshooting wi-fi interference, your goal is to identify the source of interference and either remove it or work around it. https://goo.gl/3dbf5N

What is the Ekahau Sidekick?

Ekahau SidekickTM is the first of its kind custom-built site survey and troubleshooting device for Wi-Fi networks. A site survey is a physical on site task of measuring a Wi-Fi network to validate, optimize, and troubleshoot the network performance.

Typical customers of Ekahau SidekickTM are system integrators and enterprise network engineers across all business types who maintain a wireless network or design and deploy Wi-Fi networks to client sites.

Ekahau SidekickTM is a battery-powered device that provides over eight hours of Wi-Fi site survey time. It is shipped with a messenger-style carrying strap that enables multiple ways of carrying it for convenience and ease of use.

Ekahau Sidekick Datasheet: https://www.ekahau.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Ekahau-Sidekick_Data-Sheet_FINAL.pdf

 

Spectrum Analysis Demos w/ the Ekahau Sidekick

Effects of a Microwave on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Spectrum

 

Bluetooth traffic on 2 4GHz Wi Fi Spectrum from Apple AirPod Headphones

DFS Channels on 5GHz Spectrum at AUS Airport

2 4 GHz Spectrum in a Crowded Bus Yard with Ekahau Sidekick

 

2.4GHz Spectrum in AUS Airport Early A.M.

 

Resources from Ekahau

Ekahau Sidekick Overview

 

Ekahau Webinar – Using Spectrum Analysis to Identify and Troubleshoot Wi-Fi Issues

 

 

Optimizing Wi-Fi

Spectrum analysis, heat mapping, and site surveys are essential tools for planning and to help determine if a WLAN is properly set up. But what settings are optimal in supporting macOS and iOS devices? The following articles look at this as well as considerations and more.

Recommendations for Optimizing Wifi for Apple Devices

Basic Apple TV Deployment Tips