Alleviate Wi-Fi Network Bottlenecks with AirMedic

By Jamie Bsales | Posted April 03, 2009

Many small offices have deployed secure wireless networks to augment or replace traditional wired ones, and for good reason. Wi-Fi routers are inexpensive and give your employees the ability to tap into the network without having to find an Ethernet jack. If you are moving to a new space, not having to run cable to every room and cubicle will save you time and money.

Robust as it is, Wi-Fi is still an imperfect technology, prone to interference from other wireless devices (Bluetooth, remote controls, cordless phones and so on) as well as low-signal-strength “dead spots” depending on the layout and construction of an office. If a Wi-Fi network is your default setup, low connectivity equals low productivity for your affected workers. AirMagnet’s AirMedic software can help small business owners troubleshoot connectivity issues – and they don’t need an IT certification in wireless technology to do it.

“Rather than doing the rabbit-ears thing, moving an antenna around every time an employee complains about a poor signal, AirMedic lets you pinpoint the actual source of the problem,” said Wade Williamson, director of product management for AirMagnet. Williamson noted that AirMedic is the first and only spectrum analyzer that doesn’t require a separate hardware component, such as a PC Card or USB dongle. Instead, the AirMedic software relies on the wireless capabilities built into any Intel Centrino 2 laptop.

At its core, the entry-level AirMedic is a radio-frequency analyzer that lets you see RF energy in a given spectrum. It combines lab-quality spectrum analysis with AirMagnet’s Wi-Fi traffic analysis to deliver a simple approach to solving Wi-Fi interference problems. The software delivers 14 “Easy Views” diagnostic charts that let you see the RF activity in a given location. AirMedic also shows you an instant view of Wi-Fi and channel performance, plus access-point (AP) signal strengths and APs with high error rates.

More importantly, AirMedic helps you to put the analysis to use. For example, if the software identifies an AP with more than its share of retries and errors when sending packets, but the RF analyzer shows little RF contention, you’ll know that the problem is poor signal strength (due to a wall or other obstruction) rather than interference.

AirMagent also included in-program help and detailed explanations for every chart and graph in the program. “Our customers are not RF geeks, they are business people trying to run a business,” said Williamson. “It was really important for us to build an application that was useful for people even if they don’t have a degree in reading squiggly lines.”

AirMagnet AirMedic is available now, and carries a list price of $995.00

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with nearly 14 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

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