WiFi Radio Freq Analyzer

I am needing a radio frequency spectrum analyzer for my wifi network. I need to re-locate some APs and also change channels for better coverage.
Any recommends?

Mac or Windows? Do you need a Full-Blown Spectrum Analyzer or just something that shows Wifi channels?

Windows, please. I prefer a full blown if budget allows. I am thinking about spending $1k on this and media is willing to contribute, too because their wireless mics are getting affected, too.
They have mainly 5Ghz mics and a few 2.4. I am using unifi APs and use 2.4 and 5. Lately we have been killed with a lot of radio waves

You should start with making sure APs near their wireless mics aren’t using neighboring channels. You should be able to figure out which channel the mics are using by translating the full freq. This wiki page [List of WLAN channels - Wikipedia] has a table to help. And lock those channels in those areas so tail chasing doesn’t ensue.

Moving aps probably won’t help because then people will complain about bad wifi on the stage etc.

They should also probably buy mics in the 500 - 600 MHz range.

Not moving APs in the worship center. The mics are too expensive to replace so that is not an alternative. They were running great for a couple of years until the last few months, We started noticing there is a lot of interference but don’t know where that is coming from. People were having problems login into our APs in the worship Center at about the same time. We are also experiencing other logins or slow speed in other areas of our campus. We have seen quite an increased in wifi networks around our church buildings and also other radio waves. We have 4 floors in 2 buildings and I want to move some APs to better serve the members. We have older buildings with very concrete walls and there are wire mesh between the walls and ceilings.

You mention noticing interference… How have you observed this interference today? With you describing your environment I would be skeptical of outside/inside interference sources initially. Have you checked Signal to Noise? Usually when Wi-Fi performance is low, end users start trying to bring in their own APs and hot spots which only compounds the problem by increasing the noise floor. Most enterprise class APs have ways to check SNR and although not as good as dedicated tools, they are usually sufficient to give an idea of what is going on.

Also, be sure you are not overloading your channels and radios. How many users are you loading onto a single AP and are these 802.11ac units?

We use Netspot on a Mac.
It’s pretty cool you can upload a floor plan and all if you like.
I see on their website they have a beta version for Windows now that is free.

Does Netspot allow you to do predictive placement of APs to determine potential coverage?

Hey Derek, According to NetSpot’s website, that feature is ‘coming soon’.

How many wireless mics are we talking about?

When you get into predictive stuff, ekahau is where it’s at. They have a free survey tool HeatMapper and really get fancy on the higher end but chances are you’d be better off paying someone to do a site survey over buying the software and hardware to do it once (their site survey with spectrum analyzer kit is $6k).

Tim, Sorry I could not respond earlier. Had a week of internet problems and then telephone system went dead.
We have these APs installed 3+ years ago. Had no problem until 2 months ago. Our sound engineer has a degree in electronics and works for an electronic manufacturing firm here. As I was getting reports of members having difficulty login into our wifi in certain areas, he also started to notice he would have wireless mic problems. He has a “simple” signal wave analyzer that he used every Sunday to monitor his wireless mics and that is where he noticed some interference. We have anywhere 3-10 wireless mics going in the worship center at any given time. I think we have 30 wireless mics total. I do notice a couple of APs are constantly overloaded. 80 - 90 users. I am going to try to add additional AP later if I can find a good spot.

Sticking another AP in there really isn’t going to help the situation at all. If you’re running up to 10, 2.4 mics, then you really have no usable 2.4 spectrum left for Wi-Fi. If you want your mics and your APs to work nicely together, you need to disable your 2.4 radios in your APs.

Oh no, I am not putting anymore wireless APs in the Worship Center, These are for other areas.

You should check out the Xirrus XD4. This AP has 4 software selectable 802.11ac radios meaning you can put any radio in 2.4 or have them all in 5Ghz. This is what we put in church sanctuaries. If you have to mount on a high ceiling you can look at the XA4. Also depending on your network setup, you don’t have to replace your existing APs campus wide.

Thanks. We did a few years ago, Can’t afford them.

I understand cost is relative, but the XD4 full cost, cloud management and all licenses will cost you about $375 per 802.11ac radio. Add in the extra cable runs and switch ports saved, you make out pretty well in the end… plus the added benefit of getting around 200-240 power users on a single AP (at 50/60 users per radio) and not purchasing radios you have to turn off and don’t even use (2.4Ghz), overall they are quiet efficient on the budget.

the really cheap route for basic spectrum analysis = UBNT bullet (with your antenna of choice)

the drawback is that they are single band…so you will need a bullet for 2.4, a bullet for 5, etc etc…

the other drawback is their use of java but it is what it is

you can get the nanostation if the built-in antenna suits your needs

a step up is going to get you into stuff like http://www.metageek.com/