Diagnose with Wi-Spy + Chanalyzer

Pain Relief for Wi-Fi Headaches

Wi-Fi has revolutionized the way we work. People can get online from any location, stay connected via mobile devices, and eliminate cables and wires. It’s magical and it’s awesome. Everyone’s happy, and considers reliable Wi-Fi a “given.”

wifi can't connect

When Wi-Fi isn’t working, though, it’s a frustrating mystery. Users start complaining of dropped or slow signals and dead zones. Important data isn’t being transferred, people can’t get their tasks done, and the workplace grinds to a halt. You’re in charge of Wi-Fi, but the same reason Wi-Fi is so awesome — it’s invisible — is why it’s so hard to fix.

Wi-Spy and Chanalyzer were created to help you fix these Wi-Fi headaches… FAST!

"Wi-Spy is easily one of my all time favorite tools and I strongly recommend it to anyone who is responsible for managing a Wi-Fi network of any size."

— Larry Greenblatt, CISSP, CISM, CEH, ECSA

See the invisible with Wi-Spy

If you can see it, you can fix it

Wi-Spy is a custom USB spectrum analyzer designed specifically for troubleshooting Wi-Fi issues. Unlike most Wi-Fi tools, Wi-Spy is able to measure ALL RF signals, not just Wi-Fi traffic. With Wi-Spy DBx, you can measure RF signals in the 5 GHz band, which is quickly becoming as crowded as the 2.4 GHz band!

By integrating the raw RF signal measurements from Wi-Spy with standard information from your Wi-Fi radio, Chanalyzer creates a complete picture of how Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi transmitters impact your wireless networks, giving you the information you need to resolve the issues affecting your users.

Quickly Locate Interference

Track down offending signals with Device Finder.

The standard antennas found in most wireless devices are omni-directional, so they receive signals from all directions. This can be useful, but when you need to find out where interference is coming from, a directional antenna can pinpoint your mystery device.

The Device Finder 2.4 GHz Directional Antenna is just what it sounds like — attach it to the Wi-Spy and point it in any given direction to quickly track down troublesome interferers.

Choose the best channel

Because you’re better than auto-channel selection

Chanalyzer shows you the signal strength and RF activity of co-channel networks, overlapping channel networks, and non-Wi-Fi transmitters on each Wi-Fi channel. The Density View gives you a color-coded snapshot of both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi activity at any given frequency on your chosen band, and the Channels Table lets you view more details about your chosen networks. Armed with this information you can pick the quietest channel for each of your access points.

Importance of channel selection

There are three types of interference that can eat away at your Wi-Fi network speed.

Fortunately, overlapping channel interference can be reduced or eliminated by simply selecting the proper Wi-Fi channel for your network. But which channel is the right one?

To answer that question, let’s get technical for a moment. The 2.4 GHz 802.11 b/g/n spectrum (a.k.a. where your Wi-Fi lives) is made up of 11 channels, centered 5 MHz apart. Each channel is 20 – 22 MHz wide. For all the channels to peacefully coexist, the 2.4GHz band would need to be about 242 MHz wide, but it’s not. It’s only 100 MHz wide. So, the band is pretty crowded. The channels have to overlap each other to cram into a too-small space, and this is how you get overlapping channel interference.

wifi channels 1, 6, and 11 don't overlap

Every channel in the 2.4GHz spectrum is overlapping, except channels 1, 6, and 11. Why is overlap bad? It’s bad because Wi-Fi is a very polite conversation. If your wireless router hears others talking on the same channel, it will wait for its turn to talk. If there are a lot of routers talking, there’s going to be a lot of waiting around. You can lose 40-60% of your performance this way. Keep your network antisocial and isolated on either channels 1, 6, or 11, and you won’t have that problem.

The second type of interference (Co-channel interference) isn’t as big of a deal. Think of it as a “if you can’t avoid them, join them” situation. If you can’t pick a non-overlapping channel that no other networks are on, it’s ok to share a channel. It’s still better to choose 1,6, or 11 (even if you have to share with another network) rather than choose another channel that is NOT 1, 6, or 11.

The last type of interference (non-Wi-Fi interference) is problematic because your computer’s Wi-Fi card can’t see it. Luckily, Wi-Spy can, and it works with Chanalyzer to give you better insight into your Wi-Fi network than ever before.

Chanalyzer will allow you to see all the surrounding networks in your environment and will help you eliminate the first two causes of interference (co-channel and overlapping). With the addition of Wi-Spy, Chanalyzer visualizes the 2.4 GHz and 5GHz RF spectrum, so you can see interference caused by baby monitors, microwaves, wireless security cameras, Xboxes and any other nearby device transmitting in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz spectrum – all of which are invisible to your regular Wi-Fi tools. As 802.11ac adoption continues, the problem of overlapping bonded channels in the 5 GHz band will become more of an issue. Luckily, Chanalyzer 5 is ready!

Troubleshoot Spectrum Remotely

Leverage your Cisco CleanAir APs to troubleshoot from afar.

With the optional Cisco CleanAir accessory for Chanalyzer, you gain immediate visibility into the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz band from the perspective of your Cisco Access Points without leaving your desk.

Being able to perform spectrum analysis from locations throughout your WLAN gives you a front seat to the action– whether it be down the hall, across town, or on another continent.

Interference Identification with Cisco CleanAir

Chanalyzer displays a table with a list of interferers detected by your CleanAir AP. This list stays consistent with Chanalyzer’s Waterfall Navigation, meaning you can quickly jump back to any point in time to positively identify the source of your problems. The interfering devices list is filterable, and includes adjustable duty cycle thresholds to only display interferers that may significantly impact your wireless network.

Chanalyzer will also show you where interferers appear in the spectrum by drawing a spanning visual indicator in the main density view. The more opaque the fill, the more impact your users are likely to experience.

This accessory is $150 and is available from our catalog page.

Cisco CleanAir Chanalyzer integration

Document your results

Use Report Builder to explain wireless issues to your superiors and end users, no matter how technical they are.

With just a few clicks using the Report Builder Accessory, you can add a snapshot of any image or table displayed in Chanalyzer. Add your own pictures, create your own descriptions, or just use the defaults. After you’re done, export to PDF and present it to your client or boss.

Fix it in time for Beer:30

Diagnose 2.4 GHz

Ideal for smaller networks

Includes:

  • Wi-Spy 2.4x
  • Chanalyzer with Report Builder
  • Device Finder Antenna

SKUs: 2400x3v, SFW-CHAN-R, DEVFINDER-24


$849

Diagnose Dual-Band
Both 2.4GHz & 5GHz

Ideal for 802.11n and 802.11ac networks

Includes:

  • Wi-Spy DBx
  • Chanalyzer with Report Builder
  • Device Finder Antenna

SKUs: 2450x3v, SFW-CHAN-R, DEVFINDER-24


$1,149

Diagnose & Optimize
Both 2.4GHz & 5GHz

Ideal for large mission-critical networks

Includes:

  • Wi-Spy DBx
  • Chanalyzer with Report Builder
  • Device Finder Antenna
  • Eye P.A.
  • AirPcap Nx

SKUs: 2450x3v, SFW-CHAN-R, DEVFINDER-24, SFW-EYEPA-001, AirPcap Nx-001


$2,348

What Others Are Saying

Blake Krone, Wireless Architect

MetaGeek helps give that aha moment to someone when the light bulb turns on and they finally can understand a problem and hopefully solve it.

Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games

We used the Wi-Spy DBx extensively across various venues to identify unauthorized access points and to map out our internal Wi-Fi coverage. It’s a great tool that helps us troubleshoot more accurately and quickly! The Wi-Spy units work extremely well… all members of my staff really enjoyed having them in our toolkit.

Lee Badman

Every good WLAN engineer wants there to be no mystery to what’s going on with the RF in their environments, and MetaGeek nicely demystifies the complex. As the 802.11ac clouds gather over the WLAN landscape, things in the RF domain are about to get much busier, and more complicated. Understanding what’s going on truly benefits from seeing what your RF “looks” like through the lens of good tools. If you have no MetaGeek utilities in your toolbox, you’re missing out on powerful magic at a fair price.

Marcus Burton, CWNP

MetaGeek’s Wi-Spy products have the right features and are both user-friendly and affordable… any WLAN engineer should consider MetaGeek at the top of the list for spectrum analysis. I’m highly impressed with their unique feature enhancements and continued passion for affordable RF visibility.

Jeanette Lee, Ruckus Wireless

Recently, our tech support group asked if I could help them out with a customer. Apparently, the customer was seeing constant drops on the wireless network. One of our engineers told him that it looked a lot like some kind of RF interference. But without an analyzer, no one could prove it.

So, off I went with my Wi-Spy 2.4x to see the customer. The first thing we did after I got there was hook it up and check out the RF topology. Although the noise ceiling was a bit higher than I’d have liked, it didn’t seem too bad. Then, the early morning shift in the warehouse next door got a break. About 15 people walked into the break room (next to the offices) and the first thing they all did was to line up at the microwaves and heat up something to eat.

I happened to be watching Chanalyzer when this happened and we saw his 802.11b/g network get almost completely lost in the interference. You could barely see it in the background, the RF from the break room was that bad.

After letting the customer “drive” on the walk around with the Wi-Spy in his own laptop, he realized just how bad it truly was. The admin that I was working with was so impressed with the Wi-Spy that he immediately got his boss to approve the purchase of several.

Sam Clements

The Wi-Spy DBx is an excellent product for the vast majority of those people looking to get data about their 2.4 and 5GHz spectrums. The folks at MetaGeek have done a graceful job of putting some very powerful tools well within the reach of those that are looking to jump into the wireless game or are looking to augment their personal toolkit with gear that does something that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

MetaCare Assurance Plan

The MetaCare Assurance Plan entitles you to obtain and legally install future software updates for MetaGeek software during the period the plan is in effect. Updates range from bug fixes and minor feature updates to major enhancements and all the other wonderful changes we have in store.

MetaCare Benefits and Renewals

MetaCare Legal Info

System Requirements

  • OPERATING SYSTEM: Microsoft® Windows 8, 7, Vista
  • .NET FRAMEWORK: 4.5
  • MAC OS X VIRTUALIZATION: VMware Fusion, Parallels
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • RESOLUTION: 1024x600 (1366x768 or better recommended)
  • WI-FI RADIO: Internal or USB Wi-Fi Adapter (802.11n/ac recommended)
    NOTE: Virtual machines require an external USB Wi-Fi adapter to view Wi-Fi information