WifiMETRIX -- Dual-Band, 802.11 Channel Analyzer
Quantify And Predict Throughput Performance Of Each Wi-Fi Channel
Simulate Interference And Wi-Fi Congestion Using Signal Generation And Traffic Congestion
WifiMETRIX is a new diagnostic tool used to analyze and test Wi-Fi networks. It is a handheld device that operates in stand-alone mode -- that is, it does not associate or connect with an AP. WifiMETRIX implements two important features -- AirHORN and WifiPROBE. The built-in Wi-Fi chip can perform both signal generation / packet injection (AirHORN) and throughput diagnostics (WifiPROBE) on each channel. WifiMETRIX costs only $295 USD.
To learn more about WifiMETRIX and IMMI Technology, please visit the WifiMETRIX web site.
- Dual-band 802.11 Wi-Fi chip
- AirHORN channel / signal generator functionality (packet injection)
- WifiPROBE channel analyzer functionality
- Solid aluminum case plus silicon rubber boot protector
- Standard 50 ohm SMA antenna connector
- 128x64 built-in LCD screen
- Includes dual-band antenna for 2.4x and 5.x GHz ISM bands
- Includes micro-USB cable for recharging
- Includes 50 ohm SMA terminator to protect antenna connection
- SMA terminator (dummy load) also used for calibrating the device
WifiPROBE Feature -- Analyze The Throughput Performance Of Each Channel
Determine the best channel for your Wi-Fi network
The WifiPROBE feature provides unprecedented visibility into the performance of a wireless network. The information collected and displayed helps to simplify troubleshooting of interference-related problems and predicts the throughput performance of each 802.11 channel. WifiPROBE employs IMMI technology with 802.11 hardware to perform data acquisition — hence, the results truly reflect how packet congestion and RF interference in the local environment affects your Wi-Fi network. This is not possible using an RF spectrum analyzer or other tools currently in the market.
In a wireless network there is, at any moment, a single transmitter and one or more receivers. Furthermore, devices participating in the network take turns being a transmitter or receiver. When considering network performance, it is the transmitter who holds the key. Before transmitting data, the transmitter "senses" the RF environment to check if the channel is clear. If so, then transmission proceeds. But if not, then the transmitter delays a random period of time before making its next attempt to transmit. Hence, "Available Transmit Time" becomes the metric by which we can measure channel performance -- that is, the more time available for transmission then the better will be that channel's performance and data throughput.
Applications for the WifiPROBE feature include:
- Detect presence of RF interference that could affect network performance
- Determine whether performance can be improved by using a different channel
- Quantify expected change in performance that would result from using a different channel
- Optimally configure Wi-Fi network with the goal of improving throughput performance
- As an aid in properly locating Wi-Fi devices so as to maximize range and throughput and minimize interference from competing wireless devices
After the WifiMETRIX device powers up, then the main 'Operational Mode' menu is displayed. From here the 'WifiPROBE' feature can be selected.
WifiPROBE uses a dual-band, 802.11 chip -- you can select either the 2.4x or 5x GHz ISM band. Also, there are 3 modes for channel analysis -- traverse all channels and display the results as a bar graph, traverse all channels and display the results in the form of a table, or select only a few channels to test.
Here the channel analysis results are displayed as a bar graph. Each bar represents a Wi-Fi channel and the height of the bar is the 'Available Transmit Time' -- expressed as a percentage compared to a reference. The taller the bar, the greater that channel's TX time and, hence, the better its performance.
Here the channel analysis results are displayed in the form of a table. Again, the greater the 'Available Transmit Time', the better the performance.
Here the 'Selected Channels' results are displayed. Since it takes a couple of seconds to traverse each channel, then if you are really only interested in analyzing a few channels (e.g. 1, 6, 11) then this mode updates the results more quickly.
AirHORN Feature -- Simulate Co-Channel Congestion And Adjacent-Channel Interference Using Packet Injection
Stress-test Wi-Fi networks, compare antenna performance, detect "dead spots", and more...
The AirHORN feature aids in testing WiFi antennas, RF shields and wireless networks. It is an RF channel / signal generator that covers both the 2.4x and 5.x GHz ISM bands and was designed for microwave and RF applications. Using 802.11 packet injection, AirHORN transmits stable and accurate RF signals for each of the 802.11 (Wi-Fi) channels and is ideal for stress-testing existing wireless networks and for use in research and development of antenna design. A signal generation system is key to any test system – as such, AirHORN can also be used for rapid evaluation of receiver performance and detecting "dead spots".
Here's a link to Network World's review of the previous version of AirHORN that used a dual-band, 802.11 USB dongle:
AirHORN -- Dual-Band RF Channel / Signal Generator
The AirHORN feature can be used for:
- Real-world testing of WiFi antennas and amplifiers
- Testing the effectiveness of RF shield designs
- Stress-testing 802.11 (Wi-Fi) wireless networks
- Aligning directional Wi-Fi antennas
- Rapid evaluation of receiver performance
- Locating Wi-Fi 'dead spots'
After the WifiMETRIX device powers up, then the main 'Operational Mode' menu is displayed. From here the 'AirHORN' feature can be selected.
AirHORN can operate in one of 3 modes: Single, Traverse and Pulse. Furthermore, you can choose between raw or packetized transmissions. In Single mode, select any channel and achieve close to 100% duty cycle (at the normal width of 22 MHz). In Traverse mode, scan through a set of channels at a specific interval. In Pulse mode, burst on a specific channel, and then off for a set interval.
Single (Channel) Mode -- transmits a 22 MHz-wide signal on the selected channel.
Traverse Mode -- traverses each channel in the band, transmitting for a short period before moving to the next channel.
Pulse Mode -- transmit on a specific channel, and then off for a set interval.