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Wireless Networks Thread, Heat Mapping Software in Technical; Hi there, Has anyone got some recomendations for some (Preferably) Free or relatively cheap software I can use to so ...
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    Heat Mapping Software

    Hi there,

    Has anyone got some recomendations for some (Preferably) Free or relatively cheap software I can use to so maps showing signal strenght over our site?

    Our wireless network is in but I want to do some maps for phase 3 next year to show where the weak spots are. Prety colourfull pictures are always hlepfull for SLT's

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    Because I am a masochist I once did this by hand...

    Get a plan of the school. Lay a grid over it and identify a grid reference for the middle of every room where you care about signal. (you can pick multiple points per room if you want to be thorough)

    Create a an excel document, columns A and B your grid references, then one column for every AP you have on site.

    Then go to each referenced point and use the command

    "netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid"

    and record which BSSIDs you can see and the "signal". Use the vendor documentation to identify which BSSID maps to which physical AP.

    Record this on your spreadsheet.

    Then use a bubble graph to plot the data points in a graph with the background set to be the plan of the school aligned with the axis such that your co-ordinates work.

    It was a while ago so some of the details may be a little off. The method was inspired by help I gave some A Level Geography students a few years previously with their coursework.
    Last edited by psydii; 16th October 2013 at 11:55 AM.

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    Griff's Avatar
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    We used a piece of software from xirrus just a trial version but it did the job I showed the diagram to SLT and they signed off on a new wireless system after seeing how bad our coverage was at the time.

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    jamesreedersmith's Avatar
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    ekahau heat mapper!

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    Griff (16th October 2013)

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    I've use Ekahau too. It's free.

    If you can, split your site map into sections - if your map and analysis is too large I found the program struggled to cope. Also take your time. It's a long slow process to get accurate readings.

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    Griff (16th October 2013)

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    Griff's Avatar
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    You know what it wasn't xirrus we used it was Ekahau thanks for reminding me guys going to use it again soon

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    Quote Originally Posted by IrritableTech View Post
    I've use Ekahau too. It's free.

    If you can, split your site map into sections - if your map and analysis is too large I found the program struggled to cope. Also take your time. It's a long slow process to get accurate readings.
    Yes, got that but the free version says it's limited to 15 munutes mapping. Which will be a bit of a struggle to get round the site.. It looks very good though

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart_C View Post
    Yes, got that but the free version says it's limited to 15 munutes mapping. Which will be a bit of a struggle to get round the site.. It looks very good though
    I must have an older version. Shame that.

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    Free heat mappers will only show management frame information. You really neeed to map out weak spots for data frames as that will be more representative of the client experience.

    If you are doing this to plan an upgrade it's pointless as legacy AP' s will behave differently to new ones.

    If it matters that much call someone who has the right tools to do it for you, it's madness to plan a new network with such methods as those suggested above.

    NM

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    Get an eval kit of the points you're looking at, plug a few in in the areas being mapped and then do your heatmap (turn off the old ones off course!).... gets around the point Neil Mac made. all this assumes you have no budget to improve the wireless system by professionals and you just want to show SLT that they do need to invest to improve the WiFi setup

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    Not a heat map as such but I use WiFi Analyzer on my Android to test our wireless networks. Also found WiFi Heat but not sure if exports a heat map image for use in a report etc.
    Last edited by Obiwan; 17th October 2013 at 02:59 PM.

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    I should point out that my wireless is fairly new and prety good. I am not looking to upgrade the points so to speak just look for weak points to add more access points in, this helps if you can produce prety pictures for the SMT.

    Whilst we had a proper survey done by the installer proir to the install which produced heat maps whcih were used to site the AP's they have a couple of issues:
    1: We didn't phyically survery every inch of the site, we ran representative samples and then they used the software to extrapoltate the coverage we would need.
    2: They extrapolated coverate into area's we didn't want coverage so I have had to move access points a few meter's here and there.
    3: Some of our building plans are rubbish and don't match what's actually there.

    If possible I want to avoid having to pay to have someone come in and wander the site if I can do it myself. I just want to check the plan's against reality and get an idea as to which area's need more AP's. Whilst there should be a budget next year if I can save it by doing this myself I can spend more on AP's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart_C View Post
    I should point out that my wireless is fairly new and prety good. I am not looking to upgrade the points so to speak just look for weak points to add more access points in, this helps if you can produce prety pictures for the SMT.

    Whilst we had a proper survey done by the installer proir to the install which produced heat maps whcih were used to site the AP's they have a couple of issues:
    1: We didn't phyically survery every inch of the site, we ran representative samples and then they used the software to extrapoltate the coverage we would need.
    2: They extrapolated coverate into area's we didn't want coverage so I have had to move access points a few meter's here and there.
    3: Some of our building plans are rubbish and don't match what's actually there.

    If possible I want to avoid having to pay to have someone come in and wander the site if I can do it myself. I just want to check the plan's against reality and get an idea as to which area's need more AP's. Whilst there should be a budget next year if I can save it by doing this myself I can spend more on AP's.
    As someone that used to carry out WiFi surveys for a living I would in all honesty say the issues you mention above were down to sloppy surveying.

    1:If the surveyor didn't discuss with you prior to carrying out the survey exactly what the system would be used for and the coverage needed then the survey was a pointless one from the very start... I used to have to survey buildings for systems we installed to enable lone worker systems, if a user was likely to have to crawl in a roof space then I too would have to survey in there... I've been under a kettle of molten lead, I've been up on a crane gantry, I've crawled through roof spaces. If the survey requires it then that's where you have to go.

    2:All of the software I've used and seen used does show coverage into adjoining areas, even if you haven't walked that particular area then it does try to get smart and show you a predicted heat mapping, sometimes handy, sometimes not but this is down to the software used not the surveyor or the company.

    3: point three comes down to the surveyor again... even with crappy plans you can still do a good survey. The system I used meant you created an X/Y axis and walked the whole building in a 2mtr/4mtr/6mtr grid pattern logging your X/Y position on a terminal... as part of my kit I would use a Disto laser measure to ensure I was within one meter of my proposed next position of data scan. Even with misshapen plans as soon as you start measuring then this will pick up the errors in the plan and enable you to create a more accurate plan of the building.

    Not all surveyors are cut from the same cloth i'm afraid . . . . were not all bad

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