Saturday, November 26, 2011

AirMagnet Surveyor reviewed

| Wireless Driver & Software

Setting Up

The preparation required to use Surveyor involves configuring the WLAN capture parameters and entering a physical layout of the survey area. Figure 2 shows general Survey settings which include the ability to set a threshold for captured AP signal strength and control the data sampling rate.

AirMagnet Surveyor Survey settings

Figure 2: Survey settings

Figure 3 is where most of the action is and lets you control various parameters for the wireless card driver. Note that you can enter a WEP key (useful for active scans), but newer WPA security isn’t supported.

AirMagnet Surveyor 802.11 settings

Figure 3: 802.11 settings

Figure 4 is what appears when you click on the Advanced button on the 802.11 tab. It lets you enter information for Cisco LEAP authentication and control additional “advanced” parameters for the wireless adapter.

AirMagnet Surveyor Advanced settings

Figure 4: Advanced settings

I didn’t mess with any of these settings for my testing, but did click on the Scan tab to limit channel capture to just the 11 802.11b/g channels being used by the two APs in my test WLAN.

Selections include all fourteen 11b/g and twelve 11a channels and you can set the speed of scan from a minimum of 150ms to maximum of 10 seconds per channel.

AirMagnet Surveyor Scan settings

Figure 5: Scan settings

Once you get the radio side of things squared away, you need to give Surveyor a little info that it uses to figure out how to physically map its signal samples. In the setup process, this is done via a “Project Wizard” that guides you through the data input. But after the “Project”,i.e. survey is established, you can access the data in Figure 6 via the View > Project Properties menu.

AirMagnet Surveyor Project properties

Figure 6: Project properties

You can see that you enter the maximum Length and Width and information about the signal propagation characteristics of the survey area. You can choose from three “Environment” presets – Restricted Closed Office, Open Space Office and Commercial – with default propagations of 20, 40 and 60 feet respectively, or enter your own value. You can also enter the default transmit power used for signal propagation calculations for all APs.

Tip Tip: You can later tweak transmit power and a number of other AP parameters in Display mode by right-clicking on an AP and selecting Properties.

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