The second component is the software, Chanalyzer 5, which provides visualization of wireless transmissions from the spectrum analyzer. There are multiple versions of Chanalyzer with varying prices. The starter level is the Diagnose package ($749), which only analyzes the 2.4GHz band. You can purchase add-ons including Report Builder, for documenting results; Device Finder, an antenna which helps locate devices causing interfernece; and Lab Accessory, a high-level tool for customized spectrum analysis. Each add-on is $150. The Diagnose edition ($1,149), used for this review, can analyze both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, includes Report Builder and Device Finder, and offers support for Cisco devices. You can run Wi-Spy using Cisco CleanAir-enabled access points (the Aironet 1500, 2600, 3500, and 3600 Series). Of course, using the Cisco mode is optimal if Cisco access points are deployed on your network. The last option is the Diagnose and Optimize Plan ($2,148), which provides dual-band support, all add-ons (excluding Lab Accessory), and a feature called Tamograph that allows you to create professional wireless site surveys, complete with floor plans.
As you can see, the software is not cheap. However, if you take into account that many professional wireless analyzers, such as those from Fluke, can often cost upward of $3,000 (although Fluke also makes more affordable, general network troubleshooting tools such as the Fluke Networks LinkSprinter 200 ), you realize that it's actually a pretty good deal. In particular, a small-business network admin or someone who performs site surveys for SMB customers is getting a good deal with Wi-Spy.
Beautifully Capturing Wi-FiSince troubleshooting wireless issues can be frustrating, it's nice to have tools that are not, themselves, frustrating to use. Metageek made a great product with inSSIDer, but Wi-Spy + Chanalyzer 5 provides so much more information, including sources of interference. I am a little bothered by the data dropping in the Details view, but it may be specific to my setup, and hopefully it will be fixed in an update. As it is, however, Wi-Spy is a must-have if you do wireless site surveys and are looking for a relatively affordable utility. 2b1af7f3a8