Last updated on September 8th, 2020
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The full Ekahau Pro Release Notes are available at Ekahau download site at: Ekahau Pro and Ekahau Site Survey Release Notes. The Sidekick Release Notes can be. The all-in-one product suite for high performing Wi-Fi. Ekahau Sidekick. All-in-one, precise diagnostic and measurement device. The industry-standard tool to plan & manage Wi-Fi networks. Pro-grade Wi-Fi site survey tool for iPhone & iPad. Ekahau Analyzer. Pro-grade Wi-Fi health validation.
WiFi heatmapper software and wireless site survey tools for Windows 10, mac, iPhone, iPad and Android from 7 global vendors is presented in this article in a simple table format, along with indicative online prices as on March 11, 2020.
In this article:
- Main uses of site survey tools
- Predictive Site Survey
- AP on a Stick Survey
- Passive and Active Site Survey
- Spectrum Analysis
List of WiFi heatmapper software tools
How To Use Ekahau Heatmapper
WiFi Heatmapper software definition
Ever since WiFi became popular, the need to scientifically manage corporate WLANs also grew. Since wireless communication happens over the air through electro-magnetic waves, it becomes impossible to manage it without sophisticated tools that can “see” the communication and troubleshoot it.
WiFi site survey software addressed this need. They can be used to plan, design and troubleshoot WLANs with scientific perfection. WiFi site survey software helps users to visualize the invisible wireless spectrum and fine tune the WLAN with confidence.
The software converts the signal strengths noted in different spots of a worksite into a corresponding color code. These colors can be displayed as an overlay on a site floor map, thus converting the invisible wireless signals in an area into a visible, human readable “heatmap”. This resulted in the map being called as WiFi heatmap and the tool being called as WiFi heatmapper software.
Main uses of WiFi Heatmapper Software and Site Survey tools
Predictive Site Survey
Predictive Site Survey is a virtual simulation of the planned WLAN, executed on a laptop or desktop, without visiting the work site. It is virtual WiFi heatmapping of the area using virtual access points.
The floor map of the work site is fed into the survey tool. Then the tool usually allows the user to build the whole site virtually in the software including obstacles like walls, floor, ceiling, furniture etc. The property of the obstacles can also be specified, like type of wall material, their dimensions etc.
Once the virtual site is ready, the planned WLAN can be simulated by specifying Access Point(AP) types and their locations. Some tools have an option to automate this process. The Access Points can be moved around to get the required coverage output at specific areas of site.
This predictive site survey process helps to build a virtual WLAN network with required coverage using same or similar virtual Access Points planned for purchase.
WiFi heatmapper for conducting AP on a Stick Survey
AP on a Stick Survey is conducted as a validation survey to ensure the virtual design made using predictive site survey is robust and without gaps.
The survey is conducted on-site. An Access Point similar or same as the one planned for purchase is activated using a mobile battery pack. Then the AP is placed at the site as per WLAN design and a passive site survey is conducted using WiFi heatmapper software around the AP area and the survey file is saved. This process is repeated for all planned AP locations.
Once the survey is completed at all the AP locations, all the individual survey files are merged to create a single file that will showcase the signal propagation of the AP across the whole work site in a WiFi heat map. This is equivalent to covering the whole site with required number of APs and then conducting the survey.
This step helps to validate a WLAN design and to close any design gaps that arise on an actual site.
WiFi heatmapper software for Passive and Active WiFi Site Survey
Indoor or Outdoor passive and active WiFi Site Survey is conducted on-site using laptops/tablets or mobile phones. For indoor sites a floor map is used. For outdoor surveys, a GPS tool is integrated with the WiFi heatmapper software.
Passive WiFi site survey is conducted using WiFi adapters connected to the site survey device. This survey captures all the 802.11 radio signals in the survey area. The survey data is visually represented on the indoor floor map or outdoor google map in different colors as per signal strength. Various other properties of each 802.11 signal like channel information, approximate location of its AP, MAC address, Manufacturer info etc is also recorded. This gives a fair idea about density of WiFi signals in a given area. This information is very useful in understanding and mitigating interference, WLAN signal gaps etc.
Active WiFi site survey helps in recording real throughputs available in a particular area from a given WLAN. Various other “active” data like collisions, transmission errors, round trip times etc are also recorded across a work site.
Some site survey software tools have the capability to integrate with in-house and 3rd party spectrum analyzers for inspecting non-802.11 signal interference in a given area. This aspect makes the site survey solution a complete package since both WiFi and non-WiFi interference can be recorded and analyzed effectively.
Non-WiFi interference creates severe difficulties in WLAN transmission. And the sources are usually discreet and unassuming like microwave ovens, certain CCTV cameras, cordless phones, bluetooth devices etc. Using WiFi spectrum analyzer tools to find and mitigate such sources of interference becomes very critical in WiFi performance management.
Dynamic solutions in an expanding market
IDC reported 3Q19 Gobal Enterprise WLAN market at $1.62 billion. It is expected to grow steadily due to the introduction of newer technologies like WiFi 6 (802.11ax). In this growing market the suite of solutions offered by WiFi site survey vendors are also dynamically changing.
Many vendors are offering reliable WiFi site survey software. It can be used to design and simulate a WLAN, do “AP on a stick” surveys for validating the design, conduct on-site WiFi site survey to generate WiFi heat map of the area, analyze non-802.11 signals using spectrum analyzer adapters etc.
Some vendors are also offering WLAN troubleshooting software as either integrated into their main WiFi site survey software or as a standalone tool. They can be used to find and fix WLAN issues effectively.
Mature vendors have an organized set of offerings, while upcoming vendors keep adding features and solutions to their kitty almost on a monthly basis. This makes the field difficult to keep pace with and to make quick comparisons when planning to buy. So we thought of making a chart showing WiFi heatmapper solutions from some of the known names in the Industry in 2020.
WiFi heatmapper software and site survey tools comparison
The below WiFi heatmapper software and site survey tools comparison covers both software and hardware options provided by few select vendors known across the globe. The vendors we have chosen are Ekahau, Airmagnet, Visiwave, iBwave, Netspot, Tamosoft and Acrylic. We are planning to update this table on a periodic basis to keep up with the developments.
Comparison of WiFi Site Survey Software Packages From Selected Vendors (As on March 11, 2020)
|WiFi Site Survey Software||Ekahau Pro , Ekahau Survey||Airmagnet Survey Pro, AirMapper App For in-house handheld tools (April 2020 launch)||Visiwave Site Survey & Pro||Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps, Pro & Home||Netspot Home, Pro & Commercial||Tamograph Standard & Pro||iBwave Wi-Fi, iBwave Mobile|
|WLAN Planner Software(Predictive Surveys)||Ekahau Pro (Integrated)||Airmagnet Planner||Visiwave Site Survey Pro (Integrated)||Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps (Integrated)||Upcoming||Tamograph Pro (Integrated)||iBwave Wi-Fi & iBwave Mobile|
|Spectrum Analysis Software (non-802.11 signal analysis)||Ekahau Pro (Integrated), Ekahau Analyzer(iOS)||Airmagnet Spectrum XT||Visiwave Site Survey Combo DBx + Chanalyzer (3rd Party Spectrum Analyzer Bundle)||Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps (Integrated- Supports 3rd party Spectrum analyzer: Wi-Spy DBx)||Not available||Tamograph Pro (Integrated- Supports 3rd party Spectrum analyzer:Wi-Spy DBx)||Not available|
|WLAN Troubleshooting Software/Hardware||Ekahau Pro (Integrated) , Ekahau Analyzer (iOS)||Airmagnet WiFi Analyzer, EtherScope nXG (Handheld) & Aircheck G2 (Handheld)||Visiwave Traffic (Packet Analysis Tool)||Acrylic Wi-Fi Professional (Integrated)||Netspot (Integrated),||Tamograph Standard & Pro (Integrated) , CommView||Not available|
|Operating Systems Supported||Windows 10, 8, or 7 (64bit) ; macOS 10.11+ (El Capitan); iOS 12 or higher||Windows 10, 8.1 Pro/Enterprise;|
Mac OS X v10.9+ running windows using Bootcamp
|Windows 8.1/10/ Surface Pro ; MAC OS X virtualization: VMware Fusion, Parallels||Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista||Windows 7/8/10|
|Windows 7,8,8.1,10, Server 2008R2,2012 (32 &64 bit); macOS Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave, Catalina||Windows 7/10 (64 bit) ; Android 4.4+ (Android 9 not recommended)|
|Compatible WiFi Adapter||Ekahau Sidekick,Ekahau USB Survey Adapter, Preferred 3rd Party Adapters||Supported internal WiFi cards and preferred 3rd Party Adapters||Supported internal WiFi cards and 3rd party adapters||Supported internal WiFi cards and 3rd party adapters||Supported internal WiFi cards and 3rd party adapters||Supported internal WiFi cards and 3rd party adapters||Preferred WiFi Adapters|
|Spectrum Analyzer Adapter||Ekahau Sidekick, Ekahau Spectrum Analyzer||Airmagnet Spectrum USB||Wi-Spy DBx (3rd Party)||Wi-Spy DBx (3rd Party)||Not applicable||Wi-Spy DBx (3rd Party)||Not Applicable|
|Ordering||Online store (select countries only) & Appointed resellers||Appointed resellers||Online store and appointed resellers||Online store||Online store||Online store||Online store (select countries) & Appointed resellers|
|Online Pricing||Ekahau Pro: $7090 USD;|
Sidekick: $3295 USD
|Airmagnet Survey Pro+ Planner: $3899 USD;|
Airmagnet Spectrum XT: $3643 USD
|Visiwave Site Survey Pro: $849 USD;|
Visiwave Site Survey Combo DBx: $1649 USD
|Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps Perpetual: $2199 USD;|
Acrylic Wi-Fi Professional Perpetual: $40 USD
|Netspot Home: $49 USD;|
Netspot Pro: $149 USD;
Netspot Enterprise: $499 USD
|Tamograph Site Survey Pro: $1399 USD;|
Tamograph Bundle With Wi-Spy DBx: $1949 USD;
CommView for WiFi VoIP: $999 USD
|iBwave Wi-Fi Mobile Perpetual: $2680 USD;|
iBwave Wi-Fi PC Perpetual: $3995 USD
Overview of WiFi heatmapper products considered for comparison
AirMagnet is now part of the company Netally (LinkRunner LLC). Netally was spun out in 2019 from Netscout Systems, Inc that bought AirMagnet product set from Fluke Networks in 2014. Netally is situated in Colorado, USA.
AirMagnet has a complete suite of WiFi design and analysis tools. Their tool set is segmented into multiple individual products. AirMagnet Survey Pro is their primary site survey tool. AirMagnet Planner is their standalone WLAN planning and design tool. AirMagnet Spectrum XT is their spectrum analyzer tool, supported by AirMagnet Spectrum USB adapter. AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer Pro is for WiFi analysis and troubleshooting.
AirMagnet is also launching a WiFi site survey and WLAN analyzer app for their in-house handheld network analyzers. EtherScope nXG gets the app in April 2020 and Aircheck G2 gets it in Q3 2020.
The rugged handheld network analyzers can be deployed quickly by frontline staff to analyze WLANs and associated wired networks as well. EtherScope nXG is used for testing and troubleshooting wired and wireless networks whereas Aircheck G2 is dedicated for WiFi.
AirMagnet solutions are available for purchase from NetAlly’s global partner network.
Ekahau is currently owned by Ookla, the broadband and mobile network testing company. Ookla bought Ekahau from Nexit Ventures in Oct 2018. Ekahau started in 2000 as a provider of GSM and WiFi based(RTLS) location positioning solutions and then moved into the WiFi site survey business. From 2016, Ekahau is focussing only on WiFi site survey business after selling RTLS business to Airista.
Ekahau’s core product is Ekahau Pro, that can be used to design and analyze WiFi networks, including spectrum analysis. Ekahau Sidekick is the in-house all-in-one adapter that can be used for site surveys, spectrum analysis, packet capture etc.
Other than Windows and macOS, Ekahau also provides WiFi site survey and analysis solutions on iOS platform. Currently iOS solutions are available as part of an annual support subscription.
Ekahau claims to have more than 15,000 customers and 30% market share of Fortune 500 companies. It is headquartered in Virginia, USA.
Visiwave belongs to AZO Technologies, Inc., and located in Michigan, USA.
Visiwave’s core product is Visiwave Site Survey Pro, that includes the site survey and planner modules. And through its alliance, provides a combo solution including Wi-Spy DBx spectrum analyzer hardware and software.
Visiwave also has a standalone packet capture tool, called Traffic.
Visiwave products can be purchased online from their website as well as through their official resellers.
Acrylic WiFi site survey products belongs to the company Tarlogic Research S.L., Spain. Tarlogic is a cybersecurity company founded in 2011. It is also focusing on WiFi site survey and WLAN analysis.
Acrylic has 2 Enterprise products: Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps and Acrylic Wi-Fi Professional. The Wi-Fi Heatmaps product is for WLAN design and site surveys. Wi-Fi Professional is for WLAN troubleshooting and analysis. They also have a free WiFi scanner tool for home segment.
The products are available on their website for online purchase. Products are available either as monthly subscriptions or for outright purchase.
Netspot product belongs to the company Etwok Inc, situated in Delaware, USA.
Netspot was first launched in 2011 for macOS. It is now available on Windows and Android platforms as well.
There are 2 Enterprise grade products: Netspot Pro and Netspot Enterprise. While Netspot Pro is a single user license, the Enterprise version can be used by 10 users. They also have a paid single-user Home version for non-commercial purposes. They also provide a free download of their WiFi analysis tool, with limitations.
The software provides SNR visualizations on macOS without any additional adapters. They do not have detailed non 802.11 spectrum analysis capabilities as of now.
Tamograph belongs to Tamosoft, which was founded in 1998. The company is based in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Their main product is Tamograph Site Survey Pro which can do predictive, passive and active site surveys. The tool can also integrate with Wi-Spy DBx spectrum analyzer for analyzing non-802.11 interference.
Their “CommView for WiFi VoIP” software helps in troubleshooting a WLAN through packet capture techniques, including VoIP issues troubleshooting.
Ekahau Free Version
The company also has other paid and free wired and wireless network monitoring and analysis tools available.
All paid products are available for online purchase from their website.
iBwave site survey products belong to iBwave solutions, founded in 2003 and located in Quebec, Canada.
iBwave company is involved in developing software solutions for indoor cellular and WiFi design. They have standalone solutions for both the technologies.
Ekahau Heatmapper Android Download App
iBwave’s main WiFi design products are called iBwave Wi-Fi(for PC) and iBwave WiFi Mobile. Multi adapter active & passive WiFi site surveys and predictive surveys can be conducted using the tools. The WiFi design software also helps to arrive at a total network bill of materials. Through virtual cable routing and network device placements, quantities of components like data cables, switches, routers, controllers etc can be arrived at. 3D modelling is also available.
The design files can be shared and worked upon between the Mobile and PC versions of the design tool. The company gives 10 GB free online storage for the design files. They also have a read-only project file viewer (iBwave viewer) for helping end-customers to view the wireless design files.
In this WiFi heatmapper software and tools comparison showing Ekahau vs Airmagnet vs Visiwave vs Netspot vs Acrylic vs Tamograph vs iBwave offerings, we have not got into comparing the technical features of the products. Rather we have made an attempt to compare the overall WiFi design and WiFi site survey solution packages offered by these select set of companies. This post could serve as the first step in the buying cycle , before one gets deeper into comparing individual technical details and capabilities of each package.
Ekahau Heatmapper Android Download Windows 7
Heatmapper For Mac
Disclaimer: Product/pricing information presented in this article should strictly be considered as indicative. Manufacturers continuously change/upgrade product features through software releases and change prices based on sales promotions or newly launched feature sets. One must always refer the manufacturer website or talk to their local representatives to get latest information on product features/prices in their respective region.
All product/company/standards names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.