Simplified WLAN Analysis: The AirMagnet Attraction, Part 2

Last week, in Part 1
of our analysis
, we described the interface of the AirMagnet.
Now that we have a feel for navigation and output, let’s consider how AirMagnet
can be used to support common WLAN administration tasks,
beginning with site surveys.

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We had very little trouble using AirMagnet from day one for WLAN discovery
and find in conference centers, offices, and residential settings. We used these
same functions while traveling by car and train to log SSIDs and estimate the
ratio of unprotected networks. The only trick is knowing how frequently to
save/export and understanding the difference. Using the Survey tool took a bit
more practice and a lot more patience, but that’s largely due to the nature of
the task, not the tool. GPS support in v2.5 makes AirMagnet a stronger site
survey assistant.

Fine tuning a WLAN

After you deploy a WLAN, you can use the AirMagnet Handheld to spot-check performance
by using the Survey tool to reassess signal/noise/loss coverage, comparing new
results to previous results.

AirMagnet Laptop (or Duo) can be used to continuously monitor WLAN
performance in real time, either by moving the analyzer to key locations at
regular intervals or by deploying a copy permanently at each location. In a
smaller WLAN, this is probably sufficient.

In a large WLAN, this approach is not going to provide a single, consolidated
view of performance. Still, it can be very useful to run independent copies of
AirMagnet 24×7 on each floor or at each office to generate performance alarms.

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Reprinted from ISP Planet.

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Keeping WLANs secure

AirMagnet can be used to
check for security policy compliance and would-be intruders by repeating
discovery and comparing results. If you maintain an Access list, the ACL tool
makes it trivial to notice new nodes and old nodes that are now offline. The
Access list can be updated directly from the ACL tool, but a reminder to export
the profile when done would be helpful. Using the Find tool, one can then seek
(and destroy!) newly-identified rogue APs and stations.

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