Collaboration between Cisco Systems and AirMagnet has led to the release of a version of the AirMagnet Enterprise Analyzer for Cisco. The software is specifically designed to provide real-time analysis of a network using Cisco’s lightweight access points both to collect data and to provide client access.
“It does all the stuff you’d expect from Analyzer,” says Wade Williamson, product manager at AirMagnet, “It tells you what’s wrong with the network, what devices are slow, in real time and remotely. This is a low-risk approach to figure out intermittent problems that always pop up on wireless LANs.” He says customers may not have many problems, but that there’s always one they don’t know how to handle. “They need to diagnose that on the spot,” he says.
APs supporting LWAPP can be set to a sniffer mode to gather data across all channels, not just the one the network uses. The data is routed back to the Enterprise Analyzer 3.0 software, where it’s checked, and any needed alarms are generated to notify IT personnel about problems.
“APs in sniffer mode are dedicated; they’re not handling data,” says Williamson. “They don’t have to be that way all the time — you can convert it. But it’s practical, since most of the lightweight AP deployments from Cisco are in pico-cells, with lots of APs… it’s not uncommon to have a spare AP with no one associated with it that can be used for sniffer traffic.” This is not time-slicing, like some APs do, where they spend a portion of their time sniffing. Williamson says the change from sniffer to standard AP and back is just a configuration change made via a Cisco management console.
The software uses AirMagnet’s AirWISE intelligence engine, which is also used in the AirMagnet Survey 3.0 product.
AirMagnet has a similar version of Enterprise Analyzer available for Aruba Networks.
Pricing for the Cisco and Aruba versions start the same, at $9,995 for deployments that cover three controllers. Pricing goes up to $15,000 to work with an unlimited number of controllers.
“With 50 controllers around the world in remote offices, you can talk to them all from one copy of the software,” says Williamson.