I’ll start this post with two admissions:
1. Of late, I’ve been interested in the capabilities of 7Signal.
2. Long before 7Signal came to the WLAN space, I’ve been beating the drum for my WLAN vendor (and all vendors) to deliver what I call virtual client functionality.
On 7SIgnal, I’m struggling with sticker shock and trying to figure out where it’s very cool capabilities stop and where they overlap with tools like Cisco’s CleanAir (which isn’t cheap either). I am hearing good things about 7Signal from current customers.
About that virtual client thing, it is something 7Signal can do (along with a slew of other cool things). But by now, I also think this is one of those capabilities that should be built into enterprise WLAN systems. (If I’m not mistaken, Motorola comes closest to having something like this.)
Quick note to vendors- you give us one innovation after another that you think would benefit your clients. Thank you. But how about this one that is long overdue? Your customers that actually run the WLANs of the world would LOVE you for it.
Here are two versions of what I’m looking for:
- I can do all of this through my wireless management system
- I can schedule the function to run at regular intervals and report on it
- I choose one of my installed APs to put into “Virtual Client Mode”
- Through the wire, I can have my Virtual Client connect to each of my SSIDs and exercise the likes of RADIUS, Credential Stores, DHCP/DNS, L2 and L3 paths via ping, traceroute, etc, rate limiting, throughput tests, whatever
- All of this is coordinated in a way that doesn’t disrupt the existing client environment
- All of the above, PLUS
- I can manually choose any AP within a given range
- I can tell the virtual client to test itself against every AP it can hear within a certain range
You probably get the gist. The payoff- I can “be” in buildings or at sites that I don’t have to travel to. The Virtual Client would be a force multiplier, and in many situations would bring far more value than seeing pages upon pages of rogues and interfering signals from neighboring WLANs that I couldn’t react to if I wanted (hallmark of many current systems).
I can’t believe that I’m about to say this- I get tired of the sometime extreme feature licensing that has come to be all too common in the WLAN industry. But I’d actually pay (a fair price) for GOOD virtual client functionality.
Am I asking for too much? Are there WLAN vendors beyond 7Signal that are natively doing this that I don’t know of?