I’ve been spending some quality time (under NDA) with the new version of AirCheck, and I’m very pleased with what Fluke Networks has done with the product line. Now that the wraps are off the new version, I’m tickled to be able to share what I’ve learned so far with a community that counts a lot of fans of the original AirCheck handheld tester in it’s ranks.
The premise is simple: put a tool in the hands of front-line network types that allows everyone to test the same way, and share their results with others when needed. Whether it be Enterprise Wi-Fi installers, service provider techs, or carriers that set up hotspots, the new AirCheck version is a nice add to the Windows 7 or 8 devices they are likely to be schlepping.
AirCheck for Windows amounts to:
- Software (will be part of your My AirMagnet inventory)
- License (same process as any AirMagnet tool
- I used the Proxim 8494 a/b/g/n USB adapter provided by Fluke Networks (identical to Ekahau’s DNUA-81) (Supported adapters are shown here)
Your device’s built-in adapter is used for active testing, while the external adapter I was provided was used for monitor mode functions. I do wish AirMagnet could have found a smaller one to use. I tend to run very small laptops, and the 8494 really sticks out- it feels like an accident waiting to happen. But.. that’s my only real beef with the AirCheck for Windows, and I’m not quite sure that the external adapter is needed in all cases after viewing the product spec sheet. The solution installs like any other AirMagnet product.
What it Does
The start menu shown above gives you a sense of what the new AirCheck does. You wanna see all APs and/or clients in the area, along with their WLAN-related info? That’s easy. Do a sight survey? Sure- that’s there as well. So is overall channel information for both bands. This is still AirCheck, baby…
Easy to navigate in a well designed, minimalist GUI, you can run through a variety of findings and save them as a Project. The results of the project can be turned into a nice report, or shared with others who can reopen them in their own copy of AirCheck for WIndows.
This is all very nice, but there is one feature that I really appreciate,
In the name of quantifying the user experience in a given location on the WLAN (call it Service Assurance, if you will, although here it’s not nearly as granular as the likes of 7signal or Streetwise), I can configure any number of Test Profiles on my AirCheck for Windows and export it to technicians to use, so we’re all testing the exact same way on trouble tickets.
You can set destinations, thresholds, and repetitions for testing:
- What WLAN SSID gets used (there is a provision for Web portal logins if needed)
- DNS resolution time, what URLs you want to test
- Ping destinations
- http and FTP download times
- audio and video streaming quality
Again- I like the idea of being able to have even less skilled techs run the same battery of tests I might run when responding to trouble, while also giving the more savvy WLAN support folks flexibility to add other tests. All the results can be saved and exported for reference later on, or for analysis by senior troubleshooters.
Of course, the non-AirMagnet WLAN adapter in use on each client device will have a bearing on the test results (remember, the AirMagnet adapter only runs in monitor mode) and so you’ll want to consider what platform you run AirCheck for Windows from.
But wait-there’s more!
-If you run AirCheck for Windows from a laptop. you can also test through the Ethernet jack for comparing the WLAN feel to that of the LAN (nice option).
-And… an Android app version is also coming in Q2 of this year.
AirCheck for Windows ballpark list price: around $900
Other screenshots for AirCheck from Windows: