Commercial WLAN Analyzers

Commercial WLAN Analyzers

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Written By Lisa Phifer

IT staff looking for a commercial WLAN analyzer have plenty of options, generally offering more features than open source alternatives.

To illustrate commercial product breadth, here is a representative (non-exhaustive!) list of commercial WLAN analyzers. We’ve included manufacturer’s suggested retail prices for several of these products, but prices change and volume/site licenses are usually available, so please consult vendor websites for further information.

AirMagnet Laptop ($3,499) and Handheld ($2,995) are software products designed to perform 802.11a/b/g WLAN analysis on Windows XP/2000 or Pocket PC platforms, respectively. Companion wireless IDS (Distributed) and site survey (Surveyor) products are also available from AirMagnet.

Baseband Technologies LinkFerret Network Monitor and Protocol Analyzer ($295) is a Win32 program that supports traffic capture and analysis for Ethernet and 802.11b/g networks. A Remote Agent is also available for distributed traffic capture.

Berkeley Varitronics Systems (BVS) sells a suite of WLAN analysis products, including Yellowjacket 802.11a and Yellowjacket 802.11b/g Analysis Systems. Yellowjacket runs on a off-the-shelf or integrated IPAQ Pocket PCs; GPS, directional antenna, and Bird’s Eye indoor mapping software options are also available.

Fluke Networks OptiView Series II Integrated Network Analyzer is a portable analyzer sold in hardware form. An OptiView wireless option is available to monitor 802.11a/b/g networks.

Javvin Network Packet Analyzer ($249) is a general-purpose Win32 protocol analyzer that can be used with 802.11 adapters, but does not support RFMON mode traffic capture.

Network General (formerly NAI/McAfee) Sniffer Wireless ($6,995 perpetual license) provides 802.11a/b capture and expert analysis on both Win32 and Pocket PC platforms.

Network Instruments Observer ($995) is general-purpose protocol analyzer for Windows 2000/XP/2003 that can record and analyze local or remote 802.11a/b/g traffic. The Observer line also includes Expert ($2895) and distributed Suite products.

TamoSoft CommView for Wi-Fi ($499) is a Windows 2000/XP/2003 program that provides packet capture, monitoring, and analysis for 802.11a/b/g networks.

Tektronics WCA11G Signal Analysis Win32 software works in conjunction with the WCA300, a hardware-based Communications Analyzer, to analyze 802.11 a/b/g RF signals. This is a dedicated spectrum analyzer, but not a protocol analyzer.

WildPackets AiroPeek ($995) is a Windows XP/2000-based protocol analyzer for 802.11a/b/g networks. An “Expert” version (AiroPeekNX, $3,495) and a hardware probe (RFGrabber) are also available.

Lisa Phifer
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