Wireless Survey of church building with Netspot

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Wireless Survey of church building with Netspot

Postby pcardelli » Sun May 25, 2014 6:30 pm

Was wondering if anyone else has tried this out besides me. I'm an information security professional and recently been working on several wireless security related projects. One of those projects was to survey the wifi coverage of several buildings. The software I use is called Netspot, yes it currently only works on Macs, but an iPad version is in development.

Basically you can upload a google map or floor plan, scale it (I usually use the doors as they are usually 36 inches). Then you just walk around and take samples through out the building until you have covered the whole building for my first that was about 60 survey spots. Then the software takes all that data and creates a cool heat map, and can pinpoint where all your access points are and weak signal spots which are in blue. If an AP is placed right you can focus the signal inside the buildings and avoid too much of it leaking out into the parking lots.

Also another known issue when planning a wireless deployment is that each access point has a limited number of devices that can connect. I haven't looked up the cisco AP's data sheet but usually that is 30-40 devices per AP. I know not all buildings have the resources to justify so your milage may very, but most buildings are similar so feel free to use my maps to help plan your wireless AP deployment. I'll upload a few more later this week.

As for the Netspot software, incase your curious goes for about $150, but was on sale at one site for $29 last week.
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Re: Wireless Survey of church building with Netspot

Postby russellhltn » Sun May 25, 2014 11:30 pm

Some of us have used ekahau which runs on a PC. It's free, but the limitation is that you have to use screen shots to save the data and must complete your survey and screen shots in 15 minutes, as data older then 15 minutes is erased. Attached is one such heat map I've done.

One limitation I've found is that the program has no concept of walls. The map is there just to help you plot your points as you do your walk-around. It's not used to consider a barrier to the WiFi signal.
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Re: Wireless Survey of church building with Netspot

Postby aclawson » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:13 am

FYI - NetSpot seems to be apple only.

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Re: Wireless Survey of church building with Netspot

Postby Biggles » Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:52 am

aclawson wrote:FYI - NetSpot seems to be apple only.

As implied in the OP post. :D

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Re: Wireless Survey of church building with Netspot

Postby mprusse » Sun Jun 15, 2014 1:56 pm

Funny you should mention this app and its price. I discovered it also on sale for $29 when I was looking to do just this type of survey for our building. I conducted the survey shown (signal to noise ratio) and mine included over 300 sampling points! Ours certainly showed us vital information we are acting on now in adjusting our WAP locations. For instance, we discovered that if you want the best WiFi in the building for a lesson then teach it in the bathrooms or kitchen!
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Re: Wireless Survey of church building with Netspot

Postby pcardelli » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:38 pm

I finished placing a couple more AP's and now the wireless seems to be working much better in the classrooms and I rarely get complaints now (unless charter disconnects the internet, but thats a whole other issue and a little social engineering got it back up within 30 minutes).

Very detailed survey, bet it took some time to do 300 points, but like you said they are very actionable. What I really like about Netspot is that it will even show all the other rogue or outside APs that are also creating noise that can cause issues.

While it is an Apple product, I would still offer it as a solid solution for those that can get access to a Mac Book Pro or Mac Book Air. Ekahau looks like a good alternative if you don't have access to a Mac Laptop, although after using both I still would rather use Netspot. Both are free trials, but if you find one on sale it is well worth it.

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