Home is Where the WiFi is Stay Connected

  1. Home is Where the WiFi is
  2. Stay Connected

Consider that today most of the devices we use don’t even have an Ethernet LAN port anymore and WiFi is the only way we can communicate, work or stream video and audio in our local networks.

WiFi is the access technology of choice used not only in homes but in businesses and public spaces across the globe. With countless deployments including residential, private and public Hotspots, managed SMBs and hospitality services, WiFi is both a source of great opportunities and challenges for carriers. Customer expectations are high but they have very limited knowledge of the technologies’ environmental limitations or best practices, leading to numerous service calls.

VeEX’s new WiFi Air Expert provides the tools for reliable, repeatable install procedures that go beyond RF layer analysis. It provides complete performance testing that measures end user’s experience under traffic load.

WiFi Access Technology

The Air Expert combines many WiFi tool functionalities into a standalone, compact and easy-to-use platform. With WiFi and wired Ethernet interfaces and a dedicated spectrum analyzer, it removes the need to carry around various specialized pieces of test equipment. It covers all aspects of the installation and maintenance processes, from RF network discovery and survey, to troubleshooting and traffic load performance testing.

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The Air Expert Module for the MTTplus platform is equipped with 802.11ac 3x3:3 WiFi capabilities to discover the network’s Access Points, Clients and Channels. With results in table and graphical format, it is easy to scroll through and sort information for quick identification of issues and easy-to-understand picture of co-channel and adjacent channel interferers.

Warning signs alert technicians about AP configuration issues as well as if any measurements go beyond thresholds.

A required step for any installation is to survey the facility for proper coverage with a site walk through. The Air Expert Level tracking function facilitates this step by providing Signal and Noise levels tracking in graphical and table format.

With user configurable thresholds, it is easy to pinpoint where the Signal or Noise levels fall below acceptable quality and ensure site readiness. With a set of pre-configured and configurable location labels, add location information to your measurements to create a full record of the facility walk through.

To ensure that network connectivity is available, the Air Expert emulates a client and connects to an AP with customer credentials. The interface allows the technician to review association and authentication status. Network troubleshooting tools Ping and Traceroute verify connectivity to the internet while the ARPWiz application discovers the local network.

Surveying the RF environment is a good first step for any installation to determine network performance in terms of coverage and connectivity. But real time and bandwidth hungry applications like video and audio streaming, place a traffic load strain on the network that cannot be properly assessed with RF metrics alone. The customer’s true Quality of Experience (QoE) can only be measured with traffic loads simulating an end user’s application data traffic. The Air Expert V-Perf dual-ended upload and download traffic test evaluates the network’s performance under load and measures QoE parameters from an end user’s point of view.

Technicians can quickly establish whether the achieved upload and download rates meet SLA requirements and readiness for high bandwidth traffic like audio and video streaming, with pre-configured profiles for common applications (Netflix, YouTube, Skype, VoIP….).

WiFi performance is highly dependent on environmental factors. RF signals can be attenuated or blocked by physical obstacles like large metallic objects or concrete walls, neighboring APs with high traffic load can reduce performance, and non-WiFi interference sources, like cordless phones, video cameras or baby monitors, can disrupt WiFi transmission.

Since environmental factors will vary from location to location, no two installs will face the same challenges. Yet it is important to follow a repeatable install procedure to ensure consistency in the service level provided to the end user.

The Air Expert Auto Test function provides an automated, reliable and repeatable installation routine. With configurable test profiles for consistency, and test results clearly marked with Pass, Fail or Warning status, technicians are provided with an easy-to-use and comprehensive site assessment routine.

With the WiFi RF frequency bands open for unlicensed use, they are used by many common RF emitting devices including cordless phones, Bluetooth, ZigBee, baby monitors, wireless audio or security systems. All of these devices constitute sources of non-WiFi interference.

Many highly disruptive and intermittent WiFi performance issues can be traced to non-WiFi interferers. But unless technicians are armed with a specialized spectrum analyzer, they will be powerless in detecting these interference sources since traditional WiFi network scanning tools can only discover 802.11 WiFi devices.

The Air Expert offers a dedicated spectrum analyzer that displays all RF activity – WiFi and non-WiFi interferers – in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. The Spectrum Analyzer view allows technicians to visualize interference sources overlapping with the AP under test.

If suspected rogue APs or Clients are present on the network, the Air Expert locate function can be used to track the physical location of the device. With an external directional antenna, the function monitors the strength of the signal, and reports progress.

The Air Expert is optionally fitted with an RJ45 10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet interface and an SFP 1000Base-X interface. This allows technicians to verify or troubleshoot the wired access network and broadband access.

IP tools provide Ethernet and Internet connectivity verification and troubleshooting tools, and support IPv4 (Static, DHCP) and VLAN. Network troubleshooting tools Ping and Traceroute verify connectivity to the internet while the ARPWiz application discovers the local network.

The Power over Ethernet (PoE) test function supports emulation of Powered Device and allows technicians to identify the pairs used. This function also measures PoE voltage.

V-Perf dual ended test is compatible with iPerf3 servers, or an MTTplus Air Expert connected on the WiFi interface to run Ethernet to WiFi data throughput test. The test can also be performed to a cloud-based server, to qualify WiFi and Broadband access bandwidth in one step.

WiFi Air Expert Video Series

Become a WiFi expert with our WiFi Air Expert series. This Video series introduces important WiFi technology concepts in short video segments.

Part I: WiFi Standards Overview

Part IV: WiFi Interference

Part II: WiFi Frequency Bands and Channels

Part V: WiFi Antennas

Part III: Understanding RF and WiFi Physical Layer