inSSIDer Office groups access points (APs), networks, and channels in three different ways:
|Physical||Groups different SSIDs associated with one physical radio (AP) together|
|Logical||Groups different physical radios (APs) associated with a single SSID together|
|Channels||Groups channels together|
Each of the above listed modes has its own table associated with it:
Physical Mode Table
Physical Mode table shows a list of actual physical radios. Each radio can have 1 or more SSID associated with it:
The Radio value can be either a single MAC address, a virtual MAC address representing more than one MAC address on a single radio or an Alias. An alias can be either a custom name that the user specifies for a MAC address or a name that comes from a Cisco or Aruba AP.
SSID is an abbreviation of “Service Set Identifier”, which is the name an 802.11 wireless network uses to identify itself. There can be one or more SSID associated with a Radio.
The current 802.11 channel associated with the Radio. Sometimes the channel is displayed as two numbers separated by a + or - which indicates that the Radio is operating with a bonded channel. The first number is the primary channel followed by the secondary channel. The secondary channel is either above (+) or below (-) the primary channel.
Current signal strength in dBm as provided by the network adapter. The closer to -20 dBm, the better.
The number of SSIDs associated with the Radio
802.11 protocols supported by the access point. An AP can contain a subset of currently supported Phy Types, which include 802.11 a, b, g, n, and ac.
Radio security is classified into three groups:
Open Lock - Indicates a network that is unsecured. None of the data on the network is encrypted.
Broken Lock - WEP, which is a very broken and unsecure encryption method. This encryption method can be broken into in a matter of minutes.
Closed Lock - WPA or WPA2 wireless security encryption. These are the best security options available today. We recommend WPA or WPA 2 with WPS disabled, which is the most secure.
- MIN BASIC RATE
The minimum data rate at which a connected client can communicate with an AP on this Radio. Values of 1, 2, 5.5 and 11 mbps indicate that there may be legacy (802.11b) connections associated with this Radio. Disabling slower data rates will force all devices to either talk faster, or disassociate from the network, which will increase overall network performance.
- MAX DATA RATE
The maximum data rate at which a connected client can communicate with an AP on this Radio.
Logical Mode Table
The information presented in the Logical Mode table is grouped by SSIDs where each SSID can be associated with one or more AP. This group of APs is also known as an ESSID. Each ESSID can be associated with multiple channels, radios and security types. The following describes the columns in the Logical Mode table:
In Logical mode, there will always only be one ESSID per grouping.
The channels that are currently associated with the ESSID. There can be one or more channels. A channel with an asterisk (like 157*) will occur in the following cases:
- Bonded: Two 20 MHz 802.11g channels bonded together;
- 802.11n 40MHz: A single 40MHz wide channel;
- 802.11ac 40/80/160MHz: A single 40/80/160MHz channel or two 80MHz channels bonded together.
- RADIO COUNT
The number of radios that the ESSID is associated with.
Each radio has a security type associated with it. Consequently, there can be multiple security types associated with the ESSID. Having multiple security types is not recommended for a single ESSID, see this article for more information.
Channels Mode Table
The information presented in the Channels Mode table is grouped by a list of channels in 5GHz and/or in 2.4GHz band, depending on the Wi-Spy device you have. Channels Mode table information is derived from the RF energy provided by a Wi-Spy device. The advantage of the Channels Mode table is that it tells you which busy channels you should avoid and which channel you should switch to in order to achieve best network performance.
Each wireless network operates on a specific Wi-Fi channel. There are 14 channels in the 2.4 GHz band. North America allows the use of channels 1-11, Japan, 1-14, and the rest of the world uses channels 1-13. 5 GHz band provides 24 non-overlapping channels, 36-165. For more information about the two bands, see this article. To achieve best network performance in the 2.4 GHz band, we recommend using channels 1, 6, and 11.
- CHANNEL UTILIZATION
Utilization is the percentage of time devices are actively using the channel. A channel can be used by only one wireless device at a time, so sharing a channel with several devices means your device has to wait for others to stop talking, slowing your network down. To achieve best network performance, we recommend switching to a channel with lowest utilization.
- ON-CHANNEL NETWORKS
The number of wireless networks on the channel. The fewer, the better!
- MAX SIGNAL
The maximum signal strength of all devices operating on the channel.
- OVERLAPPING NETWORKS
The number of wireless networks that are partially overlapping. The fewer, the better. Partially overlapping networks cause one of the worst types of interference.
- MAX OVERLAPPING SIGNAL
Maximum signal strength of all devices operating on overlapping channels.
- 80211.B PRESENT
The presence of legacy 802.11b devices slows the entire network down. If possible, stay off of channels were legacy devices are present. Otherwise, talk to you neighbor and ask them to get rid of their legacy devices.