Table of Contents
- Coloring Rules
- Radios and Networks Grouping
- Send Report
- AP Aliasing
- Copy to Clipboard
- Network Table Terms
inSSIDer Technician for Windows Desktop is a WiFi optimization and troubleshooting tool. It scans for wireless networks with your WiFi adapter, so you can visualize their signal strengths, and what channels they are using. It also lists a lot of useful information about each network.
inSSIDer Technician also listens for raw radio frequency (RF) activity with your Wi-Spy DBx, which is a special device called a "spectrum analyzer". This helps us see how busy each channel really is (not just how many networks are on a channel). For more information on how inSSIDer Technician displays RF density, view the knowledge base article on How To Use Density View.
The WiFi adapter gives us information about nearby wireless networks, while the Wi-Spy DBx gives us information about channel activity and interference.
inSSIDer Technician is great for:
- Picking the best channel for your access point
- Performing channel-planning on a multi-AP network
- Avoiding interference
- Measuring channel use (utilization)
- Performing coverage checks
- Optimizing wireless networks
Networks Table, Details Pane, and Networks Graph
inSSIDer Technician shows information in three different ways:
|Shows a list of all of the nearby wireless access points, wireless networks, or channels.
|Shows details about the selected access point, wireless network, or channel. Click on a line item in the Networks Table to reveal the associated Details Pane.
|Shows a graphical representation of nearby wireless networks, what their signal strengths are, and how they share channels and overlap with each other.
Open and Close the Details Pane
To open the Details Pane in any grouping mode, click on the associated line item. To close the pane, click the X button.
Radios, Networks, and Channel Grouping
inSSIDer Technician also groups access points, networks, and channels in three different ways:
|Groups virtual SSIDs on the same access point together
|Groups access points with the same SSID together
|Groups channels together
Note: Each group has a dedicated section below.
inSSIDer Technician links networks, access points, and channels together with the Network Drilldown button, and can be found in most tables. Click on the Network Drilldown button to visit the associated item.
inSSIDer Technician draws a network shape in the 2.4 and 5 GHz channels graph for every network it hears with your WiFi adapter. Each network shape is centered over the channel that it is on, and the height of the shape shows how loud the network is (represented by amplitude).
802.11b network (max rate of 2 or 11 Mbps) will be drawn with a curved top.
802.11 a/g/n networks will be drawn with a flat top.
inSSIDer Technician lists all of the networks that it can hear with your WiFi adapter.
Above the Networks Table, you'll find the filter bar. You can filter by SSID, MAC Address, Channel, Signal Strength, Security, and Phy Type.
Type in the data you wish to filter by, and hit the enter key to apply the filter. Clicking the X next to your filter will remove it.
inSSIDer Technician color-codes all networks and network groups. The color scheme is consistent throughout in swatches next to network names, network shapes, selected items, and details fields.
Unselected networks with no grouping applied, most networks get their own color.
Selected Network Mode
Shows relationships between networks, depending on which network is selected.
|A network that partially overlaps with your network, causing adjacent-channel interference (worst)
|A network that shares a channel with your network (better)
|Selected Radio or Network (ESSID) group
|Selection within a Radio or Networks group
|Unselected network that doesn't relate to or overlap with your selected network
inSSIDer Technician groups access points Radios (multiple SSID's on one access point) or Networks (multiple access points with the same SSID, making them all part of one ESSID).
With Radios Grouping, all virtual SSID's on the same radio are grouped together. Each line item then represents one physical radio on an access point that is the host of more than one SSID.
Radios Grouping Mode works best when you are working with a single access point. A common use case scenario for this mode might be picking the best channel for a home wireless network.
Radio Details Pane
The Radio Details Pane displays:
|Current signal strength in dBm
|Current channel of the access point
|The channel that inSSIDer recommends for the best performance
|Strongest Overlapping Radio
|The loudest radio that is on an adjacent (partially overlapping) channel
|Strongest Co-Channel Radio
|The loudest radio that is sharing the same channel as your network
Radio Details Table
The Radio Details Table lists each virtual SSID on the selected radio, along with each respective MAC Address and Security type.
Signal Strength Over Time Graph
Towards the bottom, you can view the signal strength of your radio over time (blue), as well as the signal strength of the strongest overlapping radio (red), and the strongest co-channel radio (yellow).
With Networks Grouping, all access points with the same SSID are grouped together.
This mode works best when your network has more than one access point. A common use case scenario for ESSID Grouping is ensuring that your corporate network provides adequate or continuous coverage throughout a building.
Networks Group Table
Each access points that belongs to the Netoworks Group (or ESSID Group) is listed in the table.
The Networks Group Table displays:
|Either the MAC address, AP name (Cisco and Aruba only), or custom AP Alias. Click the Pencil icon to set your custom AP Alias.
|Wireless channel that the access point is on.
|802.11 protocols supported by the access point.
|The security protocol that the access is configured to support.
|Minimum supported data rate. Slower data rates fly farther, but cause more channel utilization.
|Maximum supported data rate.
|The amplitude level (loudness or signal strength) of the wireless network as seen by your computer’s wireless adapter.
|The higher the link score, the better. The amount of partially overlapping networks, amount of same-channel networks, and RF activity in the channel can all negatively affect the Link Score.
Signal Strength Over Time Graph
Towards the bottom, you can view the signal strength of all of the access points in your Networks Group. The colors are matched with the Networks Group Table, but you can click on a network in the table to highlight it in the graph.
Channels mode focuses on the health of each WiFi channel.
The Channels table shows:
|How often activity is occurring on the channel, or how often the channel is being "Utilized". Only one wireless device can use a channel at a time, so you want channel utilization to be as low as possible.
|Amount of wireless networks on the same channel. The fewer, the better.
|Maximum signal strength of on-channel networks. Analogous to the yellow signal strength over time graph in other parts of inSSIDer Technician.
|Amount of wireless networks that are partially overlapping with the channel. The fewer, the better. Partially overlapping networks cause one of the worst types of interference.
|Max Overlapping Signal
|Maximum signal strength of overlapping networks. Analogous to the red signal strength over time graph in other parts of inSSIDer Technician.
Like the mobile counter part, inSSIDer Technician for Windows Desktop allows you to scan room locations and build a report that you can send to the cloud.
To scan rooms, you must be in the Radio tab. Select the network radio you wish to scan and then select the Scan Room button in the radio details section.
When you select Scan Room a dialog window will appear. Enter your Technician ID, the Customer ID, and the room being scanned. Select Add to add the scan to your report. The Technician ID will be remembered for future sessions. Also, the Customer ID will be remembered during your active session.
Once you have completed your scans, select Upload # Scans to send your scan report.
When you select Upload # Scans a dialog window will appear displaying the Technician ID and Customer ID that will be included with the list of scans that will be sent. The IDs are taken from the most recent scan. If the IDs are incorrect, initiate another scan and update the IDs. Select Send to send the report to the cloud.
Please note that there is currently no option to clear the list of scans. To clear the scans, restart inSSIDer Technician and this will clear the scans from the queue.
In addition to detecting Cisco and Aruba AP names, inSSIDer Technician allows you to give access points custom names. Click the Pencil icon next to the AP's name or MAC address to give it a custom name.
Coverage Check in Radios Mode
Once the threshold has been set, select a network in Radios Mode, and walk the desired coverage are while watching the Signal Strength Over Time Graph. The the signal strength line falls below the threshold, then you may have a coverage problem to address.
Coverage Check in Networks Mode
Networks Mode can be used to ensure that every location in the desired coverage area is covered by one or more access points.
Each respective table and graph has a Copy to Clipboard button, usually in the upper righthand corner. Graphs are copied out as an image, and tables are copied out as plaintext, ready to be pasted into a word processor or spreadsheet.
Common acronyms and technical terms that inSSIDer Technician uses:
802.11 – The letters displayed in this column inform you of the 802.11 protocols in use by that Access Point.
Access Point - This is the hardware that WiFi devices wirelessly connect to. Sometimes these will function as a router, and are often referred to as a wireless router.
Channel – Each wireless network operates on a specific WiFi channel. Channels 1-14 are in the 2.4 GHz frequency range, while channels 36-165 are in the 5 GHz range. For best performance in the 2.4 GHz band we recommend channels 1, 6, and 11.
* (Asterisk) - In ESSID grouping, an asterisk/star indicates that the channel is 40, 80, or 160 MHz wide.
Co-Channel Network - Every access point on the same channel cooperates and negotiates opportunities to transmit. This can slow down performance for every connected device.
MAC Address - This is a unique identifier for a wireless network or BSSID.
Overlapping Network - Stations and access points on an overlapping channels talks over each other on overlapping frequencies. This causes transmission corruption and slow performance for connected devices. Overlapping networks have a more severe impact on performance than co-channel networks.
Security – inSSIDer Technician will display networks utilizing the following standard security settings: Open (Unsecured), WEP, WPA-Personal, WPA-Enterprise, WPA2-Personal, and WPA2-Enterprise.
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 insecure 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 with WPS disabled, which is the most secure.
Signal - The amplitude level of the wireless network as seen by your computer’s wireless adapter, also known as RSSI or “Received Signal Strength Indication”. inSSIDer Technician provides a line graph representing the signal strength over time.
SSID - Abbreviation of “Service Set Identifier”, which is the name an 802.11 wireless network uses to identify itself.
Link Icon - Indicates which access point you are currently connected to. This icon also appears within an ESS, so you can see which specific access point you are connected to on your network.