Veriwave WaveDeploy: A New Way To Site Survey

Veriwave wants to shake up the 802.11 site survey world with Wave Deploy, a wireless assessment product that uses simulated wireless devices to measure and report on wireless networks performance. WaveDeploy can map the results of radio frequency monitoring onto a map or floor plan like any site survey tool, but it goes further by testing measuring layer 3+ issues like capacity, delay and jitter which focus on quality of experience. Compared to other site survey tools like Cisco Clean Air, which

May 18, 2010

4 Min Read
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Veriwave wants to shake up the 802.11 site survey world with Wave Deploy, a wireless assessment product that uses simulated wireless devices to measure and report on wireless networks performance. WaveDeploy can map the results of radio frequency monitoring onto a map or floor plan like any site survey tool, but it goes further by testing measuring layer 3+ issues like capacity, delay and jitter which focus on quality of experience. Compared to other site survey tools like Cisco Clean Air, which measures RF interference and manipulates the access points behavior, Wave Deploy is primarily targeted at point-in-time assessments.

Veriwave has primarily focused on building Ethernet and 802.11 wireless test equipment for carriers and equipment manufacturers for quality assurance, test and development. WaveDeploy is Veriwave's first enterprise-focused product and builds on their experience in 802.11 wireless testing. Traditional site survey tools that measure radio frequency characteristics such as broadcast power and channel interference and provide an assessment of quality are based on a series of assumptions that may or may not manifest in the real world. By simulating devices and traffic types like HTTP, voice over WLAN, and streaming media, WaveDeploy can see how applications are behaving on a live network.

Unlike other spectrum analyzers offered by Cisco Spectrum Expert, Air Magnet and Ekahau that require specific hardware cards for analysis, WaveDeploy can use any wireless card. That makes client support easy for the two software only models WaveDeploy Basic and WaveDeploy Pro.

wave-deploy-heat-map.pngWaveDeploy works by using a network server attached to the wired network and a software client in WaveDeploy Basic and WaveDeploy Pro or a hardware client in WaveDeploy Expert. A floor plan is loaded and scaled to the WaveDeploy grid. Administrators then take the agents around the floor plan taking measurements and marking on the floor plan where they are standing. This is typical for a site survey. WaveDeploy's tests, however, go beyond RF measurements by testing for TCP and UDP goodput, which measures the amount of successfully delivered data, streaming voice and video MOSS scores and other application metrics. The result is what the company calls a quality of experience measurement from the user's perspective.

Victoria Poncini is a wireless IT architect with Microsoft and manages the company's global wireless network of 15,500 access points, 450 controllers, and over approximately 100,000 users worldwide. "We want to create pre- and post-deployment surveys that we use to create SLAs and for troubleshooting. We currently use spectrum analysis for the site survey, but that doesn't allow us to simulate multiple clients with different chipsets and software stacks nor get a good feel for application performance over the WLAN. We have had trouble with real-time traffic like voice, video and multicast traffic over 802.11a/b/g WLAN network. It's going to be an issue as we migrate to 802.11n. In our testing, we found that WaveDeploy performance closely matches real-world client experience."WaveDeploy can be useful for quality assurance as well as capacity planning. By doing site surveys on a live network, IT can get better understanding of the impact of user to AP ratios and how different applications will impact overall user experience. It's no secret that RF usage changes and there is an increasing use of video and voice applications on wireless networks.

Lee Badman, Network Engineer and Wireless Technical Lead for a large private university says "when we do site surveys, we look at things like signal-to-noise ratios, and signal strength of APs over an area. Those are the basic components of a site survey. Then we use a rule-of-thumb for the number of users per access point to determine many access points we need. We like to use six users per access point. But that doesn't tell us how each client will perform on any given day."

What is unique to WaveDeploy is its ability to simulate multiple 802.11 devices in software from the chipset through the application layer, so IT can immediately see the impact of a large number of devices will have on the WLAN. WaveDeploy Pro can support 10 simultaneous agents while WaveDeploy Pro can support 64 agents. Each agent has its own chipset, networking stack and applications and can have their own power settings applied. WaveDeploy also ships with pre-built scenarios for various verticals like healthcare which predefines devices like medical instruments and laptops. You can also build your own scenarios.

Wavedeploy Basic is free. WaveDeploy Pro starts at $4995 and is available. WaveDeploy Expert will start between $20,000 and $25,000.

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