The Channel Analysis function embedded on the Administrative Web UI is an excellent yet simple-to-use tool for IT personnel to quickly grasp an idea of what the 2.4GHz channel dynamics are. Included for channel analysis is a spectrogram, density graph and other charts to detect interference from Bluetooth devices, Microwave devices, Cordless phones, and etc.
|Figure 1: Shows real-time channel density in two forms|
The Spectrogram Plot
This real-time spectrogram plot shows channel cleanness by color coding from blue to red. Once starting to scan the environment, administrators should see the colorful ‘canvas’ slice by slice. In fact, each vertical slice is piled up by collected samples in each 50-100ms interval. The upper the samples, the newer they are.
Interpretation of the graph is rather straightforward: if a channel ‘slice’ shows more pan-blue colors, it means that it has less Wi-Fi signal transmitted to and fro over the air.
|Figure 2: Show Real-time Channel Utilization|
The Density and Utilization Chart
Not just letting users mentally feel which channels are cleaner and which ones are not, Channel Analysis tells more in terms of wireless RF output power. The white line shown in the second diagram of figure 1 averages all data attained on the 2.4GHz band. Alternatively, on a per channel basis, the utilization chart gives administrators a clear view of channel use through a line graph (See Figure 2.). This helps decide which channel a new access point should be configured in. Normally the non-overlapping channels 1, 6, and 11 are more ‘crowded’ – being overloaded with access points.
Many unseen hidden, interfering devices can be tracked down, including Microwave devices, cordless phones, tones, and so on. Likely noise is displayed as lines of different colors. For instance in figure 3, there are four devices around that maybe tones (or simply just ‘act’ like tones). In between the scanning periods, there’s one has been detected 10 times in channel 7! Consequently, administrators have to keep an eye on both the tone and the channel, taking some security measures, if needed.
|Figure 3: indicates possible interfering devices in the air|
Channel analysis is a tool and mainly used before wireless network deployment or when IT staff encounter wireless noise or instability, ensuring a clean and smooth installation of 4ipent access points across all 2.4GHz channels. For more detailed explanation and instructions, please refer to the manuals for 4ipent access points.
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