My Favorite Part of AirMagnet

It's Columbus Day!  A holiday that many of us heard of, a few of us object to and some of us don't get the day off for.  Let's call it a half-holiday.

Yours truly is going to celebrate the day by celebrating one of my favorite sniffers, Fluke AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer.  Due to it being half-holiday, this will be a half-efforted blog post.  So no links and no graphics.  Just a little talk about my favorite part of that fine sniffer.

AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer from Fluke Networks has been around for a long, long time (at least in WiFi years) and it continues to be one of the top WiFi sniffing options available.  I probably like WildPackets OmniPeek a little bit more because of its ease in manipulating frame traces, but AirMagnet (as I'll call Fluke AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer from here on out) has long been the best option for solving the vast majority of in-the-field WiFi problems.

Last week I got to introduce AirMagnet to a few folks and it struck me that even though it is more intuitive than the average WiFi sniffer, it is still challenging to a new user.  So I figured I'd go through a quick overview of what I like best about it.

My favorite part of AirMagnet is that it allows you to quickly drill down from Channel to AP to Station when viewing those most important of WiFi statistics: the data rates and the Retry percentages.  (Low data rates and high Retry percentages are two big wastes of channel time, which is what makes those statistics important.)  The person doing the sniffing can take his (or her, but for simplicity's sake I'll honor the Y chromosome in this blog post) AirMagnet laptop or tablet to the location of the problem and quickly gauge whether channel time is being wasted.  Are the channel statistics bad?  If yes, then is one AP or another especially bad?  Once a bad AP is identified, then are there specific stations that seem to be dragging things down for everyone else?

What sets AirMagnet apart is the automatic filtering of captured frames when a Channel, AP or Station is selected.  If someone navigates to the Channel screen and clicks "6", then only channel 6 frames are captured.  If someone then navigates to the Infrastructure screen and clicks on an AP that is using channel 6, the only statistics displayed are from frames that were going to or from that AP.  Single station statistics are also filtered if one station is clicked on in the Infrastructure screen.

All of this may sound like mumbo-jumbo if you are unfamiliar with AirMagnet.  And in the near future yours truly will do a non-holiday blog post that includes all of the links and graphics that may help this come to life.  But if you are already an AirMagnet user on this fine Columbus Day, then maybe you can use my favorite part of AirMagnet.


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