RF Spectrum Analysis Compared to Wi-Fi Scanning (Network Discovery) with Bob Young, FIFO Networks





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Published on Jun 24, 2015

Wi-Fi Scanning (Network Discovery) vs. RF Spectrum Analysis with Bob Young, FIFO Networks. Visit Nuts About Nets Online at http://www.nutsaboutnets.com. Or visit FIFO networks at http://www.fifonetworks.com.

In this Nuts About Nets series, Bob Young of FIFO Networks talks about the limitations of Wi-Fi scanning when trouble-shooting Wi-Fi performance issues. Wi-Fi scanning provides data about signal strength, but an RF Spectrum Analyzer gives us a more complete picture of the RF environment enabling users to determine the source of the interference.

Video Transcript:
Hi, I'm Bob Young from FIFO Networks. I've been invited here by here by Nuts About Nets to do a series of instructional videos about trouble-shooting and diagnosing Wi-Fi and wireless systems.

Today we're here to talk about Wi-Fi scanning and comparing that with RF spectrum analysis. Imagine you've just installed a wireless access point and the signal strength looks great! The problem is all the users say that the performance is lousy.

Or imagine this scenario: you go into a coffee shop and the signal strength is terrific, but when you try to connect to it, you find out that the performance is not very good at all.

So, what's the reason for a problem like that? When the signal strength is good, but it doesn't work the way you expect, there's got to be something else going on. Wi-Fi scanning will show us the available access points and will show us signal strength, but it doesn't tell us everything we need to know.

That's why we need RF spectrum analysis. Here's a free app you can use to see the signal strength of the different beacons and it will tell you how strong they are and you can see that signal strength change as you get closer and farther away, but it's not going to tell you anything about the interference that may be in the area. It only shows the beacons.

An RF Spectrum Analyzer gives us a more complete picture of all of the RF energy in the environment. It may be from the access point or it may be from other devices that are emitting RF energy. The RF Spectrum Analyzer is easy to use and gives us plenty of data in an easy-to-interpret format so that we can see what's clearly going on in the RF environment.

Wi-Fi scanning gives us an incomplete picture of the RF environment. RF spectrum analysis will give us a much better picture of what's going on in the RF environment and we can use that information to build a better wireless system.

So once we identify the source of the interference, now we have to fix the problem. We can do that in one of three ways. The first, and most desirable, way to fix the problem is to remove the source of the interference. If we can't turn off the interference or remove that piece of equipment, our second choice is to change the frequency of the access point so it isn't on the same channel as the interference. If we can't do that, our third option is to move the access point to a better location.

So, let's summarize what we've learned so far. Wi-Fi scanning, or 802.11 Network Discovery, will allow us to see the strongest access point, but it won't help us solve performance problems. The RF Spectrum Analyzer is easy to use, gets us plenty of information, and in a format that's easy to interpret, and allows us to actually solve performance issues.

Thanks so much for watching the video. We've got some other videos with helpful information about specific wireless performance issues. I hope you'll check them out.

Visit Nuts About Nets Online at http://www.nutsaboutnets.com. Or visit FIFO networks at http://www.fifonetworks.com.


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