WiFi tester promises quick troubleshooting

March 3, 2010
The handheld AirCheck from Fluke Networks will test 802.11 a/b/g/n networks.

The AirCheck WiFi Tester, a handheld test tool that will be available in Q2 from Fluke Networks, promises quick and easy troubleshooting for 802.11 a/b/g/n wireless LANs. According to the manufacturer, AirCheck allows users to verify and troubleshoot network availability, connectivity, channel utilization, and security settings. It allows users to identify coverage and connectivity problems, Fluke Networks says, as well as find unauthorized or rogue access points, see overloaded networks and channels, detect interference, and validate security settings.

"Solving WiFi issues can be a challenging, frustrating, and sometimes bordering on impossible task," says Peter Rysavy of consultancy Rysavy Research. "AirCheck takes the mystery out of the WiFi environment, enabling practically any network professional, regardless of their WiFi knowledge, to quickly diagnose and solve the most common problems."

Sammamish, WA's Eastside High School has used the product already and its IT director Brad Pritchett praised, "We could easily save one or two full workweeks over the course of the year," thanks to the tester's speed and ease-of-use.

According to Fluke Networks, AirCheck boots up in less than three seconds, and immediately begins discovering networks, access points, and channel activity. Most operations require only one or two key presses, Fluke Networks says, and testing sessions can be saved with a single key press. Those files can then be downloaded via the tester's USB port. The tool has a five-hour battery life, its maker says. It is priced at $1,995.

It features a 2.8-inch color LCD screen and a menu-based system with five buttons. It measures 3.5x7.8x1.9 inches overall and weighs 14 ounces. A software package called AirCheck Manager is included.

"Companies are increasingly reliant on WiFi networks but many continue to see them as less reliable than wired alternatives," says Arif Kareem, Fluke Networks' president. "This is partly because tim-e and resource-pressured IT personnel do not necessarily have the training or the tools they need to monitor and troubleshoot network issues. AirCheck addresses the requirements to arm frontline IT personnel with an affordable, easy-to-use, portable tool that provides comprehensive wireless LAN visibility across all WiFi standards."

Read the article "The necessity of testing 802.11-based networks."

Watch a demo of the AirCheck WiFi Tester in use.

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