Wi-Fi management company AirMagnet has launched an 802.11n laptop analyser, ready for the host of performance issues expected from the emerging fast wireless LAN standard.

Wi-Fi vendors are divided over when it is safe for enterprises to adopt the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard which promises up to 600 Mbit/s over wireless links. AirMagnet believes that the standard will emerge in offices quickly, whether IT departments like it or not.

"The first thing to happen will be users asking 'Where is my 600 Mbit/s?'" said AirMagnet founder Chia Chee Kuan in an interview.

Version 7.5 of AirMagnet's Laptop Analyzer decodes and analyses 802.11n Wi-Fi networks, exposing all wireless channels, devices, conversations and speeds, so network managers can sort out interference issues and examine the RF spectrum (we reviewed an earlier version three years ago).

AirMagnet expects the new version to be widely used in pre-deployment planning and post-deployment management of 802.11n Wi-Fi networks. "As organisations begin to integrate 802.11n compliant devices into their network, they need a tool capable of detecting this new equipment, as well as troubleshooting compatibility issues that might impact performance,” said Dean Au, AirMagnet's chief executive.

The device can distinguish and classify standards-compliant and pre-standard 802.11n devices, as well as spotting hundreds of security and performance threats and attack signatures. It can detect, identify and physically locate 802.11n rogue devices, which may be invisible to non-802.11n analysers, the company says.

It should also help spot the backward-compatibility issues expected with legacy 802.11a/b/g devices. 802.11n devices should drop back from the standard's 40MHz wide channels when earlier devices are in operation - the analyser will detect if this is happening, allowing network managers to mediate the consequences of networks running in different modes.