Cisco may be pushing its end-to-end wireless ability in recent announcements, but wireless monitor company AirMagnet reckons it has spotted a gap - and brought out analysis tools for the company's unified wireless network.
Wireless security and monitoring systems have historically required a separate "overlay" network of probes, but AirMagnet's Enterprise Analyzer for Cisco takes Cisco access points that are already deployed, and uses them as probes to gather data, monitor network performance and compare wireless traffic against a central database containing problem signatures.
The package, already available for Aruba, gives advice on how to fix any problems it spots. It includes the ability to fix QoS issues that might harm VoIP traffic and can also work on Wi-Fi systems at remote sites.
Any AP can be triggered to go into sniffer mode, collecting live traffic and sending it back the Analyzer. If connections are underperforming, a diagnostic tool can check them step by step to find where the problem is, or eliminate the client-AP link as the cause of the problem. The signal analysis can also show RF problems, such as multipath - where signal reflections are interfering.
Cisco has welcomed the product, conceding that it adds something to an otherwise comprehensive architecture: "This collaboration extends the value of wireless investments by leveraging AirMagnet's Wi-Fi performance and active analysis expertise," said Ben Gibson, director of mobility solutions at Cisco. "The benefit of expert wireless LAN analysis is removing the variables found in Wi-Fi environments that impact performance."
"The AirMagnet Enterprise Analyzer is a completely complementary solution," said an AirMagnet spokesperson. "It is a WLAN helpdesk application that makes use of the flexibility and power of the Cisco Unified Wireless Network to provide deeper traffic analysis and compliance reporting. Previously, if a call came into a help-desk or a NOC that needed more investigation, the only response was to send a person on-site with a dedicated analyzer."
The package starts at £6,000 for a company licence covering up to three wireless controllers.