Fluke Network’s AirCheck
My apologies about the messed up/missing audio on last week’s podcast with Joe Epstein. We’ll be having him back next week.
This week contains and interview with Carolyn Carter of Fluke Networks. Carolyn is the Portable Network Tools Product Manager – and one of her charges is the new AirCheck hand-held testing device for Wireless LANs.
Now for those supporting graphics to go along with Carolyn’s descriptions in the audio interview.
My own personal review of the Fluke Network’s AirCheck
I had a chance to play with a pre-production unit right before the official launch. Without any instructions, or hints from the Fluke sales rep, I was able to do everything the tool is designed for… it is just that intuative!
Since receiving an evaluation unit, I’ve taken it on gigs all around the world. Large industrial sites, hospitals, airports, hotels, office buildings, conferences, and even on a cruise ship. I’ve used it for my own clients, taught other field reps to use it, and as a backup to my larger laptop-based tools.
Simply put, the AirCheck does exactly what is was designed for. It is fantastic at discovery, quick and easy in ‘Find’ mode, connects and tests Access Points and the DHCP services behind an AP. All in a small, lightweight device.
You will be surprised, nay even shocked, at the speed at which it boots and gets down to scanning. (well under three seconds from powered off, to scanning the air for WiFi signals)
Those who understand 802.11 and WiFi, will instantly understand and know how to use an AirCheck. With those field techs I’ve trained on the device, they too pick up the interface quite quickly, but don’t always understand what the screens are showing them.
I’m very impressed with this device, it has early a coveted spot in my ‘go bag’ and WiFi toolkits!
It’s not perfect however… the power brick is large, heavy, and unwieldy. I don’t like carrying custom special power bricks. They should have allowed for charging from USB port’s 5v.
Configuration is also a bit of a pain. To prepare the AirCheck to connect with an authenticated Wireless LAN, you have to start a Windows session on your laptop, run the AirCheck software, configure then transfer a profile from the Windows machine to the AirCheck. (though you only have to do this once for each different profile you need. But this does take away from the ‘portability’ of the device.
If you are interested at all, use the link above to try the online simulator and see if the screens and information the AirCheck discover/display will help you in your own Wireless LAN analysis and troubleshooting, I know it has helped with mine.
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