Optimize Your 802.11n Performance (Webinar Review)

Yesterday, I attended a webinar hosted by AirMagnet entitled “Optimize Your 802.11n Performance”.   

It was an hour well spent, which isn’t always the case with webinars.  The product sales pitch was kept to a minimum.

It really focused on educational aspects of 802.11n networking and security.  Additionally, the webinar contained several live demos during the webinar, which were executed flawlessly.     

The live demos were of the WiFi Analyzer and Survey programs.  While I use the AirMagnet Survey product several times a week, it has been almost a year since I used the AirMagnet WiFi Anlyzer tool.  They have instituted some really great features since I have last used it.  Most of these features directly relate to 802.11n networks:

The first is an 802.11n Device Throughput Calculator.  It calculates the throughput of a single device depending on a number of parameters – MCS, max frame size, channel bonding, block acknowledgement, etc.  It also factors in the effect of the Least Common Denominator client (i.e. effect of adding an 802.11g client).  

The second is a WLAN Throughput Simulator, which estimates the aggregate throughput of an entire WLAN.  The tool takes actual meaurements from the existing WLAN, and then allows users to add simulated APs or Clients.  This allows users to consider an infinite number of “what if” scenarios with regards to how to optimize the WLAN. 

The webinar wasn’t limited to exploration of the cool features of the WiFi Analyzer.   A good portion of the presentation talked about the importance of live/active site surveys and how using real meaurements of the uplink and downlink rates is valueable to network administrators.  It was also exciting to see that the iPerf throughput testing tool is now integrated directly into AirMagnet Survey

Lastly, I wanted to point out that one of the five main points of the webinar was that channel bonding in 2.4 GHz is not suggested.  This is something that I blogged about in a post regarding 5 GHz vs. 2.4 GHz in 802.11n networks on CWNP.com   I seemed to take a decent amount of “heat” in the comments, primarily from advocates of channel blankets, so I am glad to see that the fine folks at AirMagnet agreed with me.   🙂

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