Networking platform manufacturer Pakedge Device and Software has released two software visualisation tools – the Pakedge WAP Map and the Pakedge Visual Site Survey – that are designed to simplify wireless network deployments for its resellers.
The first tool, the Pakedge WAP Map, is an interactive web-based 'heat map' planning tool that lets installers estimate the number of wireless access points (WAPs) they need, the approximate coverage area of each WAP, and plan their approximate locations. Designed for ease of use, its graphical user interface employs drag-and-drop functionality and shows a visual representation of the WAPs and coverage zones. (This feature is similar in function and operation to the heat map feature currently on the Pakedge C36 WAP controller.)
Suitable for use as a pre-sales tool and as a project planning tool. the WAP Map software also provides system integrators with a cost estimate for the project. Once the job enters the planning stage, the WAP Map enables the installation team to map the WAPs across the site floor plan to preview the project, estimate the resources needed and eliminate any confusion over placement – all before arrival on site.
Using the WAP Map is a simple three-step process: first, the maximum number of access points displayed on the WAP Map is specified. Second, a floor plan (in JPG format) is uploaded and the scale is specified accordingly. Third, the access points are dragged and dropped onto desired locations on the floor plan and adjusted to see the full coverage capabilities of the W6x and W7x access points. Integrators also have the option of enabling and disabling the 2.4 or 5.0 GHz band to visualise the coverage areas. After the approximate locations are mapped, the floor plan is saved for future reference.
All Pakedge dealers have access to the online Pakedge WAP Map tool by logging into the Dealer Portal on the Pakedge website.
The second visualisation feature is implemented in the latest firmware version (version 2.00-70) of the Pakedge C36 WAP controller. This feature displays the results of the radio frequency (RF) environment site survey in the form of a chart, showing nearby RF sources, signal strength, and which channels within the frequency band they are occupying. The visual aspect of the site survey simplifies installer understanding of the wireless environment at the project site and enables them to adjust the Pakedge WAP settings, including channel and signal strength, so as to eliminate potential interference issues.
This is a progression from earlier versions of the firmware on the C36 WAP controller, which displayed the site survey results in the form of numerical data in a table format.
The Pakedge C36 WAP controller firmware version 2.00-70 is available now. It available free of charge to current C36 owners. Installers and technicians can update the firmware to the latest version by using the firmware update function on the C36.
These two software visualisation tools are part of a continuing initiative by Pakedge Device & Software to remove the complexity from networking. This ongoing multi-part initiative comprises education and training for installers, user interface design, and automation through software.