For Cherokee Nation IT manager Jon James, the choice of AirMagnet, Inc.’s
Laptop Analyzer 6.0, which won in the wireless software category in
Datamation’s Product of the Year 2006 awards, is a no-brainer.
James, who is based in Tahlequah, Okla. with the tribal nation, has used Laptop Analyzer for three years and is a devout fan. ”It’s very simple to implement. We use it for wireless surveys, detection of problem areas and some rogue access point detection,” he says.
The Cherokee Nation has more than 2,000 employees and a wide-area network
that spans an area of more than 7,000 square miles. Laptop Analyzer helps
James home in on radio frequency interference and troubleshoot solutions
for disruptions in wireless LAN service.
”A typical example of how we use Laptop Analyzer is to see if a desktop
computer that’s been moved inside an enclosed cabinet would have enough
signal strength,” he says. The IT manager also uses the tool to make
sure that if computers are moved around an office, they do not suffer
from interference. ”With Laptop Analyzer, we found one user’s computer
was in the path of several metal door frames, which blocked the signal,
so we had to relocate the antenna for the access point,” he says.
”IT managers used to be left on their own to hunt and peck to find these
types of problems,” says Wade Williamson, product manager at AirMagnet,
which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif. ”Now there is enough information and
intelligence in the box so they don’t have to go to wireless school to
learn this stuff. Laptop Analyzer listens to airwaves and digests the
information automatically. It gives IT managers a list of what’s wrong
and here’s what’s causing you pain.”
Craig Mathias, principal at the Farpoint Group consultancy in Ashland,
Mass., says the Laptop Analyzer’s reporting and auditing features are
critical for companies that fall under compliance regulations, such as
the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act (HIPAA).
”Banks, insurance companies, health care organizations and other
regulated sectors need third-party tools like Laptop Analyzer for
compliance purposes,” he says. ”Large enterprise-class wireless
deployments should use these tools in conjunction with their traditional
network management and monitoring software to provide for checks and
Mathias says Laptop Analyzer lets IT managers quickly produce reports
that highlight network anomalies. ”They can find security violations,
measure workloads and see if there are misconfigurations,” he says.
”Wireless LANs will become the default LAN for a lot of enterprises over
the next few years for data and voice. They will need products like
Laptop Analyzer to help them manage this challenge.”
Other wireless software tools that made the grade with Datamation readers
were OptiView OC3/OC12 WAN Analyzer from Fluke Networks, which took
second place, and SpotLock from JiWire, Inc., and Elektron Enterprise
Edition from Corriente Networks LLC, both of which were finalists.