Pakedge has released a suite of software visualization tools to help simplify wireless network deployments for resellers. These tools include the Pakedge WAP Map and the Pakedge Visual Site Survey.
Pakedge WAP Map
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 target placement locations. This feature is similar in function and operation as the heat map feature currently on the Pakedge C36 WAP controller. Designed for ease of use, it utilizes a graphical user interface employing “drag and drop” functionality as well as visual representation of the WAPs and coverage zones.
It is ideal for use as a pre-sales tool and as a project planning tool. The WAP Map software lets system integrators determine the number of WAPS needed, plan their approximate locations, and receive a cost estimate for the project to be generated. Once the job has been won and is in its planning period, the WAP Map tool enables the installation team to preview the project and eliminate placement confusion before arrival at the job site by mapping the WAPs across the site floor plan to estimate resources needed.
Using the WAP Map is a simple 3 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 visualize 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 visualization 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 visual chart, showing nearby RF sources, its signal strength, and what channels within the frequency band that 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, in a manner to eliminate potential interference issues. Earlier versions of the firmware on the C36 WAP controller displayed the site survey results in the form of numerical data in a table format, and was more difficult for installers to interpret and translate into corrective actions.
The Pakedge C36 WAP controller firmware version 2.00-70 has been released on August 4, 2014. The firmware is available free of charge to current C36 owners. Installers and technicians can update the firmware to the latest version by utilizing the firmware update function on the C36.
These two software visualization tools are part of a continuing initiative by Pakedge Device and Software to remove the complexity from networking. This ongoing multi-part initiative comprises of education and training for installers, user interface design, and automation through software.