My three favorite things about the new NetAlly AirCheck G3
Updated: Dec 19, 2022
Here are a few of the things I like about the new AirCheck G3.
It is 6 GHz capable.
It can do everything.
I know #3 isn't a G3-only thing, but it brings everything together. If you can't put it in a report, it didn't happen.
#1 - 6 GHz capable
We now have a testing device we can use to see how 6E actually works. We have been reading about it, watching webinars, and waiting for AP's and clients to become available so we can start kicking the tires; now we can get started.
One thing to remember about 6E and the G3 is that while the test device certainly operates on the 6 GHz band, the underlying Android device that the tester runs on does not. There are two Wi-Fi interfaces on the AirCheck G3, one for "management" and one for "testing."
This is not a problem, except when you excitedly fire up your brand new G3 to connect it to your Wi-Fi 6 WLAN, and it doesn't 'see' it. Fear not; you want the device to be connected to a WLAN for full functionality. It can help for it to be connected to a WLAN that is not under test. Test data can be uploaded to Link-Live on the management interface while testing is happening on the test interface.
PCAP channel 181E
Since there is channel # overlap, NetAlly wisely indicates all 6E channels with an 'E' appended to the channel number.
Editorial note: How dumb is it that for a brand new (to Wi-Fi) band, there are overlapping channel #'s? While only five U-NII-5 channels (149, 153, 157, 161, 165) are channels that exist in both 5 and 6 GHz bands, the rest of the channels are only one digit off between the bands, making it difficult to determine by channel alone what band any particular channel is in unless you can memorize all 171 possible combinations of channels in all three bands.
2.4 GHz channels 1, 3, 5, 7, & 11 overlap with existing 6 GHz channels. Wouldn't it have made more sense to number the 6 GHz channels entirely differently from any existing Wi-Fi channels? Something like 601, 605, 609... It's a brand new space; WHY? Rant over.
#2 - The AirCheck G3 can do everything (almost)
OK, It is cheating to include this in a list of "three things." The idea here is that for almost everything you will need to do on a wireless job site, the AirCheck G3 can do it.
Visualize SSID's / Channels / AP's
Spectrum Analysis - using optional NXT-1000 USB spectrum analyzer
Packet Capture on 2.4, 5, or 6 GHz
Measure Attenuation - view signal strength continuously on a single channel
AutoTest - pass-fail analysis of WLAN
AirMapper Site Survey (AirMagnet)
iPerf Throughput testing
Visualize SSID, Primary Channel / Ch. Width / RSSI
While this is a massive list of things the G3 can do, I wish it could do one more thing. Ethernet cable testing. PoE, VLAN, IP stack info. That's all we need. OK, maybe LLDP switch info, & LED blink ability... OK, I think I see why this is a Wi-Fi-only tester. NetAlly also offers best-in-class wired testers, so you may need an AirCheck G3 AND an EtherScope nXG in your bag of tricks.
Now I'm really cheating. Link-Live isn't even an AirCheck G3 feature. You can use it with any of the NetAlly products. Without this, an onsite engineer would be the only one who knows what the G3 is measuring. Like I said earlier, "If you can't put it in a report, it didn't happen" or more importantly, If you can't report it, you can't bill it.
Like #2 there is more to this than meets the eye.
Remote control - right from LinkLive, you can remotely connect to and control the G3.
Device Management - Keep track of all of your NetAlly test tools
Manage AllyCare Support Subscriptions
Visualize and Analyze data collected with the G3 - Airmagnet / AutoTest etc.
The results of almost everything you can do on the G3 can be automatically or manually sent to Link-Live for documentation or further analysis. Some results can also be sent via email each time they are run.
A wireless engineer's time can be valuable. What if, rather than sending an engineer to a site, you could send just a tester and manipulate it as if it was in the engineer's hands? Collect data, send it to Link-Live, do real-time analysis, have the tester moved to another location, and do it all again. It couldn't be easier. Just click on the "Remote" link, and you are in business.
Here is the kicker... Link-Live is FREE! No additional licenses, subscriptions, or support contracts are required. Sign up for the account, claim your NetAlly devices, and it's yours to use. Some of the features in the tools require an AllyCare support contract, but not for Link-Live
The AirCheck G3 is built on an Android platform. Because of this, you can install Apps right on the tool. NetAlly has a curated App 'store' where you can download your favorite Wi-Fi adjacent apps. One more way the AirCheck G3 becomes the only Wi-Fi tool you need.
If you are looking for the one tool you need to have to monitor, install, or troubleshoot any 802.11 wireless network, the NetAlly AirCheck G3 is the tool I would recommend.
These are my three(ish) favorite things about the NetAlly AirCheck G3. Stay tuned for more.