VisiWave Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Pre-Sales Questions

Maintenance and support for the life of the product is included in the purchase price. Maintenance releases are occasionally made available and VisiWave Site Survey can automatically check for updates (controlled from the Help menu).

Major releases are made available once every year or two. You can upgrade to these new releases for a fee, if you wish to. See the Purchase page for the current price or to upgrade your current license.

For support, we just ask that you email us your questions. We usually respond quickly to each support email--typically the same business day but sometimes by the next business day.

Support contracts are not offered for sale by VisiWave. Support and maintenance for VisiWave products are included in the purchase price for the life of the product. (Other products may have different support policies.)

Instead of having you purchase a plan up front just in case you want to upgrade to the next version, we let you decide when the major release is available if it is something you want to pay for. And the upgrade costs basically the same price as a pre-paid support contract. We don't make as much money this way, but it really is the best option for our customers.

Yes, VisiWave works on Windows 8.1 or 10 and on a Surface Pro. Note that VisiWave does NOT work on Windows RT tablets.

  • VisiWave Site Survey

    The only differences between the evaluation version and the fully licensed version are:

    1. The eval version randomizes the signal strengths collected so you can't rely on the coverage maps created
    2. The eval version displays messages saying it is for evaluation purposes only

    While you would obviously rather evaluate a version of VisiWave that doesn't randomize the survey results, we do this to prevent people from using VisiWave without paying for it. We know this isn't ideal, but this lets us provide you with a trial version that has no other differences and lets you try out VisiWave with no delays or hassles.

  • VisiWave Traffic

    The only differences between the evaluation version and the fully licensed version are:

    1. Changes made to capture files cannot be saved
    2. The eval version displays messages saying it is for evaluation purposes only

Unfortunately, no. The data collected with the evaluation version is always randomized even when brought into the fully licensed version.

Yes, you can. Please email the PO to support@visiwave.com. For US based POs, once your PO is approved, we will ship out your product. For international POs, we ship your product once payment is received. If you wish to pay with a wire transfer, let us know and we will give you our wire transfer instructions.

If you just buy VisiWave Site Survey or VisiWave Traffic, then nothing is physically shipped to you. The products are only available via download. Only a license code is emailed to you.

If you buy one of the Wi-Spy Combo products (bundles), then something is physically shipped to you. For example, if you buy "VisiWave Site Survey Combo DBx," then a Wi-Spy DBx is shipped to you, but VisiWave and Chanalyzer are not. You will still receive an email that contains a license code for VisiWave.

Here is a link to a webpage that shows what components each product includes:

Product Comparison Matrix

VisiWave Site Survey by itself includes everything you need to do a site survey except a Windows laptop and a wireless adapter.

VisiWave Combo DBx includes a VisiWave Site Survey license plus a Wi-Spy DBx USB spectrum analyzer and the software spectrum visualization software that goes with the Wi-Spy (called Chanalyzer). This device allows you to collect background interference along with Wi-Fi data when doing a site survey with VisiWave.

And, VisiWave Combo DBx with Chanalyzer Report Builder includes everything above plus it adds the ability to create reports within Chanalyzer of your spectrum data. This isn't necessary to do site surveys, but allows you to better analyze spectrum interference sources.

Licensing Questions
  • VisiWave Site Survey

    To transfer VisiWave Site Survey to a new computer, you just need to release the license from the original computer first. On the original computer, go to the Register window. Press the "Release License" button and follow the instructions. If VisiWave isn't still installed on the original computer, then just re-install and re-register VisiWave on that computer and then release it.

    Your license will then be available to install on your new computer. Note that the first two releases are done immediately, but subsequent releases may take one or two business days for us to approve. Please plan accordingly.

  • VisiWave Traffic

    To transfer VisiWave Traffic to a new computer, you just need to release the license from the original computer first. On the original computer, select Deactive License from the Licensing menu under the Help menu and follow the instructions. If VisiWave Traffic isn't still installed on the original computer, then just re-install and re-register the product on that computer and then release it.

    A license can only be de-activated and re-activated a limited number of times. Assuming you still have activations remaining, your license will be immediately available to activate on a new computer.

A license is tied to a particular computer during the registration process. A hardware signature is computed for the current laptop. However, the wireless adapter is not part of that signature.

No, VisiWave products are licensed to a particular computer. Transferring a license to another computer for the purposes of sharing a license is not permitted. If more than one person needs access, we recommend either buying additional licenses or installing VisiWave on a laptop that is then shared.

Yes, you can easily do this with VisiWave Site Survey. The first computer you use to register VisiWave gets a full license. When you register VisiWave using the same license code a second time, you have the option to run in Report Only mode. This mode allows you to create all the reports you want, but you can't collect data using that computer.

Just register VisiWave Site Survey on your portable laptop first. Then install the eval version of VisiWave on your desktop computer and register using your existing license code again. You will then be prompted to run in Report Only mode.

No. If the first number in the version changes (e.g., v3.0.13 goes to v4.0.0), then your existing license code no longer works. But, you can upgrade from the Purchase page on our website.

You can always just evaluate the newest version. Just install the new version and run it in evaluation mode. You can then either upgrade and get a new license code or you can re-install your old version over-top of the evaluation version. Your old license code will continue to work.

VisiWave Site Survey Product Questions

To get back to the v3.0 way of showing colors, do the following:

  1. Switch to Report View
  2. Click on a Heatmap and select at least one AP in the AP Filter
  3. Right click on the legend and select "Use Distinct Colors"
  4. Right click again and select "Light Shades are Strongest"
  5. Right click again on each color in the legend and edit the color
    1. Make left color gold (163, 84, 6) (from the Custom colors palette)
    2. Make the middle color green (84, 16, 131)
    3. Make the right color blue (4, 71, 109)
  6. Select "Set Colors As Legend Default" to make these permanent

Your colors should now be exactly as they were in the previous version.

The time it takes to capture a data point depends on your wireless adapter. VisiWave basically asks the adapter to perform a scan of the APs in the area. The adapter tells us when the scan is complete. That is most of the delay.

To make the scan happen faster, you will need to either use a 2.4GHz-only wireless adapter or switch to a faster dual band wireless adapter. The one we currently recommend is the NetGear WNDA3100 v2. You can also view a list of supported adapters and their average scan times on our website: Supported Wireless Adapters

Yes, VisiWave does this. If you need to perform a survey in an area without a network installed, then this can be done using a temporary AP (or multiple temporary APs). You place the temporary AP in the survey area and then walk the area collecting measurements. Save that survey data. Then move the temporary AP to a new location and collect data again. Save that to a separate survey file. Repeat this until the entire survey area is covered. Then use the Merge Survey Files feature to combine all the individual survey files into one, comprehensive survey file. When doing that, be sure to select your temporary AP when prompted. This makes VisiWave treat each AP location as a unique AP (even though it was really the same AP just moving around).

If by predictive survey you are referring to the ability to describe the building materials and contents of a space and have VisiWave model the RF coverage without doing any real-world measurements, then no, VisiWave doesn't do this.

Version 4.0 of VisiWave gives you the ability to see what coverage would be like if you moved an existing AP to a new location. VisiWave models the coverage based on existing measurements and creates a heat map that predicts what coverage would be like with an AP in the new location.

VisiWave can do pre-deployment site surveys. See another FAQ entry for more on these.

This is something simple. VisiWave has the concept of a "Confidence Radius". This means that VisiWave only draws the heatmap a certain distance around each data point. Your issue is most likely the scale is not correct so the radius is too small. You can change the scale at any time using the Set Scale menu item.

The other possibility is that your Confidence Radius is set too small. You can check this by going to Report View and pressing the Properties button in the lower left corner. The first option listed there is Confidence Radius. This should be around 3 meters or 16 feet for a building and larger for a large, outdoor survey. To learn more about Confidence Radius, see the built-in help by pressing F1 or go to the Help menu.

VisiWave supports NMEA serial GPS devices or Garmin compatible USB GPS devices. We usually recommend the Globalsat BU-353 or BU-353-S4 USB device. It is easy to buy, cheap, and works right out of the box with VisiWave. You may want to use a GPS companion program such as GPSgate (free download) to assist you in setting up your GPS.

Note that many common GPS devices (e.g., car navigation units, smartphones, and many handheld GPS devices) are not made to send position information to a laptop computer so they will not work. Also note that GPS only works outdoors. It is virtually useless inside buildings.

Most any GPS device that supports NMEA will work. This standard, however, only functions over serial connections so you may need a cable that converts serial to USB along with software that creates a virtual COM port.

Known USB devices are Garmin 10x, Garmin 18x, Garmin 18 OEM, or Globalsat BU-353 USB.

We recommend the Globalsat BU-353 or BU-353-S4 GPS devices. They are easy to purchase, low cost, and work well with VisiWave. We don't directly sell them, but they are easily purchased online.

  • Globalsat Install:

    Install the USB driver and the GPSInfo program from the CD that comes with the Globalsat device (or download them from their website). Run the GPSInfo program to make sure you have the right COM port picked out and that the GPS is functioning properly. Then CLOSE the GPSInfo program (you can't have two programs accessing the same COM port).

  • Configuring VisiWave to do a Survey Using a GPS:

    Now start VisiWave. Under Options, set the GPS Port to the correct COM port. Load your survey file and accurately set the scale. Select "Set GPS Location" under the Survey menu. GPS devices really only work outside with direct line-of-sight views of multiple GPS satellites so be sure to do this next part outside. Press OK then click on your floor plan map on your current location. In the "Setting Latitude/Longitude Location" window, select "Use GPS Device" then press "Get Location from GPS Device".

You may want to run the GPSInfo program that comes with the device for a few minutes before using the device with VisiWave. GPS devices sometimes need a few minutes at first to accurately determine your true location.

Additionally, you can view more information in the User Manual. In particular, view "GPS Position Tracking Mode" under Section 3.3.4.

This is a common misunderstanding about how the Wi-Spy device works. It isn't actually a wireless adapter so VisiWave can't use it to hear access points. The Wi-Spy is only a spectrum analyzer--it's purpose is to hear the signal strengths without regard to where they come from.

So, VisiWave uses your normal wireless adapter to get signal strengths on surrounding APs. And it uses your Wi-Spy device to get the background noise or interference. Plug in the Wi-Spy while collecting Wi-Fi survey data and VisiWave can use it to get a noise level so you can map Signal-to-Noise levels instead of just signal levels.

Or plug it in and select Collect Spectrum Data to capture the data used to create an interference heatmap.

There are two ways to do this. From within VisiWave, you can go to the Help menu and select "Check for Updates" and then "Check Now". If an update exists, VisiWave will ask you if you want to install the update. Or, you can always go to the Download link on our website and download the latest evaluation version. Install this evaluation version over-top of your current version. It will automatically pick up your existing license code and become the fully licensed version.

Yes, VisiWave does both types of surveys. An "active survey" means that the client is associated with a network ("SSID") and collects additional details about the associated AP during the survey (such as round trip time, receive errors, transmission errors, and collision counts).

A "passive survey" means that information about all nearby access points is recorded, but since the client is not associated with all the APs, only basic information is recorded such as signal strength, channel, and data rate.

To perform an active survey with VisiWave, just make sure to connect to the wireless network before you capture data. VisiWave will then record both information about the passive APs in the area and more detailed information about the currently associated (active) access point.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) is a positive value between 0dB and usually no more than 80dB. The larger the number, the stronger the single.

Signal Strengths are negative numbers usually between -95dBm and -20dBm. The closer to zero, the stronger the signal. So, -40dBm is good. -80dBm is bad.

SNR is Signal minus Noise. So, if Signal is -70 and Noise -90, then SNR is 20dB (-70dBm - -90dBm = 20dB).

A "passive survey" means that information about all nearby access points is recorded, but since the client is not associated with all the APs, only basic information is recorded such as signal strength, channel, and data rate.

To perform an active survey with VisiWave, just make sure to connect to the wireless network before you capture data. VisiWave will then record both information about the passive APs in the area and more detailed information about the currently associated (active) access point.

To find rogue APs with VisiWave Site Survey, create a new survey file, add your floor plan map, set the scale as accurately as you can, then start collecting survey data points.

Walk around the survey area in as much of a grid-like pattern as you reasonably can. VisiWave won't be able to accurately guess the location of a rogue AP if it is outside of the area that you surveyed so try to surround all the rogue APs with your data points.

As data points are added, all the access points seen will show up in the AP List on the right of the screen. Put a check next to any suspected rogue APs. And click the box that says "Estimate AP Locations" just below the AP List. A small target icon will be place on the survey map where VisiWave thinks the AP is located. Repeat this for each suspected rogue AP.

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