SurveyTools

AirMapper – Not Quite Ready

**** While this initial review is still accurate for the version I reviewed we have received an updated version and will post a new review shortly! ****

If you remember we did a podcast episode on mobile devices and tools for them earlier and there wasn’t much out there for tools. Since that last podcast we have had a few new products start to popup on the Android side. One of the new products that we took a look at was the AirMapper ($199) program by Fluke Networks. I wanted to show some screen shots but my license was apparently disabled or time-bombed, one of the two. Unfortunately that will make this review quite a bit shorter. I’ve used quite a few different survey products (Ekahau – $399, Wolf WiFi – $49) on the tablets and I still haven’t really found them overly useful.

When I heard Fluke (AirMagnet) was going to be developing a survey application for the Android OS I was excited, I figured if anyone could do it right it would be them seeing as they already have other mobile tools (Air Check for example) but once I ran the application my excitement turned to disappointment.

The Bad:

Some of the very basic features I would assume to be there were missing, i.e. portrait mode locked, no way to use landscape. Anyone who has ever done a site survey knows that landscape mode is typically how you view a floorplan as they are usually wider than taller. Another basic feature seemingly missing is the AP icons for placement of APs. I couldn’t find a way to place an AP icon on the floorplan or move an automatically determined AP icon. Also where is the live view of the APs being detected? I know there are a bunch of apps in the Google Play store that can do that but where is it builtin?

The Good:

Ok, so I was always brought up to not focus solely on negatives, look for positives as well. I liked the documentation aspect of the program, the abilities to add pictures, audio notes, video notes, etc to click points was great, but this also needs to be available for the AP icons mentioned above. If you have the Pro version you can export the project and open it up on the full desktop app for post processing, something that is key to any tablet based survey app. The program felt snappy, it didn’t seem like there was a huge delay in using and it and could work well for surveying a location for a tablet deployment (again with the above fixes).

The Critical Failure:

It would seem that if you don’t have support on your license that if you go to reinstall it or it does it’s periodic check in your app is dead in the water. If I’m paying $199 for an app I expect to use it as long as the device will run it, if there is a new version I should still be able to run my older version without support if I choose to do so. So I guess the moral here is buyer beware, you may not be able to continue to use your purchase if you discontinue support knowing that you lose future software revisions.

 

Previous post

E16 - Cisco Buys Meraki

Next post

E17 - Enhancing Your Wireless With A MSE

Blake Krone

Blake Krone

Cisco CCIE #31229 (Wireless) and AeroScout certified engineer, all around tech junkie, code poet. Connecting people with cans and strings.

6 Comments

  1. December 4, 2012 at 10:45 pm — Reply

    What ticks me off is that they don’t just include this for users of Survey Pro with Gold Support. We spend thousands of dollars a year for that. I’ve checked out AirMapper and it really is at best an add on to SurveyPro. As a matter of fact you need SurveyPro to get a decent report from the data. I hate companies that nickel and dime like this and that is what I feel like Fluke is doing with AirMapper

    • December 5, 2012 at 8:31 am — Reply

      Interesting idea Tim, I would agree that the software companies nickel and dime us left and right. One of my biggest pet peeves is the overall cost of software + maintenance for wireless tools. If one were to go into business for themselves there is a huge OpEx that they need to maintain. Yearly maintenance on a piece of software at above $1000 is insane!

  2. Shawn Mattingly
    February 21, 2013 at 10:30 pm — Reply

    Is there any indication that this app will ever be available in the Play store? Having to sideload a $200 commercial application seems bonkers to me.

    • March 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm — Reply

      I have not heard anything but agree, would be nice to have it in the Play Store to know of updates and everything. I think the side loading allows them to control it more and require service contracts.

Leave a Reply