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WIFI RF Interference Tool helps University Deliver a "Forum Publics"

Fri, 02/09/2007 - 6:36am
At the University of Richmond, students matter. In fact, the University of Richmond recently installed a campus-wide wireless network, consisting of nearly 600 access points, to make it easier for students to work and communicate. And to keep their RF environment clean and clear, the University of Richmond uses Cognio’s Spectrum Expert.

Managing a large WiFi network is not without problems. It’s for that reason that the IT professionals at the University of Richmond use Cognio. The Cognio tool, in addition to its extreme portability and relatively low cost, offers unmatched analytic capabilities, a major leap forward from the waveforms provided by traditional spectrum analyzers.

University of Richmond network specialist Chip Greene said Spectrum Expert proved highly valuable when it identified an audiovisual remote control as the source of wireless spectrum interference.

"The manufacturer of the AV remote said their devices don’t cause interference, but when we exported and emailed them a Spectrum Expert screenshot that named their remote, we were able to convince them otherwise," said Greene. "Spectrum Expert takes a lot of the guesswork out of wireless troubleshooting, and in this instance it cut short what could have been a lengthy and difficult discussion."

With nearly 5,000 registered wireless devices, 1,500 employees, 584 access points and 4,000 students, the network group has a full load. In addition to managing the wireless network on every hill and dale of the campus, Greene and his teammates also support the entire network infrastructure at the private liberal arts institution.

"If it took me all day to troubleshoot a wireless network problem, that’s a whole day that I’m not looking after a downed server or another problem that’s on my plate," Greene said. "Spectrum Expert saves me a huge amount of time and makes me much more efficient in getting to everything I need to do."

Spectrum Expert is a cardbus add-on for laptop computers, allowing IT professionals to detect, monitor, identify and analyze interference on wireless networks. Interference could come from cordless phones, microwave ovens or a wide range of other seemingly innocuous devices.

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