Spectrum Analysis with the Ekahau Sidekick

As my previous post states, the Ekahau Sidekick truly is the “Swiss Army Knife” of Wifi. The all-in-one capabilities not only allow you to survey and capture packets, but you can do a Spectrum Analysis as well.

Using the Ekahau Pro software, and the Sidekick, you can view layer 1 of wireless which is the RF spectrum. To do this, just start up the Sidekick and fire up Ekahau Pro. Once you are in the program, you can click the triangle at the bottom right and this will bring up the Frequency Monitor (click the square with the arrow to go to a full screen).

You’ll see that the spectrum is already being swept, once you bring up the frequency monitor. From this screen you can select which band you would like to see, 2.4 or 5GHz and which SSID you would like to filter, if any. On the full screen, you are able to change the data being presented in each tile, like the waterfall, channel list, or radios.

The graphic below shows the density view for the 2.4GHz along with the radio and channels list.

From the density view above, it appears that there is DSSS (.11b) modulation being picked up on channel 6. This can be seen by the rounded pattern signature between channels 4 and 8 and confirmed in the radio and channel list where it shows an entry on channel 6 that is .11b compatible with supported data rates starting at 1Mbps.

While on the 2.4GHz frequency monitor, I fired up my Roku stick and started streaming an episode of one of the funniest comedies around. The output is shown below.

From this, you can see the RF signature of OFDM – table top look with a steep valley at the center of the frequency. This let’s me know that the Roku is using a PHY of 802.11n on the 2.4 band. This is confirmed on the radios and channel list, as well as from the packet capture from the previous post. You can also see signatures of the subcarriers within the channel.

Once again, the Sidekick proves to be a “must have” tool for a wireless engineer. You can now have access to do most, if not all of your RF troubleshooting with one device. Thanks Ekahau!

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