Validation Survey Equipment

Validation surveys are important for all wireless engineers. While the process can take some time to complete, I wanted to aim this blog post towards the equipment I use to perform validation surveys.

My validation survey initial kit started with a Microsoft Surface Pro and one Ekahau NIC-300 USB adapter. It was very light to use but the Surface Pro was limited to just one USB port which happened to be one of the most flimsiest ports I’ve come across. Plus, the adapter stuck out at the side which ended up nicking doorways or my arm would hit it.

My validation survey equipment on my laptop.

My validation survey equipment.

Equipment Needed:

After that debacle, I decided to just run Windows 10 on my Macbook Pro within VMware Fusion. I installed Ekahau Site Survey and this time I wanted to use two Ekahau NIC-300 USB adapters. Additionally, I needed to plug in an external WiFi adapter for my VM to connect to WiFi without sharing the connection on my Mac. That meant having to select a USB hub.

I thought the USB hub would be challenging since I had to mount it somewhere on my laptop. My first thought was to use velcro but I didn’t want to have anything stick to my precious Mac.

That’s where @blong1 provided a nifty tip of using Gear Ties to hang the USB hub off the top of the monitor side. This appeared work very well in theory so I decided to purchase my own. The gear ties go around the USB hub and then you shape the other end as a hook to stay on your laptop. There’s plenty of room for at least 3 USB adapters.

Low and behold. I have done my first validation survey and I could not be happier.

Some things I ran into with this installation:

  • Watch out for battery consumption.
  • Use the smaller Gear Ties. Longer ties will make your adapters hang low near the back of the laptop.
  • Watch out for VMware Fusion marking your USB controller as USB 3.0 only. My Ekahau adapters did not work and I had to change it to USB 2.0.

One thought on “Validation Survey Equipment”

  1. JakiChan says:

    The last time I tried doing a survey with a laptop I ended up with a wrist injury due to holding the laptop in one hand and having to mouse in the other. I want to try a tablet like the Surface Pro simply to try something that won’t hurt as much. As a side note I just had 1mil sqft surveyed by Cisco Advanced Services and they used Surface Pros. It hurts to ask for one, because I’m a Mac guy. 🙂

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