How is spectrum analysis different from wireless resource management or RF management?





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Spectrum analysis is all about interference and how to minimize it in your network to ensure top performance. This includes detecting the source, understanding its impact on the network and then removing the source of the problem. Wireless resource management, on the other hand, includes dynamic changes in the configuration settings of the network (changing channel or transmit power based on noise or interference in the environment) to be able to cope with temporary changes in the environment or network. So, while resource management solutions can provide temporary relief to a WLAN problem, the ever-critical thing is to quickly find and remove the problem source. Delving into the impact of interference on your network and solving the root cause of the problem is the recommended methodology to ensuring a trouble-free WLAN. And spectrum analysis ensures that layer 1 operates efficiently.

Spectrum analysis provides data about RF spectrum activity, including both Wi-Fi and non-Wi-Fi interference.

Wireless resource management (or RF management) is the active use of this spectrum intelligence data to improve wireless network performance.

The best systems combine both spectrum intelligence technology (integrated within the infrastructure), and RF management software that uses this information to optimize performance. For example, the spectrum analysis may determine that an interference device is causing a serious outage at a particular AP, and then the RF management system will immediately change the channel of the AP to move away from the interference.

One thing I may not have clearly pointed out is that traditional RF management systems did not have information on specific devices in the environment. Typically, all they could see was that there was some kind of "noise" out there.

Spectrum analysis adds this key piece of information -- what is the source of the noise? This classification of the interference is extremely imporant in two ways:

1) Classification provides meaningful information to IT. If IT is able to understand the source of the intererence, they can take actions such as turning it off, replacing with another type of device, etc.

2) Classification provides more detailed information to the RRM system. If the RRM system knows that this is real interference (as opposed to heavy WiFi traffic on a nearby AP), it can be more confident that changing channels will have a positive impact. Also, RRM can make intelligent assumptions based on the type of device -- Is it likely to stay in this spot? Is it likely to come back tomorrow? Is it likely to be impacting all channels (as in the case of a frequency hopping device)?

So, as you can see both human and automated responses are improved when the source of the interference is understood.

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