Visualize Your Wireless Network™
Analyze your WiFi network, create coverage heatmaps, see coverage voids, view channel usage/overlap, and more.
VisiWave Site Survey is the software tool that shows you what's going on inside your 802.11 network. VisiWave Site Survey provides advanced data collection and visualization capabilities that form a complete wireless LAN site survey solution that allows you to visualize the radio waves and demonstrate the effectiveness of your Wi-Fi coverage.
Discover more about VisiWave
Q: What kind of support do I get with the purchase of a VisiWave license?
Maintenance and support for the life of the product is included in the purchase price. Maintenance releases are occasionally made available and VisiWave Site Survey can automatically check for updates (controlled from the Help menu).
Major releases are made available once every year or two. You can upgrade to these new releases for a fee, if you wish to. See the Purchase page for the current price or to upgrade your current license.
For support, we just ask that you email us your questions. We usually respond quickly to each support email--typically the same business day but sometimes by the next business day.
Q: Do I need to purchase a support contract?
Support contracts are not offered for sale by VisiWave. Support and maintenance for VisiWave products are included in the purchase price for the life of the product. (Other products may have different support policies.)
Instead of having you purchase a plan up front just in case you want to upgrade to the next version, we let you decide when the major release is available if it is something you want to pay for. And the upgrade costs basically the same price as a pre-paid support contract. We don't make as much money this way, but it really is the best option for our customers.
Q: Is VisiWave compatible with Windows 8.1 (or later) on a Surface tablet?
Yes, VisiWave works on Windows 8.1 (or later) and on a Surface Pro. Note that VisiWave does NOT work on Windows RT tablets.
Q: What is the difference between the evaluation version and the fully licensed version?
Q: Is anything physically shipped to me when I buy VisiWave Site Survey?
When you buy a VisiWave Site Survey product, nothing is physically shipped to you. The products are only available via download. Only a license code is emailed to you.
Q: What is the difference between VisiWave Site Survey and VisiWave Site Survey Pro?
Here is a link to a webpage that shows what components each product includes:
VisiWave Site Survey by itself includes everything you need to do a site survey except a Windows laptop and a wireless adapter.
VisiWave Pro includes everything included with the base version of VisiWave but also adds the ability to do predictive surveys.
Q: Is a VisiWave Site Survey license tied to the wireless adapter?
A license is tied to a particular computer during the registration process. A hardware signature is computed for the current laptop. However, the wireless adapter is not part of that signature.
Q: Can I share a VisiWave license?
Q: Can I transfer my license to a different computer?
To transfer VisiWave Site Survey to a new computer, you just need to release the license from the original computer first. On the original computer, go to the Register window. Press the "Release License" button and follow the instructions. If VisiWave isn't still installed on the original computer, then just re-install and re-register VisiWave on that computer and then release it.
Your license will then be available to install on your new computer. Note that the first two releases are done immediately, but subsequent releases may take one or two business days for us to approve. Please plan accordingly.
VisiWave Site Survey Product Questions
Q: VisiWave Site Survey v4 introduced a new color scheme for heat maps. Can I switch back to using the v3 color scheme?
To get back to the v3.0 way of showing colors, do the following:
Your colors should now be exactly as they were in the previous version.
Q: How can I make VisiWave Site Survey collect data faster?
The time it takes to capture a data point depends on your wireless adapter. VisiWave basically asks the adapter to perform a scan of the APs in the area. The adapter tells us when the scan is complete. That is most of the delay.
To make the scan happen faster, you will need to either use a 2.4GHz-only wireless adapter or switch to a faster dual band wireless adapter. The one we currently recommend is the NetGear WNDA3100 v2. You can also view a list of supported adapters and their average scan times on our website: Supported Wireless Adapters
Q: Can VisiWave Site Survey perform a pre-deployment site survey (i.e., survey a site before a wireless network is installed)?
Yes, VisiWave does this. You have two choices. One is to do a Predictive Survey. This requires a VisiWave Site Survey Pro license. To do this, create a new survey file, select a floor plan image file, set the scale, and then switch to the Predict View. Here you draw the walls and barriers of the survey area, place one or more access points, and then have VisiWave run a simulation of how the radio waves will propagate through the model of the survey area.
The other way to perform a survey in an area without a network installed is to use a temporary AP (or multiple temporary APs). You place the temporary AP in the survey area and then walk the area collecting measurements. Save that survey data. Then move the temporary AP to a new location and collect data again. Save that to a separate survey file. Repeat this until the entire survey area is covered. Then use the Merge Survey Files feature to combine all the individual survey files into one, comprehensive survey file. When doing that, be sure to select your temporary AP when prompted. This makes VisiWave treat each AP location as a unique AP (even though it was really the same AP just moving around).
Q: Can VisiWave Site Survey perform a predictive site survey?
A predictive survey allows you to describe the building materials and contents of a space and have VisiWave model the RF coverage without doing any real-world measurements.
Yes, using VisiWave Site Survey Pro, you can do this. The base version of the product ("VisiWave Site Survey") does not have this ability.
VisiWave also gives you the ability to see what coverage would be like if you moved an existing AP to a new location. VisiWave models the coverage based on existing measurements and creates a heat map that predicts what coverage would be like with an AP in the new location.
VisiWave can also do pre-deployment site surveys. See another FAQ entry for more on these.
Q: My heat maps are only showing over a very small area or in a narrow line. How can I make the heat map cover more of my survey map?
This is something simple. VisiWave has the concept of a "Confidence Radius". This means that VisiWave only draws the heatmap a certain distance around each data point. Your issue is most likely the scale is not correct so the radius is too small. You can change the scale at any time using the Set Scale menu item.
The other possibility is that your Confidence Radius is set too small. You can check this by going to Report View and pressing the Properties button in the lower left corner. The first option listed there is Confidence Radius. This should be around 3 meters or 16 feet for a building and larger for a large, outdoor survey. To learn more about Confidence Radius, see the built-in help by pressing F1 or go to the Help menu.
Q: What GPS devices are supported by VisiWave Site Survey?
VisiWave supports NMEA serial GPS devices or Garmin compatible USB GPS devices. We usually recommend the Globalsat BU-353 or BU-353-S4 USB device. It is easy to buy, cheap, and works right out of the box with VisiWave. You may want to use a GPS companion program such as GPSgate (free download) to assist you in setting up your GPS.
Note that many common GPS devices (e.g., car navigation units, smartphones, and many handheld GPS devices) are not made to send position information to a laptop computer so they will not work. Also note that GPS only works outdoors. It is virtually useless inside buildings.
Most any GPS device that supports NMEA will work. This standard, however, only functions over serial connections so you may need a cable that converts serial to USB along with software that creates a virtual COM port.
Known USB devices are Garmin 10x, Garmin 18x, Garmin 18 OEM, or Globalsat BU-353 USB.
Q: What GPS device do you recommend?
We recommend the Globalsat BU-353 or BU-353-S4 GPS devices. They are easy to purchase, low cost, and work well with VisiWave. We don't directly sell them, but they are easily purchased online.
You may want to run the GPSInfo program that comes with the device for a few minutes before using the device with VisiWave. GPS devices sometimes need a few minutes at first to accurately determine your true location.
Additionally, you can view more information in the User Manual. In particular, view "GPS Position Tracking Mode" under Section 3.3.4.
Q: How do I upgrade to the latest maintenance release?
There are two ways to do this. From within VisiWave, you can go to the Help menu and select "Check for Updates" and then "Check Now". If an update exists, VisiWave will ask you if you want to install the update. Or, you can always go to the Download link on our website and download the latest evaluation version. Install this evaluation version over-top of your current version. It will automatically pick up your existing license code and become the fully licensed version.
Q: Does VisiWave Site Survey do active surveys as well as passive surveys?
Yes, VisiWave does both types of surveys. An "active survey" means that the client is associated with a network ("SSID") and collects additional details about the associated AP during the survey (such as round trip time, receive errors, transmission errors, and collision counts).
A "passive survey" means that information about all nearby access points is recorded, but since the client is not associated with all the APs, only basic information is recorded such as signal strength, channel, and data rate.
To perform an active survey with VisiWave, just make sure to connect to the wireless network before you capture data. VisiWave will then record both information about the passive APs in the area and more detailed information about the currently associated (active) access point.
Q: What is a good/bad SNR? Good/bad signal strength?
Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) is a positive value between 0dB and usually no more than 80dB. The larger the number, the stronger the single.
Signal Strengths are negative numbers usually between -95dBm and -20dBm. The closer to zero, the stronger the signal. So, -40dBm is good. -80dBm is bad.
SNR is Signal minus Noise. So, if Signal is -70 and Noise -90, then SNR is 20dB (-70dBm - -90dBm = 20dB).
Q: Can you use VisiWave Site Survey to find rogue access points?
To find rogue APs with VisiWave Site Survey, create a new survey file, add your floor plan map, set the scale as accurately as you can, then start collecting survey data points.
Walk around the survey area in as much of a grid-like pattern as you reasonably can. VisiWave won't be able to accurately guess the location of a rogue AP if it is outside of the area that you surveyed so try to surround all the rogue APs with your data points.
As data points are added, all the access points seen will show up in the AP List on the right of the screen. Put a check next to any suspected rogue APs. And click the box that says "Estimate AP Locations" just below the AP List. A small target icon will be place on the survey map where VisiWave thinks the AP is located. Repeat this for each suspected rogue AP.