With the increasing number of mobile devices and access points capable of handling the Wi-Fi 802.11ac standard, network managers face a problem: How to monitor an internal wireless network that can run at 1 Gbps or more?

With an appliance that can capture huge amounts of data, says WildPackets Inc., a maker of network monitoring solutions.

Its Omnipliance WiFi, announced Tuesday and available next month, captures data directly from access points, enabling real-time and forensic analysis to four-stream 802.11ac traffic.

The days are “long gone” when engineers can use laptops or USB sensor dongles to capture the data available on an 802.11ac network, Jay Botelho director of product management, said in an interview.

With 802.11ac, internal wireless networks can handle any voice and video traffic, meaning they will become “mission critical” a number of enterprises.

The US$15,995 Omnipliance Wi-Fi – the company’s their first appliance for wireless – can be connected to a WLAN controller and left on round the clock capturing data from any supported access point. At launch it will support 802.11ac APs from Cisco Systems and Aruba Networks, but others will be added.

While the appliance will swallow all the signals from the nearest AP in sensor mode – it has 4 TB of storage – that won’t affect network performance, Botelho said. For those that worry, a manager can put an additional AP in the area wanted to analyze to act as the unit’s sensor. The device can also capture signals from multiple APs at the same time

For enterprises multiple locations, the unit can be remotely managed through WildPackets software.

The company’s WildPackets Expert software can do performance and security data analysis, as well as track authentications and identify rogue access points.


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