Ekahau HeatMapper maps out WiFi signals

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The term ‘warwalking’ isn’t used very often, but the Ekahau HeatMapper adds a new tool to the pod bound hacker’s arsenal. The tool maps out wireless access points as well as their signal strength within a facility. A test of the HeatMapper on a map made with AutoDesk Dragonfly accurately determined the location of a router within 3 feet and helped tune the angle it needed to be at for maximum range. Ekahau made a fantastically cheesy promotional video for their product, which is viewable after the jump. The program is free of charge, but unfortunately only runs on windows, so mac and *nix users are out of luck, though it might run under wine.

[via Download Squad]

36 thoughts on “Ekahau HeatMapper maps out WiFi signals

  1. Downloaded it and within 10 minutes had a wifi map of our apartment building. I noticed heavy overlap right on top of our router, moved it, and now I get better signal. This is frickin’ sweet and it’s extremely low profile when running. I see no reason it can’t be used on something like a palmtop or netbook anywhere you go. Excellent find.

  2. Okay, this program is just crazy. A bit basic but … wow. One thing I\’d LOVE to see implemented is a way to pre-draw a route that you will be taking and then using a mouseclick to indicate that you are at a checkpoint. Would make it easier to warwalk for AP points. (Ie, predefine a route of 4 points, clicking once at each corner of the block, walk once around your block, clicking the 5th time to indicate standing at starting position and to end the survey)

    As far as known APs in the area, neighbors, etc… it was pretty much spot on. My roommate knew where the router was for our neighbors upstairs after helping them with their computer, I did not. I took a walk outside and then pointed where I thought it was. He said I was dead on.

    I\’m gonna have a lot of fun with this one…

  3. @miharix

    I don\’t think that feature is implemented, but I did brainstorm a bit. Using the dragonfly app, you can adjust your scale for the area you\’ll be walking. Just means you\’ll have to click with shorter lines instead of dragging from edge to edge for one side of the house to the other. (ie, make the house about 1/4 the way across, a poor man\’s way of keeping zoomed out and centered)

    Alternately, and what I plan to do… using the dragonfly app to tile together \”square rooms\” to act as city blocks.

  4. Very useful – a nod to the author. Maybe not as much soldery goodness as some of the more arduinolicious hacks that have been here of late, but to me, this meets the threshold of a seriously solid hack.

  5. @jimbo:
    if you’re planning scanning your neighbourhood, just load a screenshot from google maps of your area as a heatmapper map

  6. How is this news? Ekahau has been on the market for years, and the functionality afforded isn’t exactly ground-breaking – most cellcos have employed heat-mapping as a radio planning and profiling output since early analogue days. Furthemore, it’s not exactly hard to map out coverage using open-source and off the shelf tools.

    This isn’t a hack – it’s a sales presentation.

  7. If you ever wanted to ‘upgrade’ to a paid version (Their sales pitch):

    Ekahau Site Survey (ESS) comes in 2 forms – Standard and Professional.
    ESS Standard is $ 1995.00 and one year Support & Maintenance is $
    359.00.
    ESS Professional is $ 3995.00 with Support $ 719.00 per year.

    We recommend the optional DBx dual-band Spectrum Analyzer to
    troubleshoot interference issues. With DBx, the prices are:

    ESS Standard + DBx are $ 2495.00 and one year Support & Maintenance is
    $ 359.00.
    ESS Professional + DBx is $ 4450.00 with Support $ 719.00 per year.

    Below are the differences between the two versions. We do recommend the
    support as the software is always being improved and new features added.
    If you have support in place, all upgrades are free for the year.
    Support is renewable yearly at the same cost.

    We also recommend our NIC card for the software. NIC300 is 802.11
    a/b/g/n sells for $ 145.00.

    You can purchase the software, analyzers, and NICs card directly from
    me. We will take a company purchase order with Net 30 terms or you may
    purchase with a major credit card. There is more information on our
    website or please call and we can answer any other questions. We offer
    free monthly webinars to go through the basics of ESS.

  8. Tired of hearing how cool it will be in iphone, well if you want such feature get PPC there at least 5 programs that do exactly same thing and even better by using gps

  9. The idea behind the app is great, the implementation is better than anything I’ve seen.

    However, the 15minute time limit is terrible. I decided to try map out my school (work) and see if it’ll find dead spots etc, however it would randomly crash, sometimes after 15 minutes, and occasionally after around 5minutes. You don’t have a chance to save the screenshots of the app at all, it’s just all gone.
    It did work out where the points where almost exactly though which was cool.
    I would use this app a lot more if it didn’t have the 15minute time limit, and perhaps allowed you to save the path, so you can go back and do another path.

    I’m hoping that the prices aren’t anywhere near as expensive as fynflood mentioned above, I wouldn’t mind shelling out maybe $100 or so for a version of this app that allows saving and no time limit.

    Ducky

  10. @steve
    it’s not coAtzee, it’s CoEtzee, big difference. It’s an Afrikaans name so it’s got some sounds that aren’t quite in English, but you can get pretty close saying “could-see-a”. Either way, I’ve never heard of my last name giving anyone bad memories. I’m interested to hear why.

  11. if “coatzee” is a hint at what i think it is then i agree with bad memories. the days before we were desensitized.

  12. @Jon Roelofs: It’s already been done for pocket pc, its called visiwave, and it costs in the thousand(s) of dollars IIRC. It’s nice to see an alternative that doesn’t cost an arm, a leg and your first born.

  13. Just ran a scan of our office – over 35k square feet – just walked the perimiter of the call center and down the hall ways of the offices.

    Works great! This is going in our security book for our wifi scan for PCI!

    An iPhone app would be great. Things were cramped on my Acer Aspire One.

  14. Having used ekahau’s tracking tags before, I gotta say that they’ve got a pretty clever product. Glad to see that they’re offering up a little bit of it for free.

  15. The time limit is a killer, the earliest points you mapped start disappearing. I tried to map a city block, I don’t think it’s possible to get it done before you hit the limit. Not on foot, anyhow. Need a way to defeat that limit.

  16. maybe use those wifi antenna chips (ceramic antennas) to build a wifi imaging device?

    just spin the antenna array and feed the captured data to a computer.

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