Introduction

Overview

Welcome to TamoGraph Site Survey, a powerful and user-friendly application for collecting and visualizing Wi-Fi data, as well as predictive modeling. Wireless network deployment and maintenance requires the use of a professional RF site survey tool that facilitates otherwise time-consuming and very complex tasks, such as ongoing analysis and reporting of signal strength, noise and interference, TCP and UDP throughput, channel allocation, data rates, etc. By using TamoGraph, businesses can dramatically reduce the time and costs involved in designing, deploying and maintaining WLANs and improve network performance and coverage.

Why to Perform a Site Survey

In a word, wireless site surveys are necessary because radio wave propagation is difficult to predict, especially in non-open space environments. Considering all the variables that might affect the health and performance of your WLAN is virtually impossible. Changing conditions, even something as seemingly minor as a laptop equipped with a legacy 802.11g adapter that your new employee connected to the office wireless network, might seriously affect the WLAN performance. In addition, considering the wide proliferation of wireless infrastructure, factors such as interference from nearby WLANs play a very important role. This is why regular site surveys conducted with a professional tool are essential.

When to Perform a Site Survey

Pre-deployment surveys: At this stage, a site survey is necessary in order to verify that the network plan works well in a real-world environment. Placement of temporary access points (APs) and a quick survey of the resulting WLAN characteristics allow an engineer to fine-tune AP and antennae placement, determine the optimal number and types of APs and antennae, and avoid poor coverage zones. Using TamoGraph, you can also perform a simulation in a virtual environment prior to deployment.

Post-deployment surveys: Once a WLAN has been deployed, a complete verification site survey is necessary to ensure that the WLAN performance and coverage meet the design requirements. At this stage, the Wi-Fi equipment placement is finalized, and a site survey report should be generated so that the historical records can be accessed at any time in the future.

Regular, ongoing surveys: Maintaining high performance and coverage requires regular “check-up” surveys. New users, new equipment, site expansion, neighboring WLANs, and other factors can adversely affect your WLAN. It should be monitored on a regular basis.

Survey Types

There are three types of surveys that you can conduct with TamoGraph: passive, active, and predictive (the latter is technically not a survey; rather, it’s virtual modeling). During a passive survey, the application collects the most comprehensive data on the RF environment: information on access points and their characteristics, signal strength, noise level, interference, etc. This is the default and most important survey type that we recommend to conduct in every case. It is called passive because during this type of survey, the application passively listens for packets and does not attempt to connect to WLANs. However, to provide more insight into the real-world performance of your WLAN, TamoGraph can also perform active surveys, during which your Wi-Fi adapter connects to the wireless network(s) of your choice to measure actual throughput rates and a few other metrics. Unlike passive and active surveys, predictive modeling is not performed on-site. Predictive models are a computer simulation in which Wi-Fi characteristics are predicted for the virtual environment model created by the user. The process of creating and adjusting the virtual environment, selection and placement of simulated APs, and analyzing the resulting WLAN is commonly referred to as “RF planning”, “RF predictive modeling,” or “RF modeling.” Please refer to the Understanding Survey Types: Passive, Active, and Predictive chapter for more information on this topic. Additionally, TamoGraph can be used to perform spectrum analysis surveys.

6 GHz (Wi-Fi 6E) Support

In TamoGraph 8.0, we introduced support for the 6 GHz Wi-Fi band, also known as Wi-Fi 6E. This new band offers up to 1,200 MHz of new spectrum, which is a big step forward regarding WLAN capacity and performance. With TamoGraph 8.0, users can now conduct passive and active surveys in this band (a compatible adapter with 6 GHz support is required), as well as use predictive modeling to design and simulate new 6 GHz deployments and combine them with the existing 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. We implemented support for the latest Wi-Fi technologies and standards, such as Multiple BSSID elements, the new power spectral density (PSD) rules, among others.

To allow our users to conduct 6 GHz spectrum surveys, TamoGraph 8.0 now also supports a tri-band USB spectrum analyzer, WiPry by Oscium.

System Requirements

TamoGraph requires a portable computer with the following minimal system requirements:

Windows   Computers running Microsoft Windows

Apple   Computers running macOS

You can also run TamoGraph on a desktop computer that is not equipped with a compatible wireless adapter. This operating mode may be feasible if you would like to collect Wi-Fi data using portable computers and then import, merge, and analyze the data on a desktop PC or iMac based on faster hardware and using a larger display.

Differences Between the Windows and macOS Versions

The Windows and macOS versions of TamoGraph are largely identical. In addition, TamoGraph project files are compatible across versions. Project files created with the Windows version of TamoGraph can be opened by the macOS version, and vice versa.

Nevertheless, there are many differences between the two operating systems and the underlying hardware. This results in some differences in the TamoGraph versions, which are summarized below:

Microsoft Windows macOS
Compatible Adapters Requires specific Wi-Fi adapter models for passive surveys. Works with the Wi-Fi adapter built into your MacBook and does not require specific additional adapters.
Driver or Packet Capture Engine Installation Requires you to install the special drivers that come with this product. Requires you to install the packet capture engine.
Simultaneous
Active + Passive Surveys
Supported, as long as two different adapters are plugged in. Supported, as long as you use one of the compatible USB adapters for the passive part of the survey and the built-in adapter for the active part.
Using Multiple Adapters Supported. Not supported.

Additionally, some menu items are located in different places in the two versions.

Driver Installation - Microsoft Windows

TamoGraph is a tool for monitoring wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax networks. To conduct passive surveys, you must have a compatible wireless adapter to use this product. In order to enable the monitoring features of your wireless adapter, you will need to use the special drivers that come with this product.

When TamoGraph is not running, your adapter will be able to communicate with other wireless hosts or APs, just like when you are using the original driver supplied by the adapter manufacturer. When TamoGraph is running, your adapter will be put in passive, promiscuous monitoring mode.

Prior to installing the new driver for your wireless adapter, be sure that your adapter is compatible with this product. The list of compatible adapters can be found at the following URL:

https://www.tamos.com/download/main/tg.php

For detailed driver installation instructions, please launch the program and click Help => Driver Installation Guide in the program's menu.

If you use CommView for Wi-Fi, another TamoSoft product, you do not need to install or change the driver, as TamoGraph and CommView for Wi-Fi share the same drivers.

Wi-Fi Capture Engine Installation - macOS

To conduct passive and active surveys, TamoGraph uses your MacBook’s built-in Wi-Fi adapter. To enable Wi-Fi adapter’s monitoring features of the, you will need to install the Wi-Fi Capture Engine. You will be prompted to install it when you run TamoGraph for the first time. Alternatively, you can do so by clicking TamoGraph => Install Wi-Fi Capture Engine in the main menu. Note that the installation requires an administrative account. Once the engine has been installed, you can run TamoGraph as a standard user.

When TamoGraph is not running, your adapter will be able to communicate with other wireless hosts or APs as it normally does. When TamoGraph is running, your adapter will be put in passive, promiscuous monitoring mode. If you want to restore network connectivity while TamoGraph is running, select the Properties tab on the right panel, expand the Scanner frame, and click Stop Scanner.

If you want to use one of the supported external USB adapters, capture engine installation is not needed; you simply need to plug in the USB adapter.

Trial Version Limitations

The trial of TamoGraph allows you to evaluate the software for 30 days and has the following limitations:

License Types

Two TamoGraph license types are available: Standard and Pro. The more expensive Pro license allows you to use the GPS functionality for conducting GPS-assisted site surveys outdoors, perform predictive modeling, and customize PDF and HTML reports. The Standard license does not offer GPS, predictive modeling, or report customization functionality.