iPad WiFi Scanner and Site Survey Tool
Why I like the iPad as a platform for WiFi tools such as a WiFi scanner or WiFi site survey tool:
Display – Nice big display compared to the iPhone. Anyone that has conducted WiFi site surveys for millions of square feet knows that having a big laptop screen is useful. The 9.7-inch (diagonal) multi-touch display isn’t huge but should work well for WiFi site surveys.
Size and Weight – The bigger the screen the better..but with size comes weight. While having a 16 inch screen is ideal..an 8 pound laptop for site surveys feels like a 1000 pounds after a few hours of surveying. For me, the perfect screen size for a WiFi Scanner/Site Survey laptop is around 13 inches. The iPad’s 9.7 inch diagonal screen may end up being a little small but for most scanning and surveying it should work well. At around 9.56 inches by 7.47 inches and 1.6 pounds for the WiFi + 3G model the iPad is perfect for carrying around all day long.
Battery and Power – Per Apple’s website the iPad “has up to 10 hours of surfing the web on W-Fi”. Even if the battery life is closer to 7 hours…that is enough for a full day of WiFI scanning and surveying. When scanning a wireless card isn’t transmitting so hopefully the iPad’s battery life is closer to 10 hours when used as a scanner.
Processor and Performance – For large survey projects it helps to have a powerful processor that is responsive when clicking/tapping the screen and also can handle the larger number access points and WiFi devices that sometimes need to get tracked during scanning and surveying. The 1GHz Apple A4 processor is unknown since it is so new so hopefully it is a powerful as marketed by Apple.
Wireless Features – The iPad supports 802.11 a/b/g/n so it has all the capabilities needed for the major WiFi types deployed by organizations today. The iPad will connect at the full speeds to any type of network for any speed testing or active surveying.
iPad Is Value Priced and Feature Rich
At $499 ($523.95 after tax) the iPad with Wi-Fi only and 16GB of storage is a great platform for WiFi tools. We hope to port our very popular (and free) WiFi Scanner app for Snow Leopard to iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and add/enhance the tool for wireless site surveys.
iPad/iPhone OS SDK for WiFi Tools
Currently there is is no way to access the information we need from the iPhone/iPad OS without using a private framework. This isn’t a big deal in terms of creating the application but if we want the app available in the App Store then we have play by Apple’s rules which means waiting for a updated OS and SDK to be released. Apple usually realeases major iPhone/iPad OS updates once a year around this time so hopefully the next major release will provide a documented way to access to 802.11/WiFi information that meets our needs for porting our WiFi Scanner to the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch platform.
iPad/iPhone WiFi Scanner/Site Survey Tool Features Requests
If you have any feature requests for a WiFi Scanner and Site Survey Tool on the iPad let us know. Check out our WiFi Scanner for Mac OS X for what is possible.
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