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Thread: wi-spy for Xmas?

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    Default wi-spy for Xmas?

    Hello,

    I was thinking about giving myself a wi-spy for Christmas. At thinkgeek they have two versions, one with a builtin antenna and one with a RP-SMA connector. As I was reading the specs I noticed that only the 2.4GHz spectrum is supported. So I did a quick search on the forums for wi-spy and did not find the answers to the questions I had so I decided to post them.
    1. How well does wi-spy work? I.e. is it really worth the $200 or $400?
    2. Why doesn't it support 5Ghz?
    3. Is there a spectrum analyzer that covers all public frequencies?
    4. Do the hciconfig and hcitool commands support the wi-spy?

    Thanks,
    I like the bleeding edge, but I don't like blood loss

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    My life is this forum Barry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bofh28 View Post
    Hello,

    I was thinking about giving myself a wi-spy for Christmas. At thinkgeek they have two versions, one with a builtin antenna and one with a RP-SMA connector. As I was reading the specs I noticed that only the 2.4GHz spectrum is supported. So I did a quick search on the forums for wi-spy and did not find the answers to the questions I had so I decided to post them.
    1. How well does wi-spy work? I.e. is it really worth the $200 or $400?
    2. Why doesn't it support 5Ghz?
    3. Is there a spectrum analyzer that covers all public frequencies?
    4. Do the hciconfig and hcitool commands support the wi-spy?

    Thanks,
    It's not a wireless adapter, it's a spectrum analyzer only. If I were to get one, I'd get the one with the antenna adapter, it's the new model. Better resolution, and better software. I have the first version, got it when they started out. Handy little bugger, but only if you do a lot of wireless network work. For the average Joe, you probably won't get much out of it. They do make spectrum analyzers that cover the whole public range, but you're looking at a device that will run in the eight to ten grand range.
    Of course, if you really wanted to have some fun, go to Wal-Mart late at night and ask the greeter if they could help you find trashbags, roll of carpet, rope, quicklime, clorox and a shovel. See if they give you any strange looks. --Streaker69

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    Senior Member Thorn's Avatar
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    What Barry said.

    I, too, have the original model and it's nice. I'd love to upgrade to the newer model, but lately there hasn't been enough demand on wireless end to justify the purchase.

    There are other spectum analysers out there, but they are geared toward general RF work, and not specifially WiFi. Some are low cost, but don't have tools for things like looking at 802.11 channels.

    Here's one example:
    http://www.spectran.com/HandHeld_Spe...FSCysgod_CKHYQ

    By the way, "all public frequencies" is a VERY wide range. Usable RF start in the area of about 3kHz and goes up to 300GHz. I realize you're in Ireland, but this should give you an idea of the size of the RF spectrum.
    http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/allochrt.pdf

    Even if you limit yourself to "license free" frequencies it's very wide. In fact, even if you limit youself to 802.11 "license free" frequencies, it's still rather wide. In most places there are 802.11 channels in the 900MHz, 2.4Ghz, 5GHz, 5.8Ghz, and several other bands.

    On top of that, it varies from locale to locale, and by each country's regularory body.
    Thorn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    It's not a wireless adapter, it's a spectrum analyzer only. If I were to get one, I'd get the one with the antenna adapter, it's the new model. Better resolution, and better software. I have the first version, got it when they started out. Handy little bugger, but only if you do a lot of wireless network work. For the average Joe, you probably won't get much out of it. They do make spectrum analyzers that cover the whole public range, but you're looking at a device that will run in the eight to ten grand range.
    I don't do that much wireless work. Kismet and/or airodump have usually worked well for my needs.

    Instead I think I might get a usb bluetooth adapter. Much cheaper and closer to my real needs.

    Thanks,
    I like the bleeding edge, but I don't like blood loss

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
    What Barry said.

    I, too, have the original model and it's nice. I'd love to upgrade to the newer model, but lately there hasn't been enough demand on wireless end to justify the purchase.

    There are other spectum analysers out there, but they are geared toward general RF work, and not specifially WiFi. Some are low cost, but don't have tools for things like looking at 802.11 channels.

    Here's one example:
    http://www.spectran.com/HandHeld_Spe...FSCysgod_CKHYQ

    By the way, "all public frequencies" is a VERY wide range. :wink: Usable RF start in the area of about 3kHz and goes up to 300GHz. I realize you're in Ireland, but this should give you an idea of the size of the RF spectrum.
    http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/allochrt.pdf

    Even if you limit yourself to "license free" frequencies it's very wide. In fact, even if you limit youself to 802.11 "license free" frequencies, it's still rather wide. In most places there are 802.11 channels in the 900MHz, 2.4Ghz, 5GHz, 5.8Ghz, and several other bands.

    On top of that, it varies from locale to locale, and by each country's regularory body.
    Thanks for the information. I learned something new today.
    Thanks,
    I like the bleeding edge, but I don't like blood loss

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
    Even if you limit yourself to "license free" frequencies it's very wide. In fact, even if you limit youself to 802.11 "license free" frequencies, it's still rather wide. In most places there are 802.11 channels in the 900MHz, 2.4Ghz, 5GHz, 5.8Ghz, and several other bands.

    On top of that, it varies from locale to locale, and by each country's regularory body.
    Correct, 802.11b/g covers from 2.4 to 2.5 GHz, and 802.11a is in the 5.1 to 5.8 range.

    http://radioraiders.com/wlan-frequency.html

    ...but where did you ever see 802.11 operating in the 900 MHz band? That is not specified in any IEEE doc I ever saw. Besides most countries have 900 MHz reserved for GSM (Europe, Asia, Africa, Mid East) or cordless phones (USA, Canada). My understanding is 802.11 can only operate in the above mention bands (2.4 and 5 GHz) and no other.
    The link budget is not a problem, we intend on splitting the bill...

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    Quote Originally Posted by radioraiders View Post
    ...but where did you ever see 802.11 operating in the 900 MHz band? That is not specified in any IEEE doc I ever saw. Besides most countries have 900 MHz reserved for GSM (Europe, Asia, Africa, Mid East) or cordless phones (USA, Canada). My understanding is 802.11 can only operate in the above mention bands (2.4 and 5 GHz) and no other.
    There's a 900MHz band for ISM. (915MHz +/-13MHz). While it may not be 802.11 per se, I've seen it used for "wireless Internet" PtP links back to an ISP.

    Look on the FCC Frequency chart that I cited, it's right there.
    Thorn
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    My life is this forum Barry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
    There's a 900MHz band for ISM. (915MHz +/-13MHz). While it may not be 802.11 per se, I've seen it used for "wireless Internet" PtP links back to an ISP.

    Look on the FCC Frequency chart that I cited, it's right there.
    Don't forget, Thorn is older than God, so he knows all about that old computer stuff.
    Of course, if you really wanted to have some fun, go to Wal-Mart late at night and ask the greeter if they could help you find trashbags, roll of carpet, rope, quicklime, clorox and a shovel. See if they give you any strange looks. --Streaker69

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thorn View Post
    There's a 900MHz band for ISM. (915MHz +/-13MHz). While it may not be 802.11 per se, I've seen it used for "wireless Internet" PtP links back to an ISP.

    Look on the FCC Frequency chart that I cited, it's right there.
    Interesting, I didn't realize that 900MHz is in the ISM band in the USA, but FCC 15.247 does mention the 900 band (never noticed that before) along with the 2.4 and 5 GHz:

    http://www.fcc.gov/oet/info/rules/pa...5_07-10-08.pdf
    (page 100)

    Looks like 900MHz is an "open" band in the USA used for various different uses:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/900MHz

    ....some proprietary stuff for PtP links, maybe similar to 802.11, but no 802.11 is/was ever used in the 900MHz band. I'd imagine since WiFi is used globally, and Europe has GSM on 900MHz, it would wreak havoc if people from the USA came to Europe with 900MHz WiFi equipment. I think all countries int he world recognize 2.4GHz as reserved mainly for WiFi use (well, Ok, just a public band in general, but 9 out of 10 devices using 2.4GHz are probably WiFi). 5 GHz varies a little more.
    The link budget is not a problem, we intend on splitting the bill...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by radioraiders View Post
    Interesting, I didn't realize that 900MHz is in the ISM band in the USA, but FCC 15.247 does mention the 900 band (never noticed that before) along with the 2.4 and 5 GHz:

    http://www.fcc.gov/oet/info/rules/pa...5_07-10-08.pdf
    (page 100)

    Looks like 900MHz is an "open" band in the USA used for various different uses:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/900MHz

    ....some proprietary stuff for PtP links, maybe similar to 802.11, but no 802.11 is/was ever used in the 900MHz band. I'd imagine since WiFi is used globally, and Europe has GSM on 900MHz, it would wreak havoc if people from the USA came to Europe with 900MHz WiFi equipment. I think all countries int he world recognize 2.4GHz as reserved mainly for WiFi use (well, Ok, just a public band in general, but 9 out of 10 devices using 2.4GHz are probably WiFi). 5 GHz varies a little more.
    In the US, the Primary use as allocated by the FCC is Amateur with secondary uses include WiFi and other ISM. As much as I like WiFi, the Primary use should remain Amateur. Also, there are a lot of other ISM uses besides WiFi. Just because everyone with a laptop uses it, don't discount the other ISM uses.

    As an aside, please stop using Wikipedia. You'll get more accurate information shaking a Magic 8 Ball.
    Thorn
    Stop the TSA now! Boycott the airlines.

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