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Ekahau Sidekick vs Wi-Fi Adapters



When your grandpa drove cross country in his 1970 Buick Skylark, he would have stopped many times for adjustments to get the best performance out of his carbureted engine. When he crossed over the Rocky Mountains, he would have stopped and adjusted the air/fuel mixture and timing to account for the change in altitude and air density. What a hassle!


Fast forward to today with the advancements in technology and the introduction of fuel injectors: not only do we get better gas mileage, but we’ve minimised the number of stops required for car maintenance. With road trips today, stops are about enjoying the trip or taking a break — not about adjusting your car. 

As technology advances, we are able to improve and simplify our processes. When wireless first came to market, consumers used Wi-Fi adapters to enable wireless on our devices. Wi-Fi professionals re-purposed them (with tape, velcro, or other holster of some kind) as diagnostics tools to be more mobile when designing, managing, and troubleshooting networks.

These cheap consumer devices — unsurprisingly — are poor measurement tools with a wide variance that puts your network and reputation at risk. We aren’t stuck in the 1970s without fuel injection in our vehicles and the era of the USB adapter is over. Now we have advanced precision technology that simplifies your job and allows you to focus on what matters in your network — building and maintaining high-performing Wi-Fi.  


When designing, managing or troubleshooting a wireless network, it is critical to use the right tools to ensure accurate data. We depend on good data — it is the baseline we need to have confidence that our networks meet requirements and will support the least capable, most important devices from the start. Good data also allows better diagnosis of network problems to resolve issues quickly.  


The higher the quality of data, the more confidence you can have in your work — building up your reputation instead of tearing it down. If you are relying on old technology, you simply don’t have the tools you need for your network, and your end users will have poor performance. When you use a USB adapter, it will show large variances in Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI). This can lead to the identification of false gaps in network coverage and the installation of too many or not enough access points (APs), all of which cause problems with interference and network performance. What you need is the right number of APs in the right locations with the right configuration to meet your requirements.


Meet the Ekahau Sidekick!  


Ekahau Sidekick is the premier Wi-Fi measurement device, providing highly accurate data for Wi-Fi surveys and troubleshooting. The advanced precision of the Sidekick mitigates risk by producing a narrow variation in measurements versus the wide variation of a dongle or Wi-Fi Adapter. In order to evaluate the accuracy of the Sidekick, we commissioned an external RF lab to quantify the advantage of the Sidekick over using USB adapters. The lab results proved Ekahau Sidekick offers unmatched precision. Download the full application note for the complete analysis below!

Right Number of AP's in the Right Location


Accurate RSSI is important in getting the right number of APs in the right location for your network. The Sidekick allows you to identify the signal correctly the first time so you don’t spend extra money on APs you don’t need (inaccuracy with the adapters will make you think you need extra expensive equipment). Measurements done right the first time also ensure a better-quality design, making you more reliable and more efficient, increasing customer and leadership satisfaction.


Network Measured by Sidekick

Network Measured by Wi-Fi Adapter

Omnidirectional Antenna Enables Greater Mobility


The highly omnidirectional antenna pattern of the Ekahau Sidekick enables total freedom of walking direction during a survey. You don’t need to worry about the angle or the direction of the AP, as it will always provide true signal strength readings. When conducting a survey with the Sidekick, you can walk at a regular pace. Dongles, on the other hand, require a slow, methodical pace — and even force you to stop and start several times — which often produces inaccurate and insufficient data.  


No Laptop Battery Drain


In addition, dongles drain your laptop battery and require you to take time out of your data collecting or troubleshooting to recharge your battery. With the Sidekick, simply plug it into your iOS device and get your data faster without having to stop and recharge. Using the Sidekick and your iOS device also lightens your load, allowing you to be truly mobile, instead of trying to lug around a laptop or heavier equipment. This frees up a hand to focus on safety. 


Highest Resolution Spectrum Analyser — On Your Mobile Device


Another advantage of the Sidekick is having the industry’s highest resolution spectrum analyser in the palm of your hand — turning your mobile device into a powerful troubleshooting device. It provides best-in-class capabilities to analyse spectrum use and channel utilisation, as well as visualize potential interferences in the Wi-Fi frequencies that may be impacting network reliability.  When your network is down or you need to make adjustments, faster, better, and more efficient tools are critical. The Sidekick allows you to collect accurate data faster and more accurately. Not only does it save time to troubleshoot your network, the Sidekick saves your time onsite validating your predictive design. Wi-Fi Adapters don’t offer this capability. 


The Era of Wi-Fi Adapters is OVER


Download the full side-by-side comparison of Ekahau Sidekick vs. Wi-Fi Adapters.

Display your 1970 Buick Skylark alongside your other vintage collectibles, but don’t depend on it for your business in 2020. Toss all those failed dongles in a shadow box and call it art (or in the trash, whichever you prefer). Save money on unnecessary expensive APs and create a better network with the Ekahau Sidekick.


Get in touch with our team today to discuss getting your hands on an Ekahau Sidekick! info@yourwifishop.com


Ekahau Sidekick Application Note-Final
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