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AM Survey: Limitations of 'Other' WiFi Adapters

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For AM Survey (beginning with v9.2.1), there are two general types of WiFi adapters, Preferred adapters and Other adapters.

Preferred Adapters:

These adapters have been tested by AirMagnet and are recommended for use with AirMagnet products. Drivers have been customized for extended feature support. Check the feature set of Preferred Adapters using the adapter comparison chart for Survey:

  • AM/D1080 - no noise readings available
  • Edimax AC1750 - no noise readings available
  • Proxim 9100 - no noise readings available
  • Alfa AWUS1900 - no noise readings available
  • Proxim 8494 - provides noise readings
  • NETSCOUT 3x3 Express Card 802.11ac– noise on passive survey only

Other Adapters:

  • These adapters can be used with AirMagnet Survey PRO but have not been tested by NetAlly. Drivers have not been customized, will provide limited features, and could provide inaccurate data.

Limitations of Other Network Adapters

Any 802.11 adapter supported by Windows that is not a Preferred adapter falls into the Other network adapters category.  Other adapters can be used with AirMagnet Survey PRO to perform a survey but have not been tested by AirMagnet. These adapters' drivers have not been customized, provide limited feature support, and could provide inaccurate information. NetAlly is not responsible for the quality of the test results collected using these adapters.

The following are noted limitations of 'Other' adapters in AirMagnet Survey.

  • No ability to scan specific channels: all channels are scanned. There is no Scan or 802.11 tab under the File>Configure menu.
  • No noise or signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) measurements.
  • Measured PHY data rates in the uplink and downlink directions are not separated. Only a single PHY data rate for the connection is reported.
  • No packet retry and loss measurements on active and Iperf surveys.
  • iPerf throughput performance may vary, depending on the model of the generic adapter in use.
  • Limitations in the wireless channels that they scan: They may only be able to scan channels that are approved for wireless use in a specific country, and unable to scan channels assigned as Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) channels.
  • Only one 802.11ac adapter can be used when utilizing multiple adapters. Refer to “Utilizing Multiple Adapters” in the AirMagnet Survey User Guide.
  • There is no roaming control for active and iPerf surveys.
  • Due to the inability to disable roaming on the adapter, only by SSID (not by AP) are available for active and iPerf surveys.


If the measurements obtained with an 'Other' adapter is not suitable, please use a Preferred Adapter. You may also try rolling back or upgrading the adapter's driver by working with the manufacturer of that adapter. It is up to you to determine what driver you might need and whether the results are accurate for you.