Viewing the 5 GHz band in Cisco Spectrum Expert

In a previous article I described a method to connect Cisco Spectrum Expert to an Autonomous Access Point operating in Spectrum Mode. This article addresses how to configure Spectrum Expert to display the data, primarily wrangling the plots to display the entire 5 GHz band on one screen.

On first launch Spectrum Expert looks like this:

00 CSE first launch

CSE on first launch

Paste the Remote Sensor NSI Key, select “a/n” Radio, click OK

01 CSE 5 GHz default

Default CSE plot arrangement

It is possible to add and remove plots from this screen. Doing so alters the position and size of the plots. For now the focus is viewing the Real Time FFT (strength of signal, this moment) and Duty Cycle Swept Spectrogram (Historical / Waterfall View) for the entire 5 GHz band.

To do this, first clear the screen of all the default plots, using the “X” to remove each plot one by one.

02 click x to remove the plot

Once all the default plots have been removed, add three Real Time FFT plots, from the menu heading Spectrum

03 spectrum-add plot

Navigate to the Menu bar, drop down Spectrum > Add Plot > Real Time FFT

Once three Real Time FFT plots have been added, add three Swept Spectrogram plots

04 add 3 real time FFT

Spectrum > Add Plot > Swept Spectrogram

05 3 FFT & 3 swept spectrograms

BUT: I hear you cry they all show exactly the same thing, so let’s address this…

To make a selection click anywhere within the plot and the surrounding box will become a different colour

06 plot IDs

Plot References and indicator that Plot 1 is currently selected, the surrounding box is a different colour to the other plots

Once selected it is possible to view and change details specific to Plot 1 from the Control Panel in the bottom left corner

07 the control panel

The fields in the control panel are selectable, though you must click on them first to reveal the drop down arrow

Selecting Band: 5.16 - 5.34 GHz configures Plot 1 to display both UNII-1 and UNII-2

Selecting Band: 5.16 – 5.34 GHz configures Plot 1 to display both UNII-1 and UNII-2

It is possible to tweak the display further, adjusting the scale, adding additional traces, what they represent, addition of markers etc. Under Channels it is possible to select which channel markers appear in the Plot or disable them.

For now the only setting that requires attention is Band. On to Plot 2.

09 Plot 2 Band selection

This configures Plot 2 to display UNII-2e

10 Plot 3 Band selection

Plot 3, configured to display UNII-3

This completes the Real Time FFT configuration, next, the Swept Spectrogram Plots.

11 Plot 4 Band selection

First we select Plot 4, then configure the band we want the plot to display information about

12 Plot 4 Trace Type

By default the Swept Spectrogram Plot displays the Max signal strength detected, this should be changed to Duty Cycle

This is now applied to the remaining Plots 5 and 6.

13 All plots configured

Once You have played around and configured the plots to your liking, save the layout so you can retrieve it next time.

14 CSE save Spectrum View Configuration

Spectrum > Save Spectrum View Configuration

15 save as

At this point I saved mine as “Spec An 5GHz”. By ticking the checkbox CSE will load this View Configuration next time you start the application

16 Tab labelled

Once loaded, the tab displays the Configuration name. Here we can see Spec An 5 GHz

It is easy to open up an alternative view from that same menu.

If you use Spectrum Expert and would like to share any comments regarding how you use or configure CSE, please leave comments or Tweet me @nickjvturner

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