With organisations wanting to test 802.11ac environments there are a few options avialable.

It's very easy to use an existing 802.11 a/b/g/n dongle with your AirMagnet solution but finding a fully supported 802.11ac is difficult. Addtionally the off the shelf ones at JB Hi-Fi and the likes don't support 3x3 802.11ac. So how do you test these new 3x3 installations?

Unfortunately the answer isn't that straight forward either. Technically USB3.0 operates at 5Gbps so it should be able to handle 802.11ac 3x3 speeds of 1.3Gbps. However life isn't that easy as Netscout's AirMagnet Wi-Fi Analyser and Survey Pro only work with an external ExpressCard solution - AM/C1097 pictured below. There is also a solid technical reason why.


The ExpressCard as a standard allows for 2 different signaling methodologies over their physical bus. One is USB, the other is PCI. Many (but not all) ExpressCards implemented both or at least USB. These ExpressCard to USB adapters assume that the ExpressCard in question supports USB signaling. Netscout's ExpressCard utilizes an Access Point grade mini-PCI radio inside.

As such Netscout use the PCI signaling option over ExpressCard. That is why the AM/C1097 adapter will not work with an ExpressCard to USB convertor.

At the time of writing this the following laptops, that we are aware of, come with an ExpressCard slot:

  • Lenovo Thinkpad T530
  • Lenovo Thinkpad W540
  • Lenovo Thinkpad SS430 (only the models with core i5 & i7 processors)
  • Lenovo Thinkpad TS430 (only the models without NVidia GPUs)
  • HP ZBook 14
  • HP ZBook 17
  • Dell Latitude E6540


PlexNet are able to supply a turnkey 802.11ac 3x3 solution should you require it. Of course we also have all the cards and software for our customers to configure their own.


There is also an additional solution, called OptiViewXG that does this all in one system. However this solution also includes a complete wired analysis module. 


Download this file (C1097 3x3 PCI Express Card.pdf)802.11a/b/g/n/ac ExpressCard Adapter[ ]297 kB

About PlexNet

PlexNet is a dynamic company providing technical services and solutions to the Australian ICT marketplace.

The company’s founders have over 36 years of combined technical and sales experience. This ensures PlexNet is more than able to meet the needs of its current and prospective clients.

Over the last 15 years we have worked closely with many vendors and technology solutions and this experience defines what PlexNet is today. The demands of the IT and data communications industry across the Australian and global marketplace are constantly changing and we are fully cognisant of these changes and welcome the challenges they present

With major global partners such as NETSCOUT and Spirent Communications, and well supported by a number of other partners, PlexNet has an unparalleled solution and skill set.

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