Wireless Access

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n_
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VisualRF Woes

Hi,

 

My company uses VisualRF Plan (stand-alone, although we also use the full AirWave/VisualRF suite on our server) for wifi planning. I've used it for the past couple of months. All of these are found to occur in the latest version of Firefox, as well as in the latest version of IE:

 

  • Regions will randomly reposition themselves. If I add a planning region overtop of a "location probability" region, and then go ahead provisioning APs and moving them around in this region, occasionally (once every hour or so) the software will decide to place my location probability region overtop of my planning region, making it impossible to edit, remove, or rearrange my planning region to be underneath the (larger) location probability region. This bug likes to happen when I hit "reprovision APs" to delete all my old ones and change some configurations. Thus, I cannot delete the planning region or select "reprovision APs" without removing my entire building region. If I do delete the building region, this has occasionally resulted in a stream of bugs whereby all copies of the region above the one I am currently on are removed as well.
  • When this (or any) region is removed, the walls I have placed around it stay behind! And since there is no way to remove these walls besides one at a time (not even shift-clicking), I am forced to waste endless time right-clicking on individual walls to delete them.
  • Once I delete the location probability region that has migrated on top of the planning region, I cannot draw a new location probability region overtop of the planning region, or I will encounter the same problem as before whereby I cannot right-click on the planning region to reprovision APs or edit region settings. I must delete ALL my regions and draw them again in order.
  • When re-scaling a building using the ruler tool, no regions/walls/anything scale with it. My whole layout is instantly broken if I happen to realize I got the wrong size when I first set up the floor, and must be manually deleted and re-added.
  • Mousewheel scrolling only works in the standalone version. Not in the server-driven one.
  • The only property that is changable in the "Edit region" right-click menu is the region name. No, I cannot change a "Location Probability" region to a "Planning" region. No, I cannot change the general properties of the planning location in this menu ("Concrete"? "Cubicles"? "Glass?").
  • There is no way to move a region. If a region placed by "copy this region to floors above" is placed just a foot or two off from where it should be, I cannot relocate it. I must draw a new one.
  • There is no way to copy a region to floors below. Only above. There is absolutely no meaningful reason for this. If I happened to draw a region on the second floor originally, I cannot copy it to the floor below it.
  • When copying a region to floors above, there is no way to copy walls generated by it along with the region. If I want my region to be surrounded by walls, then this makes the entire "copy region to floors above" feature pointless.
  • When I click "add origin" to add an origin to my building, it resets my zoom to all-the-way-out. If I happen to want to place an origin in one particular place on the building, then I have to manually zoom-in again (if on the server-driven version, without the mousewheel) and find the right spot. If, then, I'd like to make a minor adjustment, clicking "set origin" zooms me out again, and the process must be repeated.
  • Sometimes regions will decide they like to resize themselves as I zoom in and out on the page. This is highly unusual considering there is no user-driven tool to let me do this myself. Since my scrolling steps are never perfectly aligned with where the region was in the first place, this breaks all my regions and placements on a floor and everything must be deleted and added again.
  • When I move an access point in the plan, the process for getting it to update the projected heatmap is save -> refresh icon -> see if it worked -> if it didn't, then hit the "refresh" text link above the refresh icon. Why are there two refresh buttons? Why do they both only work sometimes? Occasionally, neither will work and I'll have to close out to building-level and load the whole floor again to see an update.
  • Airwave VisualRF offers no means by which I may export my buildings. There is no way to (easily) save backups of a plan this way in case any of the above bugs occur, and worse yet, no way to restore them besides manual rebuilding unless I had previously designed everything in VisualRF Plan beforehand.

This is VisualRF version 7.6.0. The quality of the software I am using is not deserving of a first version number: 0.7.6.0 or 0.1.7.6.0 would be much more accurate. I do not feel as if I am using software that was professionally designed. These are not tiny inconveniences that mean complex work is a little more difficult to accomplish. They are major, game-breaking software bugs and huge holes where there should be basic features (like rearranging regions). It is pathetic.

 

We have hundreds of Aruba APs deployed. They are of reasonable quality, and the hardware is good. But I really can't call VisualRF anything short of abysmal.

Moderator

Re: VisualRF Woes

I'm sorry for the difficulties you've encountered with VisualRF.  We appreciate the feedback provided, and I've begun the process to follow up by setting up a meeting to review and discuss with Product Management, Development, and QA.  Prior to that meeting, would you be open to a web meeting to go over your particular usage of VisualRF so that I can drive the discussion based on your usage case?  I'd like to truly represent your voice and opinions.  If so, please privately message me with your contact details and I will reach out early next week to arrange a web meeting to go over each of the items.  I'd really like to see what I can do to help improve your user experience.


Rob Gin
Senior QA Engineer - Network Services
Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company
Contributor II

Re: VisualRF Woes

I have had similar experiences with this software.  It is difficult to work with and not very professionally designed.  Drawing and deleting walls, manipulating diagrams, adding and deleting APs, etc. just seems to be cumbersome.  I think this software should have much of the same features, functionality, and ease-of-use as that of, say, Visio.  Not that Visio is a dream, but it is certainly better at file and image manipulation than VRF.

 

I am running Version 7.6.0, build 370 and the primary issue(s) I am encountering is the ability to successfully import jpeg diagrams into VRF.  When working on a building, I can import maybe the first floor, or the first and second floor, but subsequent floors do not import.  Somtimes if I close VRF and reopen it, the floor plan will import.  Sometimes I have to reboot my PC to get it to work.  I was thinking that maybe it was an Adobe compatibility issue, so I came to Aitheads Social to research it.

 

I am anxiously awaiting the next version release, which I assume will coincide with the next release of Airwave.

 

Regards,

Regards,
DAK
Moderator

Re: VisualRF Woes

@cnidog

 

Is your experience with the VisualRF Planner the same as when using VisualRF on an AirWave server?  I haven't been able to reproduce the multi-floor plan import issue (I was able to upload 10 floor plans individually, and then 40 others using various import methods on both the VisualRF Planner and in VisualRF on an AirWave server), though I have seen the application get sluggish when the java process starts to hog memory.  That may be the reason the import stops working after a few floors uploads.  If you can keep an eye on the Windows Task Manager next time you try to upload, let me know how much the memory usage jumps.  On my system, it didn't go higher than 300 MB, but also didn't decrease when idle.  Also, there were some updates to the image upload tool for 7.7, but I hope that the next version after 7.7 will change your opinion of the tool.


Rob Gin
Senior QA Engineer - Network Services
Aruba Networks, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company
Contributor II

Re: VisualRF Woes

Thank you, Rob.  I will monitor the resource useage in Windows when using VRF.  I did notice that my disk drive tends to spin a lot while I am working with VRF and manipulating dwg files, but I don't actually see a lot of disk activity, as evidenced by the disk activity indicator on the front of my PC.  So I'm not really sure what's going on.  And my battery seems to drain more quickly when using VRF.  probably as a result of the spinning disk.  I have 8GB of memory in my laptop, so I didn't think memory utilization or file swapping would be an issue, but I could be wrong.

 

This is only a couple of the issues I have encountered.  I have also noticed that the mouse icon and mouse commands act differently from one time to another.  For instance, sometimes when I am using a doorway to manually scale a diagram, the mouse will be a crosshair.  The next time it may be a hand, which is harder to use for measuring.  Sometimes when I am adding walls, I can begin a new wall by overlapping the preious wall and clicking the left mouse button.  Other times that action will cause me to select the previous wall and cause me to drag the end of the wall, which is very frustrating.

 

I haven't tried using VRF within Airwave, but one of my colleagues has.  He doesn't seem to have all of the same issues as me, but he is also not terribly impressed with the tool.  We both think it is a valuable tool and hope that Aruba will continue to improve upon it.

 

I have been keeping an eye on Aruba's download site, awaiting the release of Airwave and VRF 7.7.  I assume those two product releases are synchronized and will include some upgrades to VRF.

 

Regards,

Regards,
DAK
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