Viewing all Ekahau APs/Antennas in 3D

We all know the struggle: You are looking at an Antenna Diagram and now you have to imagine what this antenna pattern will look like in the real world - in 3D. 


In this post I will show you, how you can view all APs and external antennas that are shipped with Ekahau in a 3D viewer!











When I look at a typical antenna diagram for an AP or external antenna, I can quite good imagine the main slope. 
But what about the side slopes? What if you tilt the antenna? etc...
Most of the time I open up Ekahau, get a demo project file and play around with the mounting/visualization height and the tilt angle. 
This helps me, but when explaining an antenna to a colleague, customer or installer, it isn't easy to transfer this abstract knowledge.

So my search for an easy and lightweight 3D antenna tool began!

The 3D Viewer

After some time I found the "Antenna Pattern Editor 2.0" by CTT. This was exactly what I was looking for. Easy to use, lightweight and after the Trial Period the "Viewing" Features are still accessible. Great!

The software can open different formats and ships with some example data files. After some research regarding these formats I found the text files in the NSMA WG16.99.050 format the easiest to work with.
Plus point: the standard is publicly available at NSMA website.  

Ekahau Antenna Data

Most of us know the Ekahau software, so I won't go into detail here, but did you know, that all the APs/antenna data is located in "C:\Program Files\Ekahau\Ekahau AI Pro\Conf\antennas.zip" ?!
If you unzip this file you get a few thousand JSON files which represent the antenna pattern for each band. 

If you search the internet a bit, there are a few other projects which make use of this data! 

Ok, now we have a 3D viewer and all antenna data in a structured format. Unfortunately the 3D viewer isn't capable of opening these JSON files. 
Let's solve that problem!

The converter script

The 3D viewer is capable of opening the NSMA text files, the formatting standard is publicly available and we have all the antenna data in a structured machine readable format. Great! Let' script something!
I have created a PowerShell script, which takes the JSON files and converts them to the NSMA text format.
You can find the script and documentation on my GitHub page!


This is real simple now! 
  • Get the Antenna Pattern Editor 2.0
  • Grab the antennas.zip from your Ekahau installation and extract it
  • Run my script to get the NSMA text files
  • Open the files in Antenna Pattern Editor
    • On the right side set "View" to "dB" and "Manual"
    • Move the "Manual" slider to get the center at around -40dB. This should match your common antenna pattern.  
  • Click the 3D Button and enjoy! :-)

Below is an example of my favorite warehouse antenna: the AccelTex ATS-OP-245-13 for 5GHz.



I only provide you with the script and the information how to make use of it. I won't share the converted text files, as I'm not quite sure to whom the intellectual property belongs and if this is in compliance to your Ekahau usage rights.