Your very own canary for the wireless coal mine: Cape’s new Wi-Fi monitor

Your very own canary for the wireless coal mine: Cape’s new Wi-Fi monitor

Announced today, the Cape Sensor is a simple device that can be installed anywhere in a company’s campus, and behaves just like any other Wi-Fi client being used in that area – the idea being that any wireless issues experienced by actual clients should be seen by the Cape Sensor operating in the same place.

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The sensor is designed to be as easy as possible to install – it can use either Ethernet or an onboard 3G modem to connect back to the main network, has a simple adhesive-based mounting, and doesn’t require complicated setup, downloading settings from the cloud automatically when activated.

Data from the Cape Sensor goes to the company’s Dashboard software, which is designed to be an easy-to-use, transparent way to collect and manage operational data about a user’s Wi-Fi network.

“Most network tools are intimidating, aimed only at experts, and don’t actually measure performance from the perspective of end-users,” said co-founder and CEO David Wilson in a statement. “If users experience any kind of problem – with DHCP, DNS, captive portals or applications – they think ‘the WiFi sucks.’”

The dashboard is cloud-hosted, so no local installation is required, and the dashboard itself is designed to be streamlined and user-friendly, presenting data in digestible, intuitive ways.

Cape, as mentioned, was founded as Asimmetric in South Africa in 2013, by Wilson, Fouad Zreik, Ross Douglas, and Michael Champanis, who bring telecom, VC, startup and developer experience to the table. The company, which has backing from Root Ventures and Crunchfund, among others, is now based in San Francisco.

The dashboard service starts at $199 a month, which includes three sensors, with extra sensors costing $49 a month each. An enterprise option, which costs $699 per month, includes 15 sensors, the ability to monitor additional SSIDs on each sensor, and extra admin accounts. Extra sensors on that plan cost $39 per month. There’s also a one-time setup fee, ranging from $599 to $2,999 for the packages, and $300 for each additional sensor used. Cape is taking orders on its website as of right now, with sensors shipping in January 2017.

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