My Ekahau license expired during a survey

…and it took 9 days to restore it.

Two weeks ago I was doing a survey with the iPad, when my Ekahau license was suddenly suspended. I was logged out of the Survey for iPad app and lost access to all my cloud files. After 9 days the license was restored, and all has been well since. Here is my experience and lessons learned.

The facts

I was in another city for a two-day validation with Survey for iPad. The first day, my cloud project file did not open correctly, so I wrote a support request. Support ruled out technical issues and pointed to licensing compliance.

The next day around noon I was busy on-site again, when Survey for iPad logged me off with the display message “License subscription is expired, please renew it”. Our Connect license expires in a couple of years, so this was very strange. Again I wrote to Support, didn’t get a reply the next couple of hours, and went back to Milano leaving the survey unfinished.

Support did not reply back in the next 24 hours, nor 48, not even 72. After 3 days I got tired and called our reseller, who reached to the distributor, who contacted Ekahau. It confirmed there was a licensing issue, which would be reviewed. A full week elapsed. After 9 days and several calls with the reseller, I wrote again to Support: at last! It replied immediately that there had been an issue with multiple activations, but the license was now in good standing, with apologies for the inconvenience.

Happy end

I regained access to our Connect account, all my survey projects in the cloud were fine, data on the iPad was not lost, had to register Ekahau Pro anew, and everything was fine.

Possible cause

Ekahau support did not bestow any detail on me, but on hindsight I think used a couple of workflows in good faith that could have triggered multiple license access alarms:

  • using Connect to move project files between devices, keeping Pro on the laptop and Survey on the iPad on my desk at the same time;
  • while on-site, opening the same cloud project with Pro to set an accurate scale, and on iPad to do the actual survey.

This is just a guess on my side as Ekahau has not provided details.

Lessons learned

Never use Connect to host cloud projects.

We are a university IT department with a handful of network engineers. We don’t have a multiuser scenario for Connect. I’m the one using it mostly, and always alone.

Ekahau Cloud seemed a handy way of moving files between laptop and iPad, but it exposed me to unpredictable behaviors that disrupted my work. I’m now using plain esx files and Sidekick storage, which works fine.

Support does not always support

In soviet Russia, support problems you.

[Russian reversal]

In my professional life I’ve opened countless support cases with vendors (Extreme Networks, Palo Alto…). I have developed deep respect for the technical prowess and professional handling of the pros on the other side of a case.

In this specific case, Support was… ambiguous.

It triggered some internal action that led to the suspending of the license, but it failed then to communicate back its motives, business goals, customer remediation path. It simply went blank. Not proactive. For 9 days.

Had it asked for some extra license fee or other arrangements, that at least would have been a starting point. I wonder what kind of message the company was trying to convey.

Eggs and baskets

From the technical point of view, Survey for iPad + Pro are great tools that enable the convenient consolidation of planning and validation data in a single repository. A single file can store predictive design, field surveys, AP pictures and notes.

Keeping all this information in a format that for unpredictable reasons I could not access in the future is unwise. I have to develop backup plans, such as periodic data exports, external floorplan repositories with annotations and photos.

Looking for alternatives

If you don’t care for an iPad/iPhone, a tablet form-factor laptop such as Surface or Yoga is an interesting option: a touch interface, lightweigth, the superior features of Pro without the cost of Connect.

Other products on the market have feature overlap with the Ekahau family. Tamosoft, iBwave, Netally all have its strength and weaknesses and cater to the enterprise/professional services market.


I’m still working through the backlog of planning and survey stuff after this days of forced inactivity. Let’s hope the next writings will be about some interesting wifi experience.

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