BEST SOFTWARE REVIEWS
BEST WI-FI ANALYZERS
Want to boost wireless signal? There are several simple, inexpensive devices that can help you achieve this goal. You could use one of these high-gain Wi-Fi antennas, for example, or you can build your own antenna using a can of Pringles potato chips. Alternatively, you could buy a signal repeater, which is guaranteed to increase Wi-Fi range. But before doing that, you should evaluate wireless signal strength. Don't worry, it is easy to do it, and most of the applications which are highlighted in this article won't cost you any money. Here are the best ones.
If you want to use a desktop application, WiFi Analyzer is a good option, and the generous developer allows its users to install it on up to 10 computers. Download the program from Microsoft's store, install it, and then run it; your PC will become a powerful wireless signal analyzer.
The free version of the program is ad-free and does everything you will probably need. Use the program to identify all the Wi-Fi networks around you, evaluate signal strength, discover the best channel for your router and find out detailed hardware information (router manufacturer, network security, etc.) for all the connected clients. If you use the in-app purchase option to upgrade to the pro version, you will be able to filter the discovered networks using various criteria, connect to new networks without having to quit the application, and more.
People who prefer to use a complex tool should download Wireshark, an advanced open source network protocol analyzer which is used by many companies, educational institutions and even governments to evaluate and test their wireless networks.
The program runs on Windows, Linux, macOS, etc. and allows its users to inspect hundreds of protocols, capture data packets, export data to the XMP file format, plain text, etc. Please note that this application isn't a simple, straightforward wireless network analyzer; nevertheless, you can easily measure signal strength and bandwidth by tracing the network, and then reading the values in the IO Graphs. Make sure to read the user guide for additional information.
Truth be told, desktop-based Wi-Fi analyzers may not work that well for everyone. Yes, you can use them to evaluate signal strength near your computer, but mobile wireless analyzers are far better, because they allow you to move around, discover the dead signal zones in your home, etc.
If you own an Android phone, Wifi Analyzer is definitely the most user-friendly app out there. Install the application, run it and you will be greeted by its simple, easy to understand user interface, which shows all the wireless networks in your area, displaying their names, channels and signal strengths. You can pick the desired network, and then track Wi-Fi signal strength variations as you move around. The program will also display the SSIDs, the names of the wireless networks that can be detected by your mobile phone.
People who use iOS devices should install Network Analyzer Pro, which has a clean interface and an impressive set of features. It is a paid app, but you are getting a lot of software for only four dollars.
The program incorporates a fast Wi-Fi device discovery module, ping, traceroute, a port scanner, WHOIS service, DNS lookup, Internet upload/download speed tester and Wi-Fi/cell connection information.
Don't forget that only the #1, #6 and #11 channels in the 2.4 GHz band don't interfere with the others. Since many routers use the #6 channel by default and most people don't take the time to change it, you may be able to get a significant Wi-Fi signal boost by simply switching your network's channel to #1 or #11.