Wireless Wi-Fi networks have become widespread for home use and in offices, public institutions, and organizations. And indeed, it is very convenient just by setting up a router to connect to your home or office access point various devices: laptops, smartphones, tablets, and even “smart things.” Thus, several users get access to the Internet at once. But the seemingly effortless use of these wireless technologies entails some negative aspects, such as unstable and low-quality connections.
To solve these problems, you need to use a Wi-Fi analyzer or WiFi sniffing tools. It will help you determine the parameters of all of the nearby access points and intelligently configure or even plan a wireless network. Check more information at appslikethese.
Free Wi-Fi Analyzers
The easiest solution that will suit even inexperienced home users is free or shareware Wi-Fi analyzers, designed as programs for laptops or smartphone applications. The most famous programs are inSSIDer, Acrylic Wi-Fi Free, WifiInfoView, and others. Such programs can be run from a computer running Windows 7/8/10 or Linux.
But it’s most convenient to use a smartphone app because, with a smartphone, it’s much easier to walk around the surrounding area to test the wireless network. There are a lot of free applications for both Android and iOS, and you can find the reviews of experts and users on the well-known forums. InSSIDer, Wi-Fi Analyzer, Wi-Fi Manager, and many other similar applications, which can be downloaded entirely free of charge, should be highlighted again.
So, what you can find out with this software:
- SSID (name of the available network);
- channel number;
- channel power;
- password protection of the network;
- some other parameters, such as frequency band settings (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz).
All free wireless network analyzers usually show this data. The app will scan your wireless network, finding out which neighboring access points already occupy channels, and you can make all the necessary settings yourself for a quality Internet connection.
As we can see, the functionality of such free software is relatively poor. But, on the other hand, it will be enough for a home user or a small office with a couple of routers and several Wi-Fi access points. These programs have everything you need to analyze your wireless network and make the simplest of adjustments.
Paid Wi-Fi Analyzers
Support and maintenance of wireless networks in a large organization is an entirely different matter. Here you will find a large number of access points and devices connected to them. Free mobile applications for Wi-Fi network analysis are not enough. Professional hardware and software solutions are required.
So, let’s take a closer look at what advantages this handheld device has over free Wi-Fi analyzers. Then, let’s test the performance of Fluke Networks Wi-Fi AirCheck in real-life situations that may arise in an office work environment.
For example, Fluke Networks Wi-Fi AirCheck can help a system administrator identify certain security vulnerabilities in a company’s wireless network. For instance, it can detect networks with insecure access points or clients that connect directly to each other and unauthorized devices that violate company security policies.
The parameters for analyzing Wi-Fi networks in this appliance are much more extensive than the free mobile app. However, they are more detailed, and there is also an option to save a detailed report to a laptop for further study by system administrators.
Of the relatively inexpensive software solutions, we can note the Fluke Networks AirCheck Wi-Fi Tester for Windows.
This software product has the following options:
- analysis of Wi-Fi network coverage, channels, access points, clients;
- evaluation of client device performance (including with applications);
- designing a wireless network coverage map, calculating bandwidth, and the ability to download your room plan;
- search for unauthorized devices;
- сonfiguring your test parameters;
- report generation.
With the help of this software, you can thoroughly analyze the company’s Wi-Fi network, reveal real reasons for connection failures, high network load, vulnerabilities in the protection system, and many other parameters.
In conclusion, despite the significant number of free and paid Wi-Fi analyzers, it is necessary to clearly understand the purposes for choosing a software product or device for testing which networks.
For the average home user, it will be enough to download a free mobile application to your smartphone to analyze your wireless network and eliminate the problem of “unstable Internet connection.” After studying several popular free analyzers, we concluded that with the help of such programs and applications, you could evaluate only the simplest parameters of the network (checking access points, signal strength, channel configuration, etc.).
If you need to service a corporate network of a large company, then analyzing such a narrow range of parameters is no longer enough. It is desirable to have a map of Wi-Fi network coverage with its overlay on the floor plan and software functionality to analyze interference, security vulnerabilities, and the option of monitoring unauthorized devices.
The reporting function for further serious analysis of company Wi-Fi network problems is one of the essential advantages of paid solutions.