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A Wi-Fi analyzer is a software tool you can use to gather information about your wireless internet network, as well as surrounding networks. The Wi-Fi analyzer not only analyzes the connection but also optimizes it for the best performance.
You can use a Wi-Fi analyzer app on your smartphone or tablet, or download the software to your computer or laptop.
Here’s how it works: The analyzer scans available wireless networks, including your own as well as external networks. It also scans different channels on each network. During this process, the Wi-Fi analyzer is collecting information: which connections are strongest, where the weak spots are and which channels are least frequently used. Some Wi-Fi analyzers may also reroute your network connection to the fastest, best performing one.
When you need a Wi-Fi analyzer
Because Wi-Fi analyzers boost your connection, they’re helpful when you want to increase wireless connection speeds. Nearly a third of American households have had slow internet at some point, and a Wi-Fi analyzer is an easy way to remedy the problem.
Wi-Fi analyzers are particularly helpful in large buildings, especially workplaces or apartment complexes that use a single wireless network. Because there are so many users and so many channels, a Wi-Fi analyzer can ensure consistent performance for all users.
Best Wi-Fi analyzer software
Now that you’re sold on using a Wi-Fi analyzer to monitor and improve your connection, let’s look at the different tools available. Below, 13 of the best Wi-Fi analyzers:
- Open Signal
- Paessler PRTG
- SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
- Wi-Fi Analyzer
- Wi-Fi Channel Scanner
- Wi-Fi Commander
- Wi-Fi Explorer
InSSIDer by Metageek
Platform: Windows, Mac, Android
Rating: 4.5/5 PCMag
InSSIDer is a great Wi-Fi network analyzer for people who aren’t super comfortable with their technical skills. The interface is user-friendly and shows bandwidth usage broken down by channel, how many users are on each channel, and network issues.
Platform: Windows, Mac, Android
Rating: 2.5/5, CNET
NetCut, available from Arcai.com, is a Wi-Fi signal analyzer ideal for business use. With it, you can detect network security, map IP addresses to see who is on your network and control who can access and what speeds they get. NetCut’s standout features are centered around issue detection and diagnosis.
Platform: Windows, Mac
Rating: 4.5/5, CNET
NetSpot has a suite of wireless internet surveys and troubleshooting tools, including a free Wi-Fi analyzer — making it ideal for novices and experts alike. Heatmaps identify dead spots and show opportunities to optimize access points. It also analyzes WLAN interference to find the best channels. Reports allow you to see network performance and insights over time.
Platform: Android, iOS
Rating: 4.25/5, Google Play Store; 3/5, Apple App Store
OpenSignal is a Wi-Fi analyzer app for smartphones. With it, you can track your mobile network performance, getting stats on real download and upload speeds, time spent on 2G vs. 3G vs. 4G and network responsiveness. See results in a list or on a coverage map view and find Wi-Fi hotspots or mobile phone towers near you.
Paessler PRTG Network Analyzer
Platform: Windows, hosted options also available
Rating: 4/5, PCMag
The PRTG Network Analyzer is a powerful Wi-Fi analyzer with features well-suited for business use. It analyzes all aspects of your network to provide data-driven, visual reports and show which servers are overloaded. It helps users mitigate bottlenecks and provides advanced troubleshooting support.
ScanFi : Wi-Fi Analyzer and Surveyor
Rating: 4/5, Google Play Store
Available for Android smartphones, ScanFi is a Wi-Fi analyzer app that scans your wireless network to identify where connections are available. Find local networks, see their signal strength, view channel ratings and create maps for your home network access.
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor
Platform: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Rating: 4/5, PCMag
For a seriously robust Wi-Fi analyzer ideal for business use, check out Network Performance Monitor. Like NetSpot, it has valuable heat-mapping features that illustrate where the best connections are. Monitor LAN networks and cloud servers, detect and resolve Wi-Fi issues and break down network performance by device, platform or app.
Vistumbler is an open source Wi-Fi analyzer, making it a viable option for those with some technical skills. Features include GPS support and live Google Earth tracking, the ability to import and export access points and shows signal strength for each.
Windows’s own Wi-Fi Analyzer works on computers and mobile devices to help you identify the best channel to use as an access point for your device and router. A beeper indicates signal strength, and it will also connect to networks that have stronger connections. This tool is best for home users.
Wi-Fi Channel Scanner
Wi-Fi Channel Scanner scans hotspots near you and provides information about network name (SSID), channel, signal quality, authentication algorithm, cipher algorithm and MAC address. It makes it easy to find out how strong your current network connection is and if there are any available with a stronger connection.
Wi-Fi Commander works similarly to Wi-Fi Channel Scanner, searching your surrounding area for networks and analyzing the quality of their connection. Unique to Wi-Fi Commander, you can also view a 3D analysis of channel distributions, as well as create network groups, switch between networks and see all Wi-Fi-enabled devices.
Rating: 4.2/5, MacUpdate
Mac users may consider Wi-Fi Explorer. In addition to scanning for networks and determining connection quality, it also helps you troubleshoot network and connection issues. View detailed reports about your network performance.
Platform: open source
Rating: 4.7/5, G2 Crowd
For a comprehensive and advanced set of tools, check out Wireshark. The full network protocol analyzer is open source, so you can customize it to unique needs, making it suitable for business use. In addition to Wi-Fi network analysis, it offers robust reporting and troubleshooting features.
Moving forward with your Wi-Fi network
A Wi-Fi analyzer is just one way to enhance your network performance. Read these next for more tips on speeding up for your internet:
- Here’s what you need to know about a Wi-Fi extender and why you might need it
- Beginner’s guide to making your home Wi-Fi ready
- How to speed up your internet to get the most out of your Wi-Fi
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