What’s a Wifi Analyzer?
When it comes to wifi, signal fluctuation is incredibly common. The reason is that your wifi signal is constantly changing due to external conditions. Some days you’ll be able to browse without disconnecting, and others you’ll be in a battle just to stay online.
This is made even more difficult if you don’t have the tools to diagnose the problem. This is where a wifi analyzer can be useful. In a nutshell, a wifi analyzer app breaks down information from access points on your network and places it into a single screen.
A wifi analyzer generates a visual display of the network data of your surrounding channels. The app turns your computer or mobile device into an analytics program that allows you to identify what you need to do to optimize your network.
For example, with a wifi analyzer app like Microsoft Wifi Analyzer, you can look at other channels on your network and identify if they are faster than your current channel. Some providers will even allow you to draw up heat maps of signal distribution in your house or office to help you find the best location for your router.
- 1 What’s a Wifi Analyzer?
- 2 Why You Need a Wifi Analyzer
- 3 Wifi Heatmap
- 4 Here’s a List of The Best Wifi Analyzers for Windows
- 5 Here’s a List of The Best WiFi Analyzers for Mac
- 6 Here’s a List of The Best WiFi Analyzers for Linux
- 7 Here’s a List of The Best Wifi Analyzers for Android
- 8 Wifi Analyzers for iOS
- 9 Glossary
- 10 Get a Better Connection with a Wifi Analyzer
Why You Need a Wifi Analyzer
The main reason why you need a wifi analyzer is to maintain your connection quality. Wifi signals are in a constant state of fluctuation. Your wifi connection can be performing well until something in the network changes and starts to impede its performance.
Troubleshooting a problem requires data collection and analysis. Without the source information on the normal operations of your network and the current behavior of the troubled system, your solution will be mere guesswork.
When your wifi starts to slow down or disconnect, a wifi analyzer will help you to identify the problem. By diagnosing the problem and addressing it, you ensure your connection stays up and running with minimal interference. A wifi analyzer enables you to run diagnostics on what is happening with your connection and provides you with the information needed to optimize your network.
For example. if your signal distribution around the house is poor, you’ll be able to use an analyzer to find this information out. That being said, wifi analyzers can be used for much more than troubleshooting your signal distribution. You can use a wifi analyzer to locate and use a less congested channel.
Sharing the same channel with nearby devices results in low connection speeds, interference, and disconnection. It’s not uncommon for channels to be shared amongst your neighbors (particularly if you live in an apartment). This is one of the most common reasons for poor connectivity and can be rectified via the use of a quality wifi analyzer.
Using a wifi analyzer can help improve your user experience, speed up browsing, and eliminate the hassle of trying to guess what factors are impeding your connection quality while troubleshooting. After all, it’s almost impossible to optimize your network if you lack the tools to be able to be able to see what’s going on.
Many advanced wifi analyzers will have an inbuilt heatmap function. As mentioned above a wifi heatmap will produce a visual display of the signal strength in your house. You’ll be able to see where your signal is strongest and choose the best location for your router.
One of the best heatmap tools on the market is SolarWinds Wi-Fi Heat Map.
Solar Winds allows the user to create custom wireless heat maps and displays ‘dead zones’ where connectivity is poor. The tool works by reading the signal strength of nearby access points and indicating the quality of your connection based on signal location.
What makes this tool so effective is that the wifi heat map can produce a physical image of an entire network site. This allows you to easily identify where your site is causing problems for your connection, and what needs to be done to address it. In short, a heat map makes it easier to improve your coverage and signal strength.
Here’s a List of The Best Wifi Analyzers for Windows
- SolarWinds WiFi Monitor (FREE TRIAL)
- Paessler PRTG (FREE TRIAL)
- Acrylic WiFi
- WiFi Analyzer
SolarWind’s Wifi Monitor is one of the most complete offerings on the market. Upon launching the app, you’re greeted by the Orion web console, which allows you to identify and monitor local wireless access points. Once you’ve identified your surrounding networks, you’ll then be able to access their data and view their signal strength.
Similarly, the apps Network Performance Monitor can also be used to categorize all your wireless devices. As mentioned above, you can build wireless heat maps to produce a visual image of where your connection is strongest in your office or home. The map is based on information acquired from wireless access points, connected clients and their signal strengths.
More advanced users are adequately supported by the programs extensive report generation features. You can generate a report based on details from IP addresses, SSID channels, client data, SSID and Received Signal Strength Indication. Whether you’re dealing with a handful of devices or an office full, the reports function is incredibly versatile.
MORE INFORMATION ON THE OFFICIAL SOLARWINDS SITE:
Paessler PRTG will discover all of the network devices on your network including wifi routers. The discovery phase of the network monitor’s operations creates a network map. This shows which other devices on the network are connected to your routers.
PRTG uses three methods to monitor wifi routers. SNMP, which is the Simple Network Management Protocol, informs the central collector of a monitored router’s statuses. This information includes the throughput capacity and health of the router. The NetFlow messaging protocol is the second monitoring medium used by PRTG. This standard broadcasts network traffic metrics, which are picked up by the PRTG collector. The third monitoring system for wifi routers is the PRTG packet sniffer. This examines the headers of packets crossing your network. The tool only captures the headers of those packets, so your data privacy is preserved. The packet sniffer reports on traffic volumes by application, port number, and protocol.
The interface of PRTG interprets all of the data collected on your wifi networks, creating graphs of real-time data and also charts of historical data. Any problems arising in the router that could cause an interruption of service get reported to the monitor as soon as they arise. These alerts highlight overloading or equipment failure. You can set warning points so that the system will notify you if traffic approaches critical conditions. You can even create custom alerts that combine several different conditions.
Paessler PRTG installs on Windows or you can also opt to get the system as a cloud service. Paessler charges for PRTG according to the number of sensors that you activate. PRTG is free if you only want to monitor up to 100 sensors. PRTG comes with a 30-day free trial.
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