What Does High-Performing WiFi Look Like?
Many people who learn how to use a WiFi analyzer are interested in setting up a high-performing WiFi network, but how does such a network look like? Here are a few important characteristics of a high-performing WiFi network:
- Flawless coverage: A high-performing network should cover the intended area without leaving any signal weak spots where common online activities, such as streaming movies, browsing the web, or video chatting, are impossible to perform. A wireless analyzer can be used to create a coverage heatmap that clearly highlights all areas of signal weakness, making it easy to adjust the placement of the router, the position of its antennas, or the arrangement of interference-emitting appliances.
- Sufficient capacity: Sometimes referred to as bandwidth, capacity determines how many people can use the WiFi network at the same time without experiencing a significant degradation in performance. Modern routers that support the latest WiFi standards have far greater capacity than old 802.11g routers, whose capacity is limited to about 22 Mbit/s. In high-usage scenarios, it’s often necessary to deploy multiple access points to provide sufficient capacity, which is where mesh networks come in, making it possible to cover a very large area with a single WiFi network broadcasted by a large number of access points.
- Great speeds: Ideally, you want your WiFi network to deliver the same download and upload speeds as a wired Ethernet connection. If you’re paying for a 100 Mbit/s internet connection, you should be able to reach the maximum speed from any part of your apartment, house, or office. Modern routers use technologies such as MU-MIMO (multi-user multiple-input multiple-output) and beamforming to enhance signal strength and ensure a speedy wireless connection to the internet.
- Uninterrupted connectivity: High-performing WiFi networks should also offer an excellent user experience, and uninterrupted connectivity is an essential part of it. When going from room to room, the last thing you want is for your WiFi connection to drop for a few seconds because you left the range of one WiFi network and entered within the range of another one. Mesh networks solve this problem by wirelessly connecting together multiple routers (called nodes), arranging them in a mesh topology. Modern mesh WiFi systems are so easy to set up that even complete beginners can get them up and running in just a few minutes.
- State-of-the-art security: No WiFi network will maintain its performance unless it’s secured with a strong password and robust encryption. Unsecured networks are a very common target of hackers, who don’t hesitate to take advantage of any opportunity to steal sensitive information and use it for their own personal gain. A WiFi signal analyzer can tell you if your WiFi network is using the latest security standard (WPA3), and you can also use it to determine how secure are other networks in your location.
Common WiFi Performance Issues
Even though the performance of the average WiFi network has improved significantly during the last decade, there are still many WiFi performance issues that plague users every single day:
- Slow connection: There are many factors that can cause WiFi to be slow, including limited bandwidth, poor coverage, insufficient speed provided by the ISP, or signal interference caused by nearby appliances and Bluetooth devices. To fix issues with a slow WiFi connection, you should first determine whether you’re receiving a sufficiently strong signal from your router. You can easily do that with the help of a wireless network analyzer app. The best WiFi analyzer apps can even create a signal heatmap, clearly visualizing where the signal is sufficiently strong, and where it leaves something to be desired.
- No internet connection: Whenever your WiFi connection stops working, you should first check if your WiFi router is operating as it should. If you see an LED indicator light flashing, telling you that the router itself can’t connect to the internet, then your ISP might be to blame. But if the router is working fine and your ISP isn’t experiencing an outage, then you need to fix the problem yourself. First, restart the router and wait a few minutes to see if this solves the problem. If it doesn’t, establish a wired connection and see if you can connect to the internet that way. If you can, log in to the admin interface and check your WiFi settings.
- Unreliable performance: Does your WiFi connection often go from flawless to aggravating? Then you should know that you’re not the only one who’s experiencing issues with unreliable WiFi performance. Such issues are common because they are caused by a number of different factors, including co-channel interference, network overload, and spotty coverage. Many of these issues can be fixed by purchasing a new router, one that supports 2.4 and 5 GHz bands and technologies like MU-MIMO and beamforming. Other issues that can cause unreliable performance require careful troubleshooting using a wireless network analyzer.
- Signal weak spots: Ideally, you want to see full WiFi signal strength bars on your laptop and mobile devices regardless of if you’re standing right next to your router or in the room that’s farthest away from it. Modern mesh WiFi systems make this possible, but you need to know how to use a WiFi analyzer to determine the optimum location of each node.
- WiFi speeds lagging behind wired internet: If you can achieve the maximum download and upload speeds advertised by your internet service provider when connected to your router using an Ethernet cable but struggle to achieve the same speeds when connected over WiFi, you most likely need to either improve your WiFi coverage or purchase a more capable router that supports the latest wireless networking standards, such as Wi-Fi 6.
- Insufficient bandwidth for multiple users: Not all WiFi networks can support multiple simultaneous users streaming online content, playing video games, or downloading large files from the web at the same time. For starters, you need a sufficiently capable router with enough processing power to serve multiple clients at the same time. The router should support Quality of Service to ensure that one person downloading a movie won’t make it impossible for everyone else to browse the web and send email messages. Technologies like MU-MIMO and beamforming can further enhance everyone’s experience.
What Is WiFi Analysis?
Any modern home isn’t modern without a wireless router. But with at least one wireless router in nearly every home, the WiFi radio spectrum can get cluttered pretty easily.
Most wireless routers use the 2.4 GHz radio band to transmit data. This radio band is divided into multiple channels, which are like the lines on the highway. In North America, the 2.4 GHz radio band is divided into exactly 11 channels, with channels 1, 6, and 11 being the only channels that don’t overlap with other channels.
In theory, 11 channels should be more than enough even for densely populated urban areas, but, in reality, people seldom change the default configuration of their wireless router, which results in a situation where too many wireless routers transmit data on the same channel.
WiFi analysis performed using a wireless network analyzer can reveal which WiFi channels are used the least and provide plenty other information necessary for comprehensive WiFi optimization. WiFi analysis isn’t hard to do, provided you use a good WiFi analyzer app, and its benefits are plentiful.
How to Perform WiFi Analysis Using a WiFi Analyzer App?
WiFi analysis may sound very technical and daunting, but it’s anything but that — as long as you use a simple yet capable WiFi analyzer app like NetSpot. In addition to NetSpot, you’ll also need a laptop with a WiFi card so you can detect nearby WiFi networks.
With NetSpot, you can choose between two distinct WiFi analysis methods. The first method, called Discover Mode, is all about quick and easy WiFi network discovery, instantly listing all WiFi networks available in your area, along with all important information about them, including network name, band and channel, security settings, WiFi standard, signal strength, and noise level.
The second WiFi analysis mode is called Survey Mode, and it allows you to perform a WiFi site survey and create a WiFi heatmap so you can see exactly where your WiFi signal is strong and where it could use some improvement.
By combining these two WiFi analysis methods, you can get a very accurate idea about the performance of your WiFi network and understand exactly what you need to do to improve it. For example, it takes just one click to see which WiFi channels nearby WiFi networks broadcast on, which makes it straightforward to solve channel interference issues.
NetSpot — это больше, чем просто приложение для анализа WiFi. Используя это приложение, вы можете провести опрос вашего дома или офиса, чтобы понять, какие точки получают слабое соединение WiFi. Это инструмент профессионального уровня, разработанный для удовлетворения потребностей большого офиса или вашего дома. Он имеет бесплатную версию, которая позволяет только сканировать окружающие сети и показывает силу каждой сети. Для проведения обследования вашего дома или офисного помещения вам необходимо составить про планы. Планы Pro позволяют вам загрузить проект вашего здания, а затем сопоставить соединение WiFi с областями, предварительно определенными вами.
Он использует цветовое кодирование, чтобы показать, какие области получают уровень сигнала. Например, синие и фиолетовые области показывают более низкий уровень силы соединения WiFi. Как упоминалось ранее, это программное обеспечение не предназначено для использования в личных целях, если только у вас нет большого дома, которому требуется картографирование WiFi. Эта модель лучше всего подходит для предприятий, которым необходимо расширить возможности подключения к WiFi во всем офисе.
Установка: Windows, macOS (бесплатно, $ 49, $ 149, $ 499)
What Does a WiFi Analyzer Do?
The purpose of a WiFi analyzer is to gather as much information as possible about available wireless networks to help professionals and home users alike troubleshoot WiFi-related problems, ensure optimal router placement, and more.
In the past, WiFi analyzers were used predominantly by large organizations and enterprises that needed to cover a large area with a strong WiFi signal. These days, WiFi networks are everywhere, and our expectations of them have never been greater.
Without knowing how to use a WiFi analyzer, it’s very difficult for home users, small businesses, and schools to provide reliable coverage and the best data transfer speeds possible. The good news is that WiFi analyzers have become readily available at a variety of price points, and they can be roughly divided into two categories:
- Hardware WiFi signal analyzers: Aimed at professional network administrators and security experts, hardware WiFi signal analyzers are physical devices used for troubleshooting and performance testing. They often have an external directional antenna that lets them discover and analyze remote networks. Some hardware wireless analyzers are self-contained and don’t need to be connected to a computer to function as intended. In virtually all cases, the cost of hardware wireless analyzers starts at hundreds of dollars and goes up to thousands.
- WiFi Analyzer apps: For home users and small businesses, it doesn’t make financial sense to spend money on an expensive hardware wireless analyzer because they can simply download one of the best WiFi analyzer apps and perform WiFi analysis using a laptop, smartphone, or tablet. WiFi analyzer apps are affordable, easy to use, and the information they provide are accurate enough to satisfy the needs of most users.
Of course, not all hardware WiFi signal analyzers and WiFi analyzer apps are created equal, which is why it’s important to know what the best WiFi analyzers are and avoid those that don’t perform well.
The Top 8 Best WiFi Analyzer Apps
Here are seven WiFi analyzer apps that can help you tune your network for peak performance.
— is the professional app for wireless site surveys, WiFi analysis, and troubleshooting on macOS and Windows.
— includes diagnostic tools and an Internet speed test.
— is the web-based tool that designed to be used by enterprise network administrators.
— is a free WiFi analyzer for Windows.
— both Mac and Windows users will benefit from the advanced features of this tool.
— is an extremely capable network protocol analyzer used to analyze what’s happening on wireless networks.
— is one of the best open source WiFi analyzer apps.
— is a straightforward analyzer app that targets mainly home users who are interested in learning more information about the wireless activity in their area.