Since the advent of wireless technology, home-based wireless networks, and public hot spots have been sprawling across the globe incessantly. However, using a wireless network to its full potential can be tricky sometimes. To enjoy the best possible speed while avoiding interference from the neighboring networks, the most optimized and uninhibited channel should be utilized.
The Purpose of a Wi-Fi Analyzer
Wi-Fi analyzer is an app or software that surveys the surrounding networks to help you in finding the most optimized channel for your network. Besides assessing your wireless network and adjacent hotspots, a Wi-Fi analyzer also generates surveys, builds heatmaps, and offers troubleshooting help with any security and network-related issues.
The Types of Wi-Fi Analyzers
There are two main two types of Analyzers:
1. Wi-Fi Analyzing or Signal Strength Meter Apps
This is the most widely used form of a wireless network analyzer. A Wi-Fi signal strength meter app analyzes your wireless network and creates detailed heatmaps and surveys of your entire network. There is no shortage of Wi-Fi analyzers in the market, but the best WiFi analyzer that speaks for itself is known as NetSpot. This analyzer offers a range of Wi-Fi analyzing services and support packages that are geared towards both the novice and the advanced user. This app comes loaded with a plethora of options to analyze and enhance your wireless network. Not only does this app provide an extensive heatmap of your entire network, but it also creates charts and usage graphs with its proprietary visual tools.
2. Spectrum Analyzers
Spectrum Analyzers mostly come into play when the physical layer of a mission-critical network might need to be analyzed. Demanding services like VoIP, streaming videos, conference calls, and security-based infrastructures require a seamless network with no bottlenecks. Spectrum analyzers typically utilize an RF spectrum monitor device for testing the integrity of the physical layer.
How to read the Wi-Fi analyzer app
Interpreting your Wi-Fi analyzer’s results correctly is a crucial step in optimizing your wireless network. Most network analyzers or heat mapping software use a color-coding scheme to portray the various levels of Wi-Fi signal strengths. In the case of a WiFi site survey provided by NetSpot, the dark red color indicates the peak of a signal strength whereas blue is an indicator of weak signals.
The following tips will guide you on how to read the analyzer app and which thresholds to pay attention to:
- The signal level of the Access Points: Typically, an accepted RSSI (Received Signal Strength Intensity) is -75 dBm, but always check your heatmap to verify the expected RSSI of your specific area. A good RSSI is at -65dBm. If the analyzer brings up any areas with RSSI below these points, then consider distributing and re-arranging your APs.
- The number of Access Points: This parameter shows the total number of APs available in each zone that fall under the acceptable RSSI range. At least two available APs should be located within the area of concern to achieve a great Wi-Fi signal.
- Access Point coverage: Any underutilized APs and their signal areas will be shown under this option. Re-arranging the APs to achieve maximum return on signal strength is easy once the underutilized APs are recognized.
- Channel coverage: Reading your Wi-Fi analyzer to understand channel coverage is important when trying to keep interferences at bay. The closer a channel is to another channel, the more interference should be expected in the output. Conversely, if a higher channel width is utilized in networks, the rate of separation required between the channels will also be greater. As an example, a network with a 20Mhz channel width will require at least five channels to operate without any interference.
- The signal-to-interference ratio: APs must be placed with sufficient separation between channels to avoid communication overlap, interference, and signal degradation. Most Wi-Fi analyzer results will show the areas with the highest and lowest levels of AP interferences by color-coding or utilizing graphs.
Another point to consider when reading the app is to compare and read multiple heat maps of your network to better understand the before and after picture. This also gives you insight into how certain conditions change consistently due to external factors.
How a Wi-Fi analyzer can help you improve your Wi-Fi
A Wi-Fi analyzer is a handy tool when your wireless network needs a boost. Here are some ways a Wi-Fi analyzer helps in improving your signals:
- Mapping the Signal Strength: Most Wi-Fi analyzers help with mapping the signal strength around your house or office. You simply download a Wi-Fi analyzer app like NetSpot and walk around the entire floorplan of your network. As you walk around, the app starts picking on the areas where the signal is weakest and where it peaks. Once the problem areas are identified, you can easily shift the wireless channels to achieve the most optimum signal.
- Providing a Visual Map and suggestions: Many analyzers specifically NetSpot provide a visual map of all the non-responsive zones and help in placements of the hotspots. It gives suggestions along the way and makes it easy to adjust your channels and use them in the most efficient way possible.
- Offering Wireless Network Planning: Along with being a survey and analyzing tool, NetSpot also provides excellent Wi-Fi planning resources. You can view each channel separately inside your heatmap or locate an empty channel for new Wi-Fi networks. NetSpot also comes with an option to select channels that have the least amount of signal-to-noise ratio.
- Help with Triaging Wireless Networks: These days network analyzers also act as personal troubleshooters for your wireless networks. Problem areas ranging from interference issues, configuration problems, noise levels to even preventing unauthorized network access can be easily resolved with Wi-Fi analyzers like NetSpot.
The main job of a Wi-Fi analyzer is to provide an accurate assessment of your network and the surrounding areas. In today’s world of massive data consumption, a flaky network is not tolerated. By investing in an efficient wireless network analyzer tool like NetSpot, you can easily avoid any signal issues and bottlenecks.