What about modern technology gets your goat as much as a poorly performing Wi-Fi network? For all the advancements technology has made in recent years, you’d think that setting up and managing a Wi-Fi network would be higher on the list of accomplishments.
It’s not. One of my favorite Mac apps is WiFi Explorer; once an inexpensive Mac utility which lets you track down nearby networks, check performance, list channels, and gather some basic information. What it doesn’t do is fix what’s wrong with local Wi-Fi networks, but it’s a start. Here’s a better option for troublesome networks.
Today’s WiFi Explorer is aimed for savvy home users, IT professionals, and anyone working with a small office or large office network. It comes in two versions; Standard and Professional. Obviously, the latter is more expensive and comes with more features. Many more features.
Fire this baby up and you get a list of nearby networks and specific information about each.
WiFi Explorer is a good way to view what networks are nearby, determine signal strength and channel from any location (good for identifying conflicts), and even provide a spectrum analysis of the Wi-Fi network signal from any location. Here’s what you get with the Pro version.
- Information Element Decoding
- Annotations and Custom Colors
- Hidden Networks Support
- Network Grouping
- Enhanced Filters
- Remote Sensor Support
- Spectrum Analysis Integration
- Multiple Themes
The standard license version provides Information Element Decoding, Annotations and Custom Colors, but the WiFi Explorer Pro version has all the above plus Active, Passive, and Directed Scan modes which help to track down weak signal areas.
Check out the geekiness.
The spectrum analysis feature is especially useful to identify what else could be interfering with a Wi-Fi network.
Spectrum analysis integration lets you visualize RF information and correlate it with Wi-Fi data to identify non-802.11 energy sources and better understand the effects of interference and channel utilization on your wireless network.
Of course, you’ll need a spectrum analyzer but WiFi Explorer Pro works with many.
WiFi Explorer Standard is available on the Mac App Store, while Pro is not, but both have a try-before-you-buy option. What I don’t see is an upgrade option from Standard to Pro.