A WiFi heatmap is a map of wireless signal coverage and strength. Typically, a WiFi heatmap shows a real map of a room, floor, or even a city overlaid by a graphical representation of a wireless signal.
Professional network administrators and regular home users alike use WiFi heatmaps to find dead zones and make adjustments to achieve the desired coverage. Without a heatmap, wireless network optimization involves a lot of guesswork, which is why most people who are not aware of the existence of WiFi heatmap software never manage to achieve the WiFi coverage they would like to have.
WiFi heatmap software fully automates the process of mapping WiFi coverage on a map, allowing anyone to create a WiFi heatmap in a matter of minutes just by walking from one place to the next until the entire area is mapped.
Great WiFi heatmap software tools are actually not that easy to find. To help you out, we have selected 5 best heatmap tools currently available so you can get most from your WiFi network as soon as possible.
Available for macOS and Windows, NetSpot is the only heatmap software tool designed to satisfy the needs of professional and home users alike. NetSpot runs on any laptop or computer with macOS 10.10+ or Windows 7/8/10.
To create a WiFi heatmap using NetSpot, all you need to do is enter the Survey Mode and follow the simple instructions. NetSpot will ask you to upload a map of the area you would like to survey, but you can also create one using the built-in mapping tool.
Then just walk from one place to the next to collect wireless site survey data and wait for NetSpot to automatically build a WiFi heatmap for you. The heatmap will tell you exactly where your wireless signal is the strongest and where it could be improved.
Besides its wireless heatmap capabilities, NetSpot is also a great WiFi analyzer. Switch to the Discover Mode and let NetSpot collect detailed information about nearby wireless networks, including those that do not broadcast their SSID, showing you what kind of security settings the networks use, which channel they broadcast on, and how strong their signal is, among other things.
Despite having so many useful features, NetSpot never lets its users wonder which button they should click on to accomplish what they want to do. Because of its ease of use, professional features, attractive price, and stellar customer support, NetSpot has established itself as a leading heatmapper and WiFi analyzer, earning the top spot on this list.
Ekahau HeatMapper is no-frills WiFi heatmap software with support for 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi networks and a simple user interface. This heatmapping tool can automatically discover all nearby access points and detect their security settings to help you better understand how you should optimize your own wireless network for maximum performance.
Ekahau HeatMapper can be downloaded for free, and it works on any Windows laptop or desktop computer with a WiFi adapter and at least 1 GHz processor and 1 GB of memory. Compared to NetSpot, Ekahau HeatMapper has a lot fewer features even though the two heatmappers are equally easy to use.
With Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps you can turn your personal computer or laptop into an advanced wireless network analysis tool to get a detailed overview of the wireless landscape around you. Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps can analyze both the 2.4 and 5 GHz RF spectrum and generate detailed heatmaps and reports in a variety of common file formats.
The heatmaps generated by this WiFi heatmap software tool can be based both on online maps as well as on user-imported maps. Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps makes it possible to edit the generated maps, which is something that professionals across many different industries can appreciate. You can try Acrylic Wi-Fi Heatmaps for free by downloading the trial version for the official website of the software.
Intended for large-scale and local WiFi surveys alike, VisiWave Site Survey provides three effective methods for capturing data. You can either capture data one point at a time, continuously walk through the survey area, or use GPS positioning for outdoor surveys. Several customizable templates can be used to easily create custom WiFi signal strength and coverage reports, and the gathered data can also be viewed in Google Earth.
VisiWave Site Survey supports most wireless adapters, and it doesn’t require any special hardware components to function. VisiWave has been maintaining and upgrading this comprehensive software product for over 13 years, so you can count on their support even in the future.
AirMagnet Survey PRO can automatically create easy-to-read heatmaps for signal/noise, WLAN throughput, PHY data rates, retry rates, and packet losses. This heatmapper supports all WiFi network standards and surprises with its large number of supported features. Unfortunately, AirMagnet Survey PRO has a slightly outdated user interface, which can be unintuitive at times.
If you frequently need to create WiFi heatmaps, you will most likely get over the clunky user interface relatively soon. But if you’ve never created a WiFi heatmap before and don’t know if you will ever need to create one again, a more user-friendly WiFi heatmapper, such as NetSpot, is a better choice for you.