A WiFi checker is a useful software application whose purpose is to help you learn more information about nearby WiFi networks so that you can plan the deployment of a new network or optimize the performance of an existing one.
WiFi checkers can be subdivided into three different categories based on what they check. WiFi speed checkers measure the maximum download and upload speed of a WiFi network, and they are useful for troubleshooting performance issues.
WiFi signal checkers measure the strength of a WiFi signal and gather all relevant information, such as which WiFi channels are busiest. WiFi security checkers can be used to find poorly secured WiFi networks that might become targets of malicious hackers.
The best WiFi checkers combine the features of WiFi speed checkers, WiFi signal checkers, and WiFi security checkers, and they make it easy even for inexperienced users to diagnose and fix all kinds of WiFi-related issues.
When choosing a WiFi checker, there are several factors you should consider:
Now that you understand the purpose of WiFi checker apps, you’re probably excited to use one to detect nearby WiFi networks and improve the performance of your own network. Because the number of available WiFi checkers can be overwhelming, we’ve narrowed them down for you to just the top 5 best options.
NetSpot is the best WiFi checker app because it makes professional features simple to use on Windows, macOS, and Android.
The Android version of NetSpot is perfect for performing quick WiFi network assessments in both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Just like NetSpot for Windows and macOS, the Android version supports a broad range of WiFi standards, including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac.
Price: $0 for NetSpot FREE edition, $49 for NetSpot Home, $149 for NetSpot PRO, $499 for NetSpot Enterprise
Wireshark is a popular network protocol analyzer that lets you see exactly what’s happening on your WiFi network. It’s commonly used by network administrators and cybersecurity experts for penetration testing purposes, but you can also use it to learn useful information about your home WiFi network.
It has been more than 20 years since its initial release, and this open-source WiFi checker only keeps getting better with each and every update. You can use Wireshark on just about any operating system, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Solaris, and *BSD. You should know, however, that its target users are professionals, so don’t be surprised if you won’t be able to immediately figure out how it works.
If you’re a Mac user and are looking for a capable WiFi channel checker that’s not difficult to use, iStumbler is a great choice. Available for download on the Mac App Store, this application hides more features than its clean and intuitive user interface suggests.
To start with, it provides information not only about WiFi networks but also Bluetooth devices and Bonjour services. All important information is presented as an interactive table, which you can sort any way you want.
When combined with Oscium’s WiPry 5x WiFi Spectrum Analyzer, iStumbler can display real-time 2.4 and 5 GHz spectrum analyzer, making it easy to spot performance-degrading signal interference. A single iStumbler license costs $14.99, and it allows you to install this WiFi channel checker on all computers you own.
To troubleshoot common WiFi problems, you don’t need anything more than your smartphone and the right WiFi checker app. Along with the Android version of NetSpot, WiFi Analyzer by Abdelrahman M. Sid is one of the best WiFi checkers for Android, and you can use it for free.
WiFi Analyzer supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, and it can analyze hidden WiFi networks just as easily as those that are visible. If you don’t know much about WiFi networks, you’ll appreciate the Channel Optimizer feature, which can suggest the most suitable WiFi channel in your area based on the by data gathered WiFi Analyzer. All you need to do to improve the performance of your network is to configure your router to use the suggested channel.
Price: Free with ads
Kismet is one of the most versatile WiFi signal checker apps because it can analyze WiFi networks, Bluetooth interfaces, and even some SDR (software-defined radio) hardware like the RTLSDR. It’s been in development for many years now as an open-source project, and it runs on Linux, OSX, and Windows 10 under the WSL framework, despite the fact that Windows isn’t officially supported.
The only problem is that Kismet doesn’t have a graphical user interface, making it unsuitable for regular home users who just want to quickly optimize their WiFi for better performance and have no intention of learning a command-line WiFi checker.