How do I use the Active Scanning feature? [PRO]

Active scanning allows you to test your network’s Internet connection speeds. It will test upload rate, download rate and wireless transmit rate by sending queries to various servers and monitoring the time it takes to send and receive them. You have a choice of running your active scan via HTTP, TCP or UDP. This feature is only available to PRO and Enterprise users.

Some notes on active scanning:

  • We recommend that you only active scan one network at a time, because of the additional time required. The scanning time at each data point will increase.
  • Active scanning requires the ability for your Mac to connect to the Internet through that network. So you can only scan networks that your Mac has access to — either open ones or ones your Mac has a password stored for.
  • During the active scan, NetSpot will disconnect from any other network it is connected to, in order to connect to the network you have designated for active scanning. So any other applications you have running that are connected to the Internet may see a disruption at that time.
  • If you do not see the network you wish to scan in the list, close NetSpot, connect to that Wi-Fi network on your Mac, and then try again.

Active Scanning preferences

Active Scan via HTTP (using self-hosted PHP scripts)

  1. The default active scan method is HTTP, using PHP scripts stored on NetSpot’s servers. If you wish to use this method, no additional setup is needed and you can proceed to the “How to Perform an Active Scan” section below.
  2. If you would like to use HTTP, but with your own speed test PHP scripts, select NetSpot > Preferences from the top menu bar and the click the Active Scanning tab. Make sure “Conduct speed test via HTTP” is checked and enter the URLs for your download and upload scripts. Close the Preferences window to save your changes and proceed to “How to Perform an Active Scan” below.
  3. To reset the HTTP settings to default, click the Reset to Defaults button in the Preferences panel.

NetSpot WiFi scanner for macOS is available

Active Scan via TCP/UDP with iperf3

  1. If you would like to use TCP or UDP, the first step is to install Iperf on your server. (Learn more about Iperf.)
  2. Select NetSpot > Preferences from the top menu bar and the click the Active Scanning tab. Depending on your needs, check either or both boxes next to “Conduct speed test via TCP” and “Conduct speed test via UDP”.
  3. If you are using UDP, enter your preferred data transfer rate in the Mbps box. The default is 1 megabit per second.
  4. If you have selected both TCP and UDP, you can choose to check the box next to “always use TCP speed” if you wish to perform the UDP test at the exact same speed as the TCP test. This will override the number you specify in the Mbps box above.
  5. Enter your iperf3 server address.
  6. Enter your port (default is 5201) and test duration (default is 10 seconds).
  7. Click the Test Connection button to ensure that your server connection is working properly.
  8. Close the Preferences window to save your changes and proceed to “How to Perform an Active Scan” below.
  9. To reset the Iperf settings to default, click the Reset to Defaults button in the Preferences panel.

How to Perform an Active Scan

  1. Start a new project or add a new zone.
  2. Load your map and input the actual distance as requested.
  3. If the network you wish to active scan is hidden, add it on the Non-broadcasting Network screen. Otherwise, just click Continue.
  4. On the Active Scan screen, if you wish to active scan the network your Mac is currently connected to, select “Enable active scanning of the connected network.” If you wish to scan a different network, select “Enable active scanning of the selected network(s)“, then check the box next to the network(s) you wish to scan. (See notes above if you do not see the desired network in the list.)
  5. Perform you scan as usual. During the scan, you may get a message that says NetSpot wants to access confidential information stored in your keychain. This is because NetSpot needs the Wi-Fi password in order to connect to the network. Click “Allow” or “Always Allow” to continue the scan.
  6. netspot wifi active scan

    Active scan indicator

    As you take each measurement point, you will see the scanning indicator turn blue while the active part of the scan is taking place.

  7. Once your survey is complete, you will be able to analyze your results through the following visualizations:
updated: January 12, 2018 author: Alex
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