NetSpot for Android – User Manual

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Welcome to the first truly mobile NetSpot — an Android one!

NetSpot for Android allows discovering WiFi networks around you to examine and compare their parameters. You can also perform a wireless survey of your WiFi network for in-depth analysis and troubleshooting using your phone or tablet.

NetSpot for Android

Internet speed test

Ready to test your Internet speed? NetSpot for Android is a great tool to be aware of your Internet speed values and to observe any changes in them.

Internet speed

When you open NetSpot you’ll see the Welcome screen with three main options: Discover, Survey, Internet Speed Test. Tap the latter to begin.

NetSpot for Android

If you have recently performed this test, the previous value of your Internet speed for the network you analyzed will be displayed as well as the information on the time of the test and the server used. It will also show you the ping value from last time. To run a fresh test, click the red Run Speed Test button and wait for it to be completed.

Internet Speed Test

Upon the test completion you’ll see the following details:

  1. Download speed (Mbps) – indicates how fast your device downloads data from the Internet. If you have been noticing your Internet connection to be insufficient for your activities, you can trace the connection with the resulting Download speed measurement.
  2. Ping (milliseconds – ms) – the stretch of time it takes a data packet sent from your computer to reach a remote recipient. It is an important parameter for such activities as online games or video calls. The ping and subsequently the latency value depend on the distance between your computer and the reference server.
  3. The location of a remote server that was used in this test.
  4. Date and time the measurements take place.

How is my Internet speed?

Depending on what results you get after the Internet speed test is complete, NetSpot will give you some tips on what these values might mean for the quality of your Internet usage. If the Internet speed turns out to be low, that means it can only be suitable for basic activities like browsing. Your Internet speed might be fine and allow you more than just browsing, but still not quite there yet to offer browsing, downloading, streaming, and online gaming without any major slowdowns like a good Internet speed would. If you have a fast Internet speed then you are good to do any activity online without any hiccups at all.

Data refresh frequency

The data about available networks is collected by NetSpot and refreshed every 10 seconds (up to 30 seconds when WiFi throttling is enabled). Here is the data collected by NetSpot for each network it polls on Android (access this info in Discover Mode by clicking the Access this info in Discover Mode icon):

  • Network Name (e.g. TP-LINK_BCFF)
  • MAC Address (e.g. F0:79:69:EA:98:27)
  • Band (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz)
  • Signal (e.g. -61 dBm)
  • Channel (1-144)
  • Security protocol

! NetSpot works in both vertical and horizontal screen orientations.

The following features are available when wireless scanning is active:

  • Stop the wireless scanning process, click Stop in the top-right corner. Click Play to continue scanning.
  • Filter displayed networks, click the “Filter” button in the top-right corner. You can filter WiFi networks by name, signal level, security protocol, and band.
  • Reset filters, just click the Reset button in the top-right corner. To close the dialog with filters applied, please click the Close (✖️) button.

Find available networks and compare them

There are two tabs in Discover Mode in NetSpot for Android: Networks and Comparison.

Discover

Networks

In this mode, you can see the list of all detected Wi-Fi networks. For every network the following data is shown:

  • Network Name (e.g. TP-LINK_BCFF)
  • MAC Address (e.g. F0:79:69:EA:98:27)
  • Band (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz)
  • Signal (e.g. -61 dBm)
  • Channel (1-144)
  • Security protocol

You’ll see the color indication of WiFi signal strength in front of the name of every detected network. This data is renewed every 10 seconds (up to 30 seconds when WiFi throttling is enabled).

Discover

Color index:

Red – weak signal
Orange – poor signal
Yellow – average signal
Light-green – good signal
Green – strong signal

At the bottom of the screen you’ll see which network you are currently connected to and its signal strength.

Attention!

#1 – In your list, you’ll see currently active networks or those that are no longer actively detected:

ACTIVE, if NetSpot regularly collects the data about the network (signal strength);
LOST, if NetSpot couldn’t collect any data about the network since the last scan. These networks display additional information as the “last seen X min ago” notification.

Comparison

This mode allows you to filter and compare networks according to certain parameters: frequency band, signal level, security protocol. You’ll also see such information as which channels a network broadcasts on and whether there is a channel overlap. To switch to Comparison mode, tap the corresponding tab or just swipe left.

How to add a network to comparison graph

  • — In comparison, mode select the network you want to compare from the list by checking their boxes.
  • — The color of the checkbox is the color of the network you’ll see in the graph.

The data on the graph will be refreshed in 10 seconds (up to 30 seconds when WiFi throttling is enabled).

Types of graphs

Signal Strength (Timeline)

With this graph, you can compare various wireless networks according to their WiFi signal strength.

Signal Strength (Timeline)

Channel overlap 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz

This graph will show the channels 2.4 GHz / 5GHz WiFi networks broadcast on. You’ll be able to clearly see a channel overlap when there is one.

Channel overlap

Note that on the Channel overlap graph for both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz frequencies the corresponding WiFi networks will be shown that operate this frequency band. If you have selected several networks that operate on different bands, they will be shown in different graphs.

The difference between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz graphs

The difference would be in the frequency bands used by a WiFi network. WiFi networks on different bands don’t overlap.
The 5 GHz frequency band offers more channels than the 2.4 GHz one.

Swipe left to see the next graph, and swipe right to go back to previous.

Filters

Discover Mode offers various filters for WiFi networks.

Filters

Filter by signal strength

To filter the detected networks by their signal strength, tap the circle icon at the top-right area of the app and choose the levels (they are conveniently colored for easier selection) you would like to see on the list. You can choose several signal strength levels at a time.

Filter by signal strength

By default, the networks of all signal levels are listed. If you disable one of the signal level filters, it will turn grey. Tap it again to see the networks of this signal strength again.

Filter by signal strength

Filter by security protocol

To filter WiFi networks by their security protocols, choose one or several parameters from the list:

  • ? None
  • ? WPS
  • ? WEP
  • ? WPA
  • ? WPA2
  • ? WPA3
Filter by security protocol

Filter by frequency band

To filter WiFi networks by frequency band, choose one or both bands from the list:

  • ? 2.4 GHz
  • ? 5 GHz
Filter by frequency band

Filter by name

In the search box at the top of the app (Filter networks), enter the name or a fragment of a network name to be able to see the networks containing this exact value in their names. Then tap the Search button on your device keyboard to see the filtered results.

Tip 1. You can enter several name fragments at once – separate them with space.

Tip 2. You can combine various filters together.

Comparison graphs can be minimized as well as maximized by tapping or swiping up/down.

Filter by name

Performing a Wireless Network Survey with NetSpot for Android

NetSpot helps you build solid WiFi coverage throughout your designated area with the help of a wireless network survey. It is easy to perform and provides you with great visual tools needed to tune your wireless setup to perfection.

Step 1. Create a new project by tapping the + button.

Create a new project

Step 2. Load a file with the map of your surveyed area from your photo library or take a photo of a hand-drawn one.

Load a file

Step 3. Name your project and add notes in the description area.

Name your project

Step 4. Calibrate your map (you’ll need to know the distance between two points for the most accurate measurements).

Calibrate your map

Step 5. Size your space (small, medium, large, x-large) to help NetSpot determine how often the measurements will need to be taken.

Size your space

Step 6. Start taking measurements. Once you tap “Scan” you might need to wait for a little bit (it might take from 10 seconds to a couple of minutes). Please don’t move until you see the blue circle icon to ensure accuracy.

Note: A minimum of 3 (three) measurements in three different points is needed, however, the more measurements you take the more precise picture you get.

Start taking measurement

Step 7. Proceed with taking measurements covering the map densely as you go. Take the measurements in each square of the map for a more precise result.

Note that if you don’t need to survey the whole map at this time, you can only cover a certain zone.

Step 8. Whenever you feel ready to analyze the collected data, tap the blue “Done” button that will appear next to “Scan” after the first three measurements were taken. You can now export the project to open it in NetSpot for Windows or Mac and generate extensive interactive visualizations.

Analyze the collected data

Step 9. Choose how you will export (share) the project and then download it on the computer with NetSpot Home, PRO, or Enterprise.

Tip: NetSpot Home, PRO, or Enterprise can be purchased here if you don’t have a license yet.

Choose how you will export

Step 10. Open the NetSpot app on your desktop or laptop, switch to Survey mode, then click the “Open a saved project” button to load and work with your survey project built on an Android device.

FAQ:

Q: What devices does NetSpot support?
Any mobile device with Android 8.0 or later is supported.

Q: What area does NetSpot cover?
The covered area size usually depends on the device you are using. NetSpot can cover an area from 2 square meters (approximately 22 square feet) to 1000 square meters (around 10 thousand square feet).

Q: What’s the difference between this version and the desktop one?
NetSpot for Android allows scanning and analyzing surrounding WiFi networks to see if there are any issues and find the possible fixes for them. It also features the Survey Mode, where you can take all necessary measurements of your WiFi signal in order to then generate comprehensive heatmaps for visual analysis in the desktop version of NetSpot.

NetSpot for desktop offers an extended array of features. The following options are not available in the Android version yet:

  • — Exporting survey results into CSV;
  • — Visual heatmaps can’t be built in the Android app just yet. The survey data needs to be exported into NetSpot PRO or Enterprise on desktop, where the heatmaps for your Android project will be generated.

Q: Why does NetSpot need my location?
To comply with current Google policies, the apps working with WiFi data have to request permissions to read the user’s/device’s location. You can read more about it here.

Q: Is my information safe?
We highly respect your privacy and never save your data or send it to any third parties.

Q: Does NetSpot for Android support Chrome OS?
Yes, Chromebook support has been added in the 1.1 version of NetSpot for Android. However, for the time being, the security type of a network (WPS, WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA3) will not be shown on Chromebook.

Q: Will you ever release NetSpot for iPhone and iPad?
The great news is we already have NetSpot for iOS for you! However, it is still in its beginning stages and is not quite as powerful as its desktop sibling. At the moment, NetSpot for iOS only features Discover Mode that allows finding WiFi networks around you and analyzing/comparing their data.

The app currently requires the WiPry 2500x device to be able to discover and gather information about surrounding wireless networks.

NetSpot for iOS can also test Internet download speed. This feature doesn’t require WiPry 2500x. We continue working on updates and improvements. Stay tuned!

updated: July 29, 2021 author: Alex
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