The manufacturers of wireless routers know that most users don’t know how to set up WiFi at home. To make things a bit easier, they have created convenient setup applications and management consoles that neatly hide all the technical complexity behind a pretty user interface and plain language.
But there are some WiFi settings that are so important and so easy to understand that it makes sense to make an effort to understand them.
To set up WiFi correctly, you need to understand what other WiFi networks are present in your area. This information can be obtained using a WiFi analysis tool. Most importantly, you want to know which WiFi channels are occupied the most so you can select one where interference won’t be such an issue.
If you discover that all channels on the 2.4 GHz are occupied, you should consider switching to the 5 GHz band, which consists of 23 non-overlapping channels, instead of just 3. Many modern WiFi routers support both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum, so you may not even need to buy new hardware.
Finally, you should also figure out the best place for your WiFi router. Again, this is something a capable WiFi analysis application should be able to help you with. In the next section, we introduce popular WiFi analyzer applications, each offering a unique set of capabilities.
Unlike other similarly capable applications, NetSpot has been designed for regular home users even though it’s fully capable of satisfying the needs of networking professionals who demand utmost accuracy.
InSSIDer is a WiFi scanner for Windows and Mac OS X. It’s a replacement for popular Windows WiFi scanner NetStumbler, introducing several new features and an improved user interface.
Among the features of inSSIDer are the ability to gather information from wireless devices, the ability to perform a routine spot check to ensure optimal channel selection, and much more.
WiFi Analyzer is a very simply WiFi analyzer for Windows. Its main advantage is the fact that it can be downloaded directly from the Windows Store.
Compared to the previous two applications, WiFi Analyzer is much simpler, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing unless you want to do something very specific.