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Optimize Your WiFi Using NetSpot WiFi Analyzer App

A capable WiFi analyzer app, such as NetSpot WiFi analyzer, can be your closest ally when it comes to optimizing your WiFi network for better performance and troubleshooting all kinds of WiFi related issues, and we explain everything you need to know about it in this article.
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  • Wlan WiFi analyzer
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NetSpot can help you analyze your WLAN interference to determine the best WiFi channels to be used by your access points. A professional report can easily be assembled that provides a complete analysis of your wireless network.

What Is a WiFi Analyzer?

If you could see wireless network activity with your eyes, you would most likely be surprised by how many wireless signals are in range. In densely populated areas, the demand for WiFi connectivity is so large that it’s causing major issues with signal interference, which can lead to slowdowns and connection drops.

To solve issues with signal interference, you need to somehow make wireless network activity visible, and that’s where WiFi analyzers come in. What is a WiFi analyzer? Good question!

WiFi analyzer apps, also called a WiFi channel analyzers, make up for our inability to see wireless signals by displaying all important information about them in a visually accessible manner. With a capable WiFi analyzer, free or paid, you can collect information about both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals and instantly transform the collected information into easy-to-understand graphs, charts, and heatmaps. It can be run on just about any WiFi-enabled laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and no special skills needed.

What Does a WiFi Analyzer Do?

A WiFi analyzer lets you see wireless activity in your area by examining the radio spectrum in which WiFi signals are broadcasted. Most modern routers use two frequency bands: the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band.

2.4GHz vs 5GHz

The 2.4 GHz band has been in use for much longer than the 5 GHz band, which is why this chunk of the radio spectrum tends to be crowded in most areas with a higher population density. It does, however, provide a larger coverage area than the 5 GHz band, whose main advantage is a higher data rate.

By analyzing the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, you can gather information about all currently broadcasting access points that are withing the range of the device on which you run your free WiFi analyzer, such as a Windows laptop or MacBook.

The best free WiFi analyzer apps can then help you make sense of the gathered information, allowing you to use it for a variety of different purposes, some of which we discuss later in this article. Some free WiFi analyzer Windows and Mac apps can even zero in on a specific network and visualize its coverage on a map by putting together information gathered from different parts of the covered area.

Introduction to WiFi Analyzers for Mac

There are many WiFi analyzers for Mac that users of Apple computers can choose from. Here are several characteristics that all best WiFi analyzer Mac apps have in common:

  • Intuitive user interface: Mac users are used to polished software apps that are intuitive and easy to use despite offering a lot of advanced features in addition to basic WiFi analysis capabilities.
Intuitive user interface
  • High accuracy: Even Wifi analyzer Mac free apps aren’t worth your time and hard drive space unless they deliver highly accurate results. Inaccurate apps should be avoided at all cost because they can easily mislead you make your WiFi issues even worse than they are.
High accuracy
  • Advanced features: Even macOS comes with a basic WiFi analyzer utility that can tell you essential information about nearby WiFi networks, but only the best WiFi analyzer Mac apps go several steps further by creating detailed signal heatmaps, visualizing WiFi channel, and more.
Advanced features

You can learn more about the best WiFi analyzer Mac apps including NetSpot later in this article.

Choosing a WiFi Analyzer for Windows

A simple online search can reveal dozens and dozens of paid and free WiFi analyzer Windows apps, so how do you know which are worth downloading? When choosing the best WiFi analyzer Windows apps, we recommend you:

  • Avoid apps that are no longer in development: Since the first release of the Windows operating system, there have been countless Windows WiFi analyzers whose developers have lost interested in them and move on to work on other projects instead. WiFi analyzers that are no longer in active development should be avoided because their compatibility with the latest WiFi standards is guaranteed to be limited.
Avoid apps that are no longer in development
  • Be willing to pay extra for quality: Free WiFi analyzer PC apps can be surprisingly capable, but they rare offer the same combination of polish and capabilities as their paid counterparts. If WiFi analysis is something you do on a regular basis, or if you don’t want to waste a lot of time to achieve great results, then we highly recommend you pay extra for one of the best premium WiFi analyzer Windows apps.
Be willing to pay extra for quality
  • Pay attention to user reviews: User reviews are your best source of unbiased information about Windows WiFi analyzers and their performance, usability, and other characteristics.
Pay attention to user reviews

One WiFi analyzer for Windows that runs great on any laptop with Windows 7/8/10 and works with any 802.11 network is NetSpot, which is just one reason why it appears on so many lists of best Windows WiFi apps.

Are WiFi Analyzers for Android Worth It?

Android smartphones and tablets have come a long way since the release of Android 1.0, the first commercial version of the mobile operating system, in 2008. Today, even budget devices boast fast WiFi connectivity and the ability to run complex apps, such as WiFi analyzer apps.

Because the Android operating system is based on Linux and designed to be open, software developers can take full advantage of its capabilities when creating everything from simple games to the best WiFi analyzer apps for Android.

WiFi Analyzers for Android

Indeed, some of the best WiFi analyzer Android apps, such as NetSpot, offer many of the same features and capabilities as their desktop counterparts, allowing you to see detailed information about nearly networks, detect WiFi channel overlap, and even gather data for the creation of signal heatmaps.

For regular home users, the best WiFi analyzer apps for Android can get the job done without leaving too much to be desired. Professionals probably shouldn’t give up their Mac and Windows analyzers just yet, but even they can gain a lot by installing an analyzer app on their Android device.

Are There Any Good WiFi Analyzers for iOS?

Yes, there are, but they seldom offer the same features and capabilities as Windows, Mac, and even Android WiFi analyzers.

That’s because iOS is an extremely restricted mobile operating system, and software developers are not allowed to access all of its components, which prevents them, for example, from gathering real-time information for the creation of WiFi heatmaps without third-party accessories.

NetSpot is arguably the best WiFi analyzer app for iOS because it’s designed to work with the WiPry 2500x spectrum analyzer, which makes it possible to observe and study various network parameters in real time, including signal strength and WiFi channel distribution.

WiFi Analyzers for iOS

NetSpot iOS WiFi analyzer is exceptionally easy to use, and it runs on the iPhone and iPad alike. A useful internet speed measuring feature is also included (no WiPry 2500x needed.) It allows you to quickly measure your download and upload speeds, as well as the latency of your internet connection.

However, you shouldn’t hesitate to explore other WiFi analyzers for iPad and iPhone since each offers a slightly different feature set.

Do I Need a WiFi Spectrum Analyzer?

A WiFi spectrum analyzer is a software application capable of revealing all activity in the WiFi spectrum (typically 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz).

Because the WiFi spectrum is just one part of the larger radio frequency (RF) spectrum, there are many potential sources of signal interference that can negatively affect it, including large kitchen appliances, cordless phones, wireless security cameras, baby monitors, and Bluetooth devices.

Using a WiFi spectrum analyzer, you can see the activity of RF-emitting devices on a graph that clearly shows how big of an impact they have.

WiFi Spectrum Analyzer

WiFi spectrum analysis can also tell you which WiFi channels are used the most, making it easy to pick the one that’s crowded the least.

In the past, performing WiFi spectrum analysis used to be complicated because it required specialized equipment, but those days are gone. Today, a free WiFi spectrum analyzer like NetSpot can easily meet the needs of both home users and professionals, so there’s nothing stopping you from giving WiFi analysis a try.

How Are WiFi Analyzer Apps Used?

To use a WiFi analyzer app, you don’t need to be an expert on wireless networks. Most WiFi analyzer apps are actually used by regular people who want to maintain connection quality and quickly identify problems that are preventing them from watching videos on the internet, playing online games, browsing the web, or even sending email messages.

all features of modern WiFi analyzer apps like NetSpot are accessible to beginners and pros alike

Of course, WiFi analyzer apps are also used by professionals whose job is to set up complex enterprise networks and seamlessly cover multiple floors with a strong WiFi signal. What’s important, however, is that all features of modern WiFi analyzer apps like NetSpot are accessible to beginners and pros alike.

Even if you’re happy with the performance of your WiFi network, you should consider using a WiFi analyzer app to see if there’s room for improvement. There could be small areas of signal weakness, also known as dead zones, that you’re not aware of because they cause problems only sporadically.

What Information Does a WiFi Analyzer App Show?

WiFi analyzer apps like NetSpot show a wealth of useful information to help you troubleshoot and improve your network's coverage, capacity, and performance. Here’s a small sample of what NetSpot can gather:

  • Service Set Identifier (SSID): In simple terms, an SSID is the name of a WiFi network as you see it when you choose from a list of available networks on your mobile device or computer.
  • Basic Service Set Identifier (BSSID): This unique identifier is used to distinguish between individual WiFi access points, and it typically corresponds to an access point’s MAC address.
  • Signal strength: Usually indicated in dBm (decibel milliwatts), signal strength is a logarithmic measure expressed in negative values, with -30 dBm being the maximum signal strength one can realistically hope to achieve.
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR): Useful for determining how much a WiFi signal stands out from unwanted signals, SNR is a measurement of signal strength relative to background noise.
  • Band: WiFi analyzer apps can tell you which WiFi frequency band is used by a wireless router.
  • Channel: It’s also important to know which WiFi channels in your area are used the most and which are relatively empty. With a WiFi channel analyzer, you can visualize channel usage and instantly see which channels should be avoided.
  • Security: Unsecured wireless networks present a huge security threat, but you can easily identify them with the right WiFi analyzer app.
  • Vendor: Unfortunately, not all WiFi vendors are known for keeping their products secure, which is why it’s useful to know who has manufactured the routers that are broadcasting WiFi signals in your area.
  • Noise: Indicates the amount of signal interference caused by non-WiFi devices, such as cordless phones, security cameras, baby monitors, microwaves, Bluetooth headphones, smart home gadgets, and so on.
  • PHY mode: Shows you which 802.11 protocols (a, b, g, n, or ac) are used by access points in the area. Access points using older 802.11 protocols are more likely to lack support for modern security standards and data transmission technologies.

Equipped with all this information, you can easily troubleshoot complex WiFi issues and ensure that you’re getting the best coverage and performance possible.

Here's How to Use NetSpot as a Wi-Fi Analyzer

Step 1

Upload a floorplan

Open NetSpot and upload a floorplan of the area you wish to analyze.

Wireless Network Analyzer
Step 2

Complete the site survey

Complete the site survey, using the directions in the NetSpot Knowledgebase. How do I start my Wi-Fi survey?

WLAN Complete Analyzer
Step 3

Analyze the heatmap

Analyze the resulting Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmap that is displayed. Look for areas of dark blue and purple. These are spots where coverage may be inadequate.

Analyze WiFi Signal Strength
Step 4

Adjust the heatmap

Adjust the Signal-to-Noise heatmap if desired, by changing the min and max signal variables on the sliders in the visualization config popup, as well as the AP detection proximity.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio WiFi Analyze
Step 5

View the heatmap

View the Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmap by specific network, if desired. Go to the control panel to the left of the heatmap and uncheck the boxes next to the names of the networks you do not want displayed.

Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmap
Step 6

Analyze your Wi-Fi network

Analyze your Wi-Fi network by specific channel, if desired. Click on Configure > Select Networks by Channel at the bottom of the control panel to select the desired channel.

Analyze WLAN interference with NetSpot to determine the best channels
Step 7

Export the heatmap

Export your Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmaps to PDF by clicking the Export button on the top of the NetSpot window.

Export the heatmap
Step 8

Continue to analyze

Continue to analyze your wireless network by selecting other reports from the drop-down menu in the lower toolbar of the NetSpot window. Other Wi-Fi analyzer reports include Signal Level, Signal-to-Interference Ratio, Noise Level, and Quantity of Access Points, Download and Upload rates , Wireless Transmit Rate and Troubleshooting . Export additional heatmaps as needed.

Wi-Fi Analyzer Reports

Once you have exported all of your WiFi heatmaps, it is easy to analyze your WLAN and identify the optimum configuration for your Wi-Fi access points. No other wireless analyzer makes it so quick and easy to completely map your network.

NetSpot

The Best WiFi Analyzer App

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  • 969 User reviews
  • 500K
  • Users

NetSpot is the best free WiFi analyzer app for Windows and macOS because it makes professional WiFi analysis accessible to anyone. With the desktop version of NetSpot, you can instantly collect all important information about nearby WiFi networks and create interactive heatmaps with detailed coverage information.

  • Discover mode

    Reflects the rate of data transfer from user to the Internet.
  • Survey mode

    Available on any MacBook with macOS and PC laptop on Windows.

Both the Windows and macOS version of NetSpot can be downloaded and used for free with certain limitations. Paid licenses are available as one-time purchases, so there’s no reason to worry about recurring subscription fees.

In certain situations, it can be handy to analyze WiFi networks using a mobile device, which is why NetSpot is also available as a free WiFi analyzer for Android and as well as an iOS WiFi analyzer that could be found in App Store.

NetSpot for iPhone and Android

Using NetSpot on your smartphone is just as easy as using it on a laptop — no special knowledge required.

More about the NetSpot WiFi analyzer Windows app.

NetSpot WiFi Analyzer for Android

NetSpot WiFi Analyzer for iOS

NetSpot Free WiFi Analyzer and Scanner will

  • Scan and analyze your wireless network
  • Help you to analyze AP info like frequency band, channel, security type, etc.
  • Analyze a WiFi network for signal level and noise
  • Visualize and analyze WLAN site
  • Scan, visualize, and analyze WiFi coverage
  • Act as a simple but powerful free WiFi analyzer app
SO, WE RECOMMEND
NetSpot
Free WiFi analyzer app runs on a MacBook (macOS 10.10+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10) with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless network adapter.
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  • Mac/Windows

Free WiFi Analyzer FAQ

How can I analyze my WiFi with NetSpot?

In order to analyze your WiFi with NetSpot start by uploading the floor plan to the app and perform a site survey. The heatmap that you get after the survey will help you visually analyze your wireless signal and see where the changes might be needed. Your heatmap can be exported into file for further usage.

How do I start my first survey?

  1. Open NetSpot and click “Start a New Survey.”
  2. Name your new project.
  3. Upload or draw a new map.
  4. Click on two points on the map and enter the actual distance between them in feet or meters.
  5. Walk to one corner of your area and click a point on the map that corresponds to where you are standing. Let the app take the measurements — wait for green circle to appear on map.
  6. Measure your whole space and once done — click the Stop Scan button.

How to Analyze a WiFi heatmap?

When analyzing the Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmap you need to look for areas of dark blue and purple. These are the possible areas with insufficient coverage.

How can I analyze my Wi-Fi network with NetSpot?

With NetSpot you can build a comprehensive heatmap of your WiFi area. The heatmap visually shows you the areas where coverage is inadequate. 12+ types of visualizations help you analyze your coverage by different parameters. You can analyze heatmap by specific network or WiFi channel.

What is the best free WiFi analyzer?

NetSpot stands out as the best free WiFi analyzer app for Windows, Mac, and mobile devices because it combines professional features with an easy-to-use user interface, making it suitable for regular home users and network administrators alike.

Is there a free WiFi app that works?

Yes, there are many free WiFi analyzer apps that can be used to analyze both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals, but not all of them are equally capable or easy to use. Some may even give inaccurate readings, which is why you should always use the best free WiFi analyzer app available for your operating system.

Which WiFi analyzer is the best?

With so many WiFi analyzer apps available, finding the best one is far from easy. One WiFi analyzer app that has received countless raving reviews from real users and professional reviewers alike is NetSpot, and you can download it free of charge for Windows, Mac, and even mobile devices.

What does a WiFi analyzer do?

A WiFi analyzer gathers information about wireless activity in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, allowing you to see all broadcasting access points in your area and analyze their configuration and status. This can be useful when troubleshooting various network problems or optimizing a network to achieve the best performance and coverage possible.

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Next in Wi-Fi Analysis

If you want to get more information about Wi-Fi, check out the following articles about Wi-Fi routers, the best apps for wireless networking, WiFi signal, etc.
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Wi-Fi Site Surveys, Analysis, Troubleshooting runs on a MacBook (macOS 10.10+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10) with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless network adapter.