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Best WiFi Channel Scanner Apps for Windows

Looking for the best WiFi channel scanner Windows app? After testing all popular tools out there, we picked up those you should know about, with NetSpot WiFi channel scanner leading the pack.
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The choice of WiFi channel scanner Windows apps is huge. Home users and businesses alike always demand fast and stable wireless connectivity, and software developers are happy to provide them with WiFi channel scanner apps capable of finding all wireless signal dead zones as well as detecting channel overlap.

Continue on reading to know more about what WiFi channel scanner is, what WiFi channel scanner Windows apps are the best and how you may find and change a WiFi channel to avoid interference.

Why Do I Need to Use a Wireless Channel Scanner?

We’ve come to depend on WiFi networks. It’s no longer just our personal electronic devices that connect to the Internet. Now, common household appliances and even our cars require an Internet connection to download updates from remote servers, upload diagnostic information, and make available all the features they come with.

As more people than ever connect to the Internet wirelessly, the density of WiFi networks increases and it becomes difficult to achieve decent download and upload speeds. This happens because the WiFi frequency range is inherently limited. The 2.4 GHz frequency range, which most routers operate on, is divided into several channels.

Each of these channels has a WiFi channel width of just 20 MHz, but the individual channels are spaced only 5 MHz apart. Consequently, adjacent channels overlap and interfere with each other. To avoid this interference, it’s recommended to leave three or four channels clear between used channels.

Most WiFi users are not aware of this recommendation, and even those who are sometimes don't adhere to it because they don’t have a reliable WiFi channel scanner that would allow them to see which WiFi channels are the busiest and which are used the least.

Check our other articles if you’re looking for best WiFi channel scanner for Android or the best WiFi channel scanner app for iOS.

What Can a WiFi Channel Analyzer Tell Me About Channel Overlap?

A WiFi channel analyzer can detect all wireless networks in your area

A WiFi channel analyzer can detect all wireless networks in your area and find out which channel each network runs on. Most WiFi channel analyzer Windows and macOS apps then display the discovered wireless networks on a graph, making it easy to see which networks overlap and which don’t.

If you’re interested in WiFi channel scanner apps for Windows because you would like to improve your network, you should pick a WiFi channel scanner app that supports all WiFi standards so you get as much information as possible, and you should also pick an app that’s easy to use so you don’t waste your time learning obscure commands just to see which wireless channel is likely to give you the best results.

You see, all wireless networks broadcast on a specific channel. The 2.4 GHz band, which is the most commonly used band by WiFi routers today, is divided into 11 channels, each being 20 MHz wide. However, only three channels are non-overlapping (1, 6 and 11), and these are the channels you should use whenever possible.

2.4 GHz

Why? Because non-overlapping WiFi channels are far less likely to suffer from co-channel interference, which occurs when two neighboring routers broadcast next to each other. In the real world, dozens of routers often broadcast in the same area, many using the same channel.

As a result, there are countless WiFi users who struggle to achieve the download and upload speeds promised by their internet service provider. The good news is that a WiFi channel analyzer for Windows can tell you which channels are used the most so you can avoid them by configuring your router to use a more suitable channel (more about that near the end of this article).

Careful WiFi channel planning with the help of a wireless channel scanner for Windows is also a great way to eliminate issues with signal weakness and connection drops. All these benefits make it well worth the small amount of effort it takes to check WiFi channels in Windows using the tools described in this article.

What Is the Best WiFi Channel Scanner?

If you’re interested in WiFi channel scanner apps for Windows because you would like to improve your network, you should pick a WiFi channel scanner app that supports all WiFi standards so you get as much information as possible, and you should also pick an app that’s easy to use so you don’t waste your time learning obscure commands just to see which wireless channel is likely to give you the best results.

We’ve selected our top seven WiFi channel scanners and ranked them based on their user-friendliness, features, and reliability, among other factors.

#1
NetSpot — is our favorite WiFi channel analyzer Windows app.
#2
WiFi Analyzer — is clearly aimed at home users who need only the most basic features.
#3
WiFi Commander — allows you to filter, sort, and group available networks.
#4
Acrylic Wi-Fi — is a free WiFi scanner that displays information of the security mechanisms and obtains generic WiFi passwords thanks to its plugin system.
#5
InSSIDer — is a trusted WiFi analysis app for Microsoft Windows.
#6
Vistumbler — is a scanner of WiFi channels written in AutoIT for Windows.
#7
Lizard Wi-Fi Scanner — this easy-to-use tool can scan 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax wireless networks.
choice #1
Available for MacBook (macOS 10.10+) or any laptop (Windows 7/8/10) with a standard 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless network adapter.
  • 4.8
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NetSpot is our favorite WiFi channel analyzer Windows app. NetSpot is both a fast SSID scanner as well as a comprehensive wireless survey tool. NetSpot offers users two distinct modes of operation: Discover mode, which is completely free, and Survey mode.

  • 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.

If you only want to detect channel overlap, the Discover mode is all you need as it can instantly detect all wireless networks in your area and find out which channel each network runs on. NetSpot can then display the entire 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency range and visualize the usage of individual WiFi channels. The Survey mode is great for finding the best place for your router as it allows you to create a detailed signal strength heatmap of your home.

NetSpot

NetSpot automatically highlights WiFi signal dead zones, so you can clearly see how the placement of your router affects the distribution of the signal.


choice #2
Available for Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile.
  • Not Enough Ratings

Available from Microsoft Store, WiFi Analyzer is a handy utility for performing quick wireless network assessments. WiFi Analyzer is clearly aimed at home users who need only the most basic features. The free version of the app is supported by ads, and it can display information about your wireless network as well as all other wireless networks in your area.

Wifi Analyzer

You can also support the developer by purchasing the Pro version of the via in-app purchases. The Pro version features live-tile support, a beeper for signal strength, filters, lock screen rotation, and the ability to change signal strength borders.


choice #3
Available for Windows 10.
  • Not Enough Ratings

Take command of your wireless network with WiFi Commander, a WiFi channel scanner app for the Windows 10 operating system. WiFi Commander features a unique touch-friendly 3D analysis of channel distributions as well as a unique real-time signal level monitor.

WiFi Commander

WiFi Commander allows you to filter, sort, and group available networks, which is essential if you live in a densely populated area. The app is only 4 to 5 MB large, and it doesn’t come with any ads at all. So far, WiFi Commander has received stellar reviews, and the developers are working hard on updates and improvements.


choice #4
Available for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, 8.1 or 10 with Microsoft.Net 4.5 Installed.
  • Not Enough Ratings

Acrylic Wi-Fi Home is a free WiFi scanner that displays information of the security mechanisms and obtains generic WiFi passwords thanks to its plugin system. Acrylic Wi-Fi Home supports 802.11/a/b/g/n/ac networks, and it can scan WiFi network channels in the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency range. Depending on your needs, you may choose between Acrylic WiFi Home and Acrylic WiFi Pro.

Acrylic Wi-Fi

Acrylic WiFi Home is available for free, but its functionality is limited to wireless network scanning. Acrylic WiFi Pro comes with an unlimited network inventory and Wireshark integration, making it perfect for professional network administrators.


choice #5
Available for Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7.
  • Not Enough Ratings

InSSIDer is a trusted WiFi analysis app for Microsoft Windows. It features a unique spectrograph view that clearly highlights all cases of channel overlap, helping you avoid congested channels. InSSIDer is aimed at professional network administrators who need to manage hundreds of access points on a daily basis, which means that home users may find some of its feature slightly daunting.

InSSIDer

However, the modern user interface and excellent online help go a long way in making inSSIDer accessible even to less experienced users.


choice #6
Available for Windows 10, but should still work on 8, 7, and vista.
  • Not Enough Ratings

Vistumbler is certainly not the most visually attractive WiFi channel scanners Windows 10 has to offer, but it’s surprisingly cable. You can use it to map and visualize the access points in your local area based on gathered WiFi and GPS data.

Vistumbler

Just know that capturing GPS data is possible only with a COM-based NMEA receiver, which you probably don’t have lying around your house. To show up as a COM port, the receiver needs to be serial based, so keep that in mind when shopping online.


choice #7
Available for Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012R2, Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019.
  • Not Enough Ratings

Lizard Wi-Fi Scanner makes it easy to scan for WiFi channels and obtain all kinds of useful information about nearby WiFi networks, including their network names (SSIDs), signal strength (RSSI) and quality, MAC address (BSSID), maximum and achievable data rate, security settings, and much more.

Lizard Wi-Fi Scanner

The tool is suitable for home users and corporate network administrators alike, and you can download a fully-featured 10-day trial from its official website.

How to change a WiFi channel on Windows

Once you’ve completed a scan for WiFi channels to figure out which channel is used the least, it’s time to configure your router to use it. Don’t worry: most routers make this easy, and the general steps that you need to take are almost always pretty much the same.

Step 1

Log in to your router’s admin interface

Your router has an admin interface that you can access by entering a specific IP address in your web browser’s address bar. The correct address for your router should be printed on a sticker that you can typically find on the bottom side. If it’s not there, then you can try the following addresses:

192.168.0.1

You may be asked to enter the admin username and password. In most cases, the combination admin/admin will work. Again, the correct admin username and password should be printed on an informational sticker.

Router login/password
Step 2

Enter WiFi channel settings

Your router’s admin panel will have several sections, and you want to navigate to Settings and then look for an option called Channel or something similar (look under Advanced Settings if available).

WiFi channel settings
Step 3

Change the channel

To change the current channel to a new one, simply select the ideal channel from the corresponding dropdown menu and save your settings. Read more about how to change a WiFi channel.

Select the ideal channel
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We recommend NetSpot as the best WiFi channel scanner for Windows 10. With its help, finding the ideal WiFi channel won’t be an issue, and the benefits are well-worth the small amount of effort required. It’s worth noting that we also consider NetSpot to be the best WiFi channel scanner app for Mac, so don’t hesitate to check out the Mac version as well.

FAQ

Why Do I Need to Use a Wireless Channel Scanner?

When set up, your wireless router usually operates on one of the default wireless channels that are offered by 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. A wireless channel scanner will be of great help in seeing which WiFi channels are mostly used by the neighboring WiFi networks. By choosing the least crowded wireless channels for your network to operate on, you can get a much better and consistent WiFi connection.

What Can a WiFi Channel Analyzer Tell Me About Channel Overlap?

A WiFi channel analyzer collects the information about all nearby wireless networks, and this information includes the channels those networks operate on. By putting these networks channels on the graph a WiFi channel analyzer will make it easy for you to see the channel overlap.

What Is the Best WiFi Channel Scanner?

Here are our top choices of the WiFi channel scanners ranked after their user-friendliness, features, and reliability:

  1. NetSpot is a favorite. This WiFi channel analyzer for Windows has all the features one might need.
  2. WiFi Analyzer is aimed at home users with the essential features in tow.
  3. WiFi Commander offers the ability to filter, sort, and group discovered networks.
  4. InSSIDer is a well known and trusted WiFi scanner for Windows.

How to detect channel overlap?

NetSpot is a fast wireless network scanner with comprehensive survey features. NetSpot's free Discover mode can instantly detect all wireless networks around you listing the channel each network operates on. By putting both 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency ranges on the graph NetSpot makes it very easy to spot the channel overlap.

How do I check WiFi channels on Windows?

To check WiFi channels on Windows, you need to download and use a WiFi channel scanner app like NetSpot. With its help, you’ll be able to see exactly which networks are being broadcasted in your area and which channels they use.

How do I change my WiFi channel on Windows 10?

To change your WiFi channel on Windows 10:

  1. Open your web browser of choice.
  2. Log in to your router’s admin panel.
  3. Go to wireless settings.
  4. Pick a new channel.
  5. Save your settings and restart your router.

What Is the best WiFi channel scanner?

Based on our extensive testing, the best WiFi channel scanner for Windows is NetSpot. Its straightforward user interface makes it easy even for complete beginners to discover which channels are used the most and which are used the least. What’s more, NetSpot can perform WiFi site surveys, turning the gathered information into easy-to-understand WiFi heatmaps.

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Read next in All about Wi-Fi

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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