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Optimize your WiFi Network with Wi-Fi Site Survey Windows Software

WiFi site survey software is essential for unlocking the true potential of your internet connection. Let’s take a closer look at what it does and how you can use NetSpot WiFi site survey Windows software to troubleshoot and optimize any WiFi network.
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WiFi Site Survey on Windows

WiFi networks have become an essential part of our daily lives. The trouble is that we don’t see them. Sure, you can see a list of available networks on your smartphone or laptop, and you know where your router is physically located, but you can’t exactly see the wireless signals connecting the router and your devices.

So, when your internet connection suddenly becomes unreliable and your download and upload speeds begin to fluctuate, it can be difficult to pinpoint the issue and apply the correct fix.

WiFi site surveys can give you the information you need to troubleshoot and optimize your WiFi network (or any WiFi network for that matter) by collecting and visualizing important WiFi data, such as signal strength, channel info, and data transmit rate.

WiFi Site Survey Software for Windows

There are three major types of WiFi site surveys that you should know about: active, passive, and predictive.

What Is an Active WiFi Survey?

An active WiFi survey is a survey of a specific WiFi network to which you are actively connected to. This type of WiFi survey can obtain invaluable information on network bandwidth, latency, signal strength, and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), among others.

What Is a Passive WiFi Survey?

To perform a passive WiFi survey, you don’t need to be connected to any specific network. The goal is to capture information on all WiFi activity in the surveyed area to determine how many networks there are, how strong their signals are, and what their configuration is. Equipped with this information, you can make educated decisions about the placement and configuration of your own WiFi network.

What Is a Predictive WiFi Survey?

A predictive WiFi survey is performed prior to the deployment of a WiFi network using specialized software. The software is able to simulate the proliferation of WiFi signals in the surveyed environment, taking into account everything from physical obstacles to interference. While somewhat more technically difficult to perform than active and passive WiFi surveys, predictive WiFi surveys are well worth the extra effort because they can save a lot of money on WiFi equipment.

WiFi Site Survey Software

Regardless of which of the three WiFi survey types you choose to perform, you need to equip yourself with a capable WiFi survey app for Windows.

That can be surprisingly difficult because there are many WiFi site survey tools to choose from, and the difference between them can be dramatic. Here are some key characteristics of a good wireless site survey application for Windows:

  • Intuitive user interface: Your WiFi site survey software of choice should make your life easier—not more difficult. The best WiFi site survey software tools have an intuitive user interface that nicely blends in with other Windows software and the operating system itself.
  • Accurate survey results: The whole point of performing a WiFi site survey is to obtain accurate information on WiFi network, so it goes without saying that choosing accurate software should be your top priority.
  • Plenty of advanced features: WiFi site survey software ranges from extremely simple to remarkably complex. While there’s no reason to go with an expensive professional solution if you’re just a regular home user wanting to eliminate signal weak zones, you should still favor software that has plenty of advanced features because you never know when you’ll need them.
  • Affordably priced full version: Similarly, there’s no reason to spend an arm and a leg on software whose capabilities you would never be able to take advantage of when simpler and cheaper software is more than able to meet all your needs.
  • Helpful customer support: Unexpected issues are not unheard of when using WiFi site survey software to collect information on nearby networks. Helpful customer support can be the difference between finishing the survey successfully and unsuccessfully.

NetSpot WiFi site survey Windows software meets all these criteria and offers number of other benefits as well, which is why we recommend it as the best WiFi site survey software for Windows.

Unlike some of its main competitors, NetSpot WiFi site survey Windows software is constantly updated to maintain compatibility with the latest version of Windows, and new features are added on a regular basis to help users gather accurate information as easily as possible.

In addition to Windows, NetSpot WiFi site survey software is also available as:

  • WiFi site survey for Android;
  • WiFi site survey software for iOS.

How to Perform a WiFi Site Survey with NetSpot (on Windows)

Performing a WiFi site survey with NetSpot on Windows is so easy that even regular home users with no expert knowledge and previous experience with WiFi site surveys can use the software to troubleshoot and optimize WiFi networks.

NetSpot offers two main WiFi site survey modes: Discover (used to perform passive WiFi site surveys) and Survey (used to perform active WiFi site surveys). Soon, NetSpot will gain the ability to also perform predictive WiFi site surveys, which will make it the most complete WiFi site survey solution for Windows.

Here’s how to perform a WiFi site survey with NetSpot WiFi site survey Windows software:

  1. Download and install NetSpot WiFi site survey software on your computer.
  2. Launch the application and make sure Discover mode is selected.
    • After a short while, NetSpot will automatically display a host of information on all WiFi networks available in your local area in the form of an interactive table.
NetSpot’s Discover mode
  1. Switch to Survey mode and click the Start a new survey button (available in Home, Pro, and Enterprise versions).
NetSpot — Start a New survey
  1. Give your survey a name and import a map of the surveyed area.
Start a new survey
  1. Finally, walk from one place to another with your laptop until you cover the whole area and gather enough data for NetSpot to create a WiFi site survey report. Click the Stop Scan button when you’re done.
NetSpot Stop Scan

When performing an active WiFi site survey using Survey mode, NetSpot gives you the option to save your surveys and export the gathered data in several different formats. Best of all, you can turn the collected information into WiFi heatmap visualizations.

WiFi Heatmap

NetSpot supports several useful WiFi heatmap visualizations, including signal-to-noise ratio, signal level, signal-to-interference ratio, the quantity of access points, PHY mode coverage, and others. The beauty of WiFi heatmap visualizations lies in their intuitive use of colors as a way to represent collected data.

Visualizations

For the most precise analysis there are numerous visualizations that assist in comparing Wi-Fi signals by their various network connection parameters. Visual analysis has always been the best approach to analyze specific signal values. Certain visualizations are available for Mac OS only, be sure to check the User Manual.
Passive scanning
Signal-to-noise ratio macOS
It compares the level of WiFi signal to the background noise level, the latter being the amount of outside interference determined at each measuring point.
Signal level
It displays the strength of your WiFi signal, which is important in combination with other values showing how signal level corresponds to interference level for example.
Signal-to-interference ratio
In signal-to-interference ratio the latter is specific to co-channel interference from other radio transmitters.
Quantity of access points
NetSpot always shows you the number of currently detectable access points on your network.
Noise level macOS
Shows the amount of outside interference measured at each point.
Frequency band coverage
It allows quick visual analysis on different frequencies.
PHY mode coverage
It builds visualization by WiFi protocols/modes and shows where 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac mode is used.
Active scanning
Upload speed
This speed reflects the rate of data transfer from the user's computer to the Internet.
Download speed
This speed reflects the rate of data transfer from the Internet to the user's computer.
Wireless Transmit rate
Shows the speed of data transfer from an AP to a wireless device.
Iperf3 upload, download, and jitter visualizations macOS
As well as throughput testing with Iperf 3 or custom speed test servers, they help test the bandwidth performance.
Troubleshooting
Issues with SNR macOS
For troubleshooting purposes use the Issues with SNR visualization, which will help you determine the spots with the low SNR level that can affect your network connectivity.
High level of noise macOS
High noise levels can affect the signal strength of your network and create areas of poor connectivity or no connectivity at all — “dead zones”.
Low signal level
Seeing visually where the low signal level helps you fix issues with poor to no connection with certain access points.
Overlapping channels (SIR)
NetSpot will show you where there are overlapping channels, and the signal level is low, as well as low download and upload rates.

As you can see, performing a comprehensive WiFi site survey on Windows using NetSpot is something anyone can do, and the accuracy of the gathered results rivals even software applications that are aimed strictly at professional users.

SO, WE RECOMMEND
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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.
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Read next in All about Wi-Fi

If you want to dive deeper into this Wi-Fi thing, check out the following articles about Wi-Fi security, the best apps for wireless networking, inflight WiFi, 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.