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.
There are three major types of WiFi site surveys that you should know about: active, passive, and predictive.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
It is no wonder that visual analysis is the most preferred method of research and troubleshooting for many because the graphical overlook it offers on any current situation is unrivaled. Let's see what you can visualize and analyze with NetSpot's heatmaps.
*Please note that some visualizations are only available for Mac, so be sure to check the User Manual for more details.
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.