WiFi Speed Test with NetSpot

Paying for a high-speed wireless internet access and not getting the advertised speeds is infuriating. In most cases, this widespread problem can be solved quickly and easily — but not without the right tools. NetSpot is an industry-leading Mac OS X and Windows application for conducting wireless site surveys, WiFi network analysis, and troubleshooting. With NetSpot, you can perform WiFi speed checks and discover areas of weak signal and strong interference.

How do WiFi Speed Tests Work


Online WiFi speed tests usually measure latency, download speed, and upload speed. Each of these test components affects the performance of your internet connection.

Latency, or ping, is the time it takes a server to respond to a request sent by your web browser, a music streaming app, or operating system. Latency is measured in milliseconds, and anything over 40-70ms is usually considered too high. If you’re just watching online videos on YouTube, you aren’t likely to notice high latencies because your web browser automatically pre-loads a portion of the video to deliver a smooth viewing experience. But if you’re playing an online game, even a few extra milliseconds of delay can cause you to lose a match because your opponents will literary have more time to respond than you.

Download and upload speeds are self-explanatory measures that seldom tell the full story. When you check WiFi speed using WiFi speed tests, your client (usually a web browser) establishes multiple connections and either begins to send or receive chunks of data. Using the real-time transfer speed, the actual download and upload speeds are calculated.

The problem is that the accuracy of these tests can be influenced by several factors:

  • Network activity – As you may know, trying to stream a 2160p video on YouTube while downloading a large Linux distribution is no fun. Even without going to such extremes, it’s easy to influence the accuracy of online WiFi speed tests. A background system process may trigger and cause your operating system to send usage reports over the internet, a friend may message you on Skype or Telegram, an automatic update may start.

  • Signal strength – It goes without saying that the closer you are to your router, the faster WiFi speeds you can expect. But even when you stay in the same place, you’ll inevitably see your WiFi signal strength fluctuate. This can be caused by changes in weather, doors and windows opening and closing, and interference caused by other WiFi networks in your area, among other things.

  • Usage peaks – If you use a WiFi speed test service with servers in your time zone, prepare to see different results at 3 a.m. than at 2 p.m. You’re not the only person using these tests, and the servers that host them also have limited capacity.

How to Test WiFi Speed with NetSpot


NetSpot’s Active Scanning feature lets you test WiFi speed in an instant. Active Scanning tests upload rate, download rate, and wireless transmit rate via HTTP, TCP, or UDP. You can configure it through the Preferences menu. Unlike online WiFi speed tests, NetSpot lets you configure how many KB of data you would like to download or upload. As such, you can either perform a quick speed test or an in-depth wireless speed measurement. Press the Test Connection button to verify your settings and start a new WiFi area survey project. Load your map, select “Enable active scanning of the connected network,” and perform your scan. An Active Scan indicator will appear, informing you that a scan is in progress. When it finishes, you will be able to analyze the results using a number of helpful visualizations. For more information, see this guide.

How to Increase WiFi Speed


Knowing how fast your WiFi is just half of the battle. The other half of the battle is knowing how to increase WiFi speed. Randomly moving your different router rooms or trying to adjust the angle of the antennas can yield impressive results, but you need to have actual data to support what you’re doing.

NetSpot helps you create heatmaps of your network and discover areas of weak signal and high interference. You simply switch the slider to the Survey Mode, load up or create a map of your surrounding area, and let NetSpot do what it does best.

Once you’re finished mapping your area, you’ll places with the weakest signal marked blue or purple and places with the strongest signal marked green. Various heatmaps, such as the Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmap, can help you identify sources of signal noise. These often include home appliances, electrical wires, fluorescent lights, and smartphones.

If you discover that noise isn’t really an issue, you may simply need a router with a better range or a wireless repeater. Some WiFi routers even let you install after-market antennas. On the other hand, if the signal is generally good except for a single area, you’ve likely stumbled upon a place with strong interference. Use NetSpot’s heatmaps to confirm or deny your suspicion and act accordingly.

Besides detailed area mapping, NetSpot is also great for quick wireless network signal assessments. The Discover Mode instantly takes a snapshot of all wireless networks in your surrounding area, allowing you to see how many of them are on the same channel as you, what security they’re using, and a host of other useful information. You can zoom in on individual networks to display more details or export the data as a spreadsheet.

NetSpot is a versatile, professional WiFi analysis and troubleshooting tool for experience users and total beginners alike. Its modern user interface is self-explanatory, making it effortless to use the software to its fullest potential.


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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.