Paying for a high-speed wireless internet access and not getting the advertised speeds is infuriating. With NetSpot, you can perform WiFi speed checks and discover areas of weak signal and strong interference.
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:
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.
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.
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.
WiFi speed tests measure such parameters as latency, download speed, and upload speed. Latency, aka ping, is the time it takes a server to respond to the query sent from a host. It is measured in milliseconds — a ping time of 20ms or less is considered great.
When using a WiFi speed test, it also initiates the sending and receiving of data packets, then the download and upload speeds are measured to give you an idea of how fast (or slow) your Internet connection is.
The accuracy of online WiFi speed tests can be influenced by a few factors:
With NetSpot’s Active Scanning feature you can quickly and easily test the upload and download speeds, as well as wireless transmit rate via HTTP, TCP, or UDP. Unlike online WiFi speed tests, NetSpot lets you decide which size of data packets to download or upload to perform the tests. This gives you the flexibility of either performing a quick speed test or a deeper analysis.
To perform a WiFi speed test with NetSpot, click the Test Connection button, verify your WiFi settings and start a new WiFi area survey project. Load or create your map, select “Enable active scanning of the connected network,” and begin the scan.
If you feel like your WiFi speed is not up to your expectations, test it to make sure there really is an issue. To properly test your WiFi speed, make sure you are not downloading large files or streaming movies during the test. If the test has shown you that you indeed have a slow connection, try getting your router as close to the center of your office or home as possible.
Consider upgrading your network controller, updating your WiFi router settings, getting a new router, etc. Chat about your current plan with your Internet provider — maybe they have a more suitable one or you might even want to try a different Internet service provider altogether.