Windows and other operating systems have a WiFi signal strength meter, but this is usually basic software and does not really tell the user much about the wireless signal. Fortunately, there are many other programs that do the same thing, but show the user more details about the wireless connection. We will describe some of these programs.
Net Stumbler does several things. It is a wireless signal strength meter that gives detailed reports to the user about the wireless network. Net Stumbler also provides the user with a “map” of access points in the area. Aside from software, however, Net Stumbler provides users with the latest news feeds about WiFi, 3G, and other related topics. Net Stumbler is available as the original software, or as a “Mini Stumbler” that is smaller than the original, but provides nearly identical services. Both versions of Net Stumbler are available for free.
OmniPeek is a packet analyzer that also includes a wireless signal strength meter. WildPackets released the software, which is designed to troubleshoot network problems and analyze network protocols so that laptop users can always have the maximum level of wireless accessibility. OmniPeek includes over forty different plug-ins, remote adapters, decoders, and plugin wizards. OmniPeek also includes a “MyPeek” service that provides many more features such as plugins, scripts, and a community of OmniPeek users. In addition to all of this, OmniPeek has a PlaceMap function that maps out access points in the area and pinpoints them on Google Maps so that users can actually see a map of the best areas for wireless connectivity.
WiFi Signal Strength
WiFi Signal Strength displays the SSID (Service Set Identifier) and the network’s wireless signal strength. The program updates this information every five seconds and users have a good (almost real-time) estimate of their wireless connectivity. WiFi Signal Strength works with Windows 2000 and Windows XP and you can download it for free.
Stumbverter is another application that pinpoints wireless signals on a visual map so that users can see exactly where the best wireless connections are. Stumbverter is able to import information from other WiFi signal strength meters such as Net Stumbler and place it on maps from Microsoft MapPoint 2002. However, Stumbverter does not need any other program to function properly.
WiFi Hopper combines a network function, site survey tool, and connection manager into one WLAN utility. WiFi Hopper can display advanced information about a network such as the SSID, encryption type, frequency, channel, and other important data that the user needs to know about his/her network. A GPS device included in the software can pinpoint network access points and display them on a visual map. As WiFi Hopper is also able to detect security settings and it is completely free.
WirelessMon is a stand alone program that can monitor wireless signal strength and IP information in realtime. WirelessMon can log what it discovers in a file on the computer and can provide IP statistics and other information through graphical charts and graphs.