Trouble-shoot your WiFi network with NetSpot
Here’s a sweet little (AND FREE) tool that’s a must-have for anyone looking to trouble shoot their wireless network’s signal strength in either the home or office – it’s called NetSpot.
NetSpot makes it super easy to diagnose areas of poor reception in your WiFi network, as well as diagnose troublesome areas of noise-generating machinery that could be causing connection issues (such as microwaves and cordless phones). To get started, you’ll first need a blueprint of the area you’d like to diagnose. I just used Photoshop and a tape measurer to get a rough idea of the first floor of Casa de Macenstein. Feel free to memorize the above photo so you can rob me easier.
Once you have your blueprint you can import it into NetSpot and enter the total length and width of the plans, and it will calculate the rest of the measurements for you. Then basically all you need to do is walk around each room in your home with a WiFi enabled MacBook running NetSpot, and keep clicking to add measurement points, and the more the better. NetSpot quickly measures signal strength and various other aspects at each point, and when you’re done, you can stop the scan to view your results.
A handy drop down let’s you choose whether you want to view signal strength, signal to noise, Qty of Access points, etc. Odds are if you live is a residential neighborhood such as mine, NetSpot will find about 15 or so OTHER WiFi networks you don’t care about, so you should uncheck these int he sidebar to give you a better idea of how your network in particular is doing.
All in all I found the program was simple and actually fun to use, and I even relocated my main router based on the results. The hardest part for some might be in creating their original blue print, but you can even sketch it out on a piece of paper and shoot it with your iPhone if you don’t have any type of drawing program. Also, it was sometimes a little tricky to remember which direction I was walking based on holding the MacBook and looking at my floor plan, but you get the hang of it easy enough. It might be nice if the developers added some hovering “tool tips” to help explain what the results of each “thermal-looking” display meant (ie. Green is better than Red” but you should be able to figure it out easily enough even you you aren’t an IT guy.
NetSpot is currently still in beta and free, so get it while it’s hot.