How to create a perfect WiFi network with just one tool! (by The NetSpot Team)
Do you know your WiFi / RF coverage?
Internet access has become as necessary to business as plumbing and electricity. Think about going to a restaurant and finding the lights out when you get there. Odds are you’re not even going to go inside. Or heading back to use the bathroom and discovering there’s no running water. Most people would get up and leave.
These days, WiFi coverage is just as critical to the business. I’ve seen people enter a coffee shop, discover that they can’t connect their devices into the WiFi, and just leave. Malls have free WiFi for their patrons as they shop about. Bookstores, conference centers, and businesses of any type use WiFi to connect their tablets to the purchase order systems, people in the conference room need to connect their laptops, and if you’re hosting a sales call you won’t want to stutter because the computer you’re using has a weak connection to the WiFi router.
This is why to find the problems with a WiFi network, NetSpot is essential for WiFi surveying, analysis, and troubleshooting. Most of the time when a device won’t connect to WiFi, people chalk it up to a problem in the WiFi router, or in the antennae of the device itself. But usually they don’t know - they throw up their hands and go “Well, it’s just how it is.”
Saying “That’s just how it is” loses customers, which loses revenue, and can lose the business.
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Gathering The Essential Data
NetSpot works by sampling networks against the physical locations. Using a portable computer like a laptop, users can survey their local network. NetSpot collects data on every WiFi access point and gathers information including (but not limited to):
Signal strength - how many of the radio waves are being captured at that location.
Network frequency (2.4 GHz versus 5 GHz)
Capacity - how many connections can be made to this WiFi network from this location
Moving through the location and sampling in different spots, a full analysis of the WiFi network across the location can be created. It’s laid out in handy graphs that make the information clear through visualization.
Most locations won’t just have one WiFi network within range of their location. Between cable companies with city-wide WiFi signals, companies on different floors of the same buildings with their own WiFi networks, or even just being inside your house, odds are there are at least 4 WiFi signals bouncing through your business at any one time. NetSpot makes it easy to show what networks are doing what with handy color coding, or you can have it focus on just the networks you care about. This makes it easy to discover if another network is causing interference with your own, and what you can do about it.
Two Main Modes of Detection
Depending on what kind of issues you’re trying to resolve on your network, there are two main methods of gathering information. If all you need is to see what the WiFi networks for specific spot for a moment, NetSpot can work in Discover mode. NetSpot detects all available networks along with the various statistics and presents it in a convenient spreadsheet. Select a network and you can see even more information.
If you’re trying to get an indication of the WiFi network across the entire building, NetSpot has Survey mode. Load or create a map with its built-in tools, and then scan the network at different points in the building. Click on the map where you’re scanning, move to the next point, scan again. NetSpot takes the data and can show how the network looks across the physical building. With this information, network administrators or home users can see how the WiFi signal reaches, its strength and weaknesses, and how to resolve the issues.
Time Slips Into The Future
Anyone can use a laptop, stand in a spot, and tell how many signal bars they’re getting at a location. NetSpot tracks that information over time so an analyst can see what was going on with the various networks, how their grew stronger or weaker and can use that to map out what might be causing problems in the system.
For example, by setting up NetSpot to monitor a location, perhaps the company WiFi network grows weak at what seems to be random intervals - until someone notices that the time corresponds with when the conference room TV is turned on. Or perhaps every afternoon at 2 PM the signal has a high amount of noise coming in on that frequency, tracking to the times that Bob has his afternoon popcorn fix. Time to tell Bob that it’s time to switch to baked chips instead.
Where NetSpot shines is in its capacity to show what happened before and after a change. If the network is being upgraded with WiFi repeaters or other signal boosters, it only makes sense to verify that the new devices actually worked. Scanning the network from the same location at different times can prove that the changes actually made a difference, instead of the “place and pray” approach.
Some Like It Hotter
NetSpot offers a lot of capacity for free by default, but registered users can use what I find the be the best part: WiFi heatmaps. Numbers and spreadsheets and graphs are great for tracking down how the WiFi signals are by position. But nothing beats seeing how the signal looks against a map of the location.
Heatmaps track signal strength of an area. Blue is weak, green is middling, and red means high strength. The heatmaps aren’t limited to just signal strength; there are over 15 different heat map representations like signal-to-noise ratio, or how many connections are detected in an area. The more information you have available, the more you can find out how to maximize your WiFi coverage, and where you need it most. This is a powerful tool that demonstrates at a glance what the network looks like, where it’s strong, where it’s weak, and what needs to be done to fix it.
NetSpot is one of those products that every network administrator or people setting up a WiFi network at home. It’s simple to understand, it has a well-crafted interface, and provides as much detail as you need to get the maximum coverage and throughput for your network. It comes with several useful features with the free version, and registered users have access to even more powerful capabilities. A business runs on its resources: people, electricity, utilities, and the Internet. NetSpot helps makes sure that your company, your clients, and your devices can connect the way they need to.
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Author - The NetSpot Team - are a friendly team of IT experts and have been working together on various software, marketing, networking, and computer design projects for more than ten years now. We are absolutely convinced that Wi-Fi tools, even professional ones, should cost reasonably and be accessible to any user.
NetSpot by Etwok is everything we believe in: it is a professional application that can be of great help to a user of any level at their home or office. NetSpot runs Wi-Fi site surveys, analysis, and troubleshooting leading to a perfect wireless network setup.