NetSpot can help you analyze your WLAN interference to determine the best WiFi channels to be used by your access points. A professional report can easily be assembled that provides a complete analysis of your wireless network.
If you could see wireless network activity with your eyes, you would most likely be surprised by how many wireless signals are in range. In densely populated areas, the demand for WiFi connectivity is so large that it’s causing major issues with signal interference, which can lead to slowdowns and connection drops.
To solve issues with signal interference, you need to somehow make wireless network activity visible, and that’s where WiFi analyzers come in. What is a WiFi analyzer? Good question!
WiFi analyzer apps, also called a WiFi channel analyzers, make up for our inability to see wireless signals by displaying all important information about them in a visually accessible manner. With a capable WiFi analyzer, free or paid, you can collect information about both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals and instantly transform the collected information into easy-to-understand graphs, charts, and heatmaps. It can be run on just about any WiFi-enabled laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and no special skills needed.
A WiFi analyzer lets you see wireless activity in your area by examining the radio spectrum in which WiFi signals are broadcasted. Most modern routers use two frequency bands: the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band.
The 2.4 GHz band has been in use for much longer than the 5 GHz band, which is why this chunk of the radio spectrum tends to be crowded in most areas with a higher population density. It does, however, provide a larger coverage area than the 5 GHz band, whose main advantage is a higher data rate.
By analyzing the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, you can gather information about all currently broadcasting access points that are withing the range of the device on which you run your free WiFi analyzer, such as a Windows laptop or MacBook.
The best free WiFi analyzer apps can then help you make sense of the gathered information, allowing you to use it for a variety of different purposes, some of which we discuss later in this article. Some free WiFi analyzer Windows and Mac apps can even zero in on a specific network and visualize its coverage on a map by putting together information gathered from different parts of the covered area.
There are many WiFi analyzers for Mac that users of Apple computers can choose from. Here are several characteristics that all best WiFi analyzer Mac apps have in common:
You can learn more about the best WiFi analyzer Mac apps including NetSpot later in this article.
A simple online search can reveal dozens and dozens of paid and free WiFi analyzer Windows apps, so how do you know which are worth downloading? When choosing the best WiFi analyzer Windows apps, we recommend you:
One WiFi analyzer for Windows that runs great on any laptop with Windows 7/8/10/11 and works with any 802.11 network is NetSpot, which is just one reason why it appears on so many lists of best Windows WiFi apps.
Android smartphones and tablets have come a long way since the release of Android 1.0, the first commercial version of the mobile operating system, in 2008. Today, even budget devices boast fast WiFi connectivity and the ability to run complex apps, such as WiFi analyzer apps.
Because the Android operating system is based on Linux and designed to be open, software developers can take full advantage of its capabilities when creating everything from simple games to the best WiFi analyzer apps for Android.
Indeed, some of the best WiFi analyzer Android apps, such as NetSpot, offer many of the same features and capabilities as their desktop counterparts, allowing you to see detailed information about nearly networks, detect WiFi channel overlap, and even gather data for the creation of signal heatmaps.
For regular home users, the best WiFi analyzer apps for Android can get the job done without leaving too much to be desired. Professionals probably shouldn’t give up their Mac and Windows analyzers just yet, but even they can gain a lot by installing an analyzer app on their Android device.
Yes, there are, but they seldom offer the same features and capabilities as Windows, Mac, and even Android WiFi analyzers.
That’s because iOS is an extremely restricted mobile operating system, and software developers are not allowed to access all of its components, which prevents them, for example, from gathering real-time information for the creation of WiFi heatmaps without third-party accessories.
NetSpot is arguably the best WiFi analyzer app for iOS because it’s designed to work with the WiPry 2500x spectrum analyzer, which makes it possible to observe and study various network parameters in real time, including signal strength and WiFi channel distribution.
NetSpot iOS WiFi analyzer is exceptionally easy to use, and it runs on the iPhone and iPad alike. A useful internet speed measuring feature is also included (no WiPry 2500x needed.) It allows you to quickly measure your download and upload speeds, as well as the latency of your internet connection.
However, you shouldn’t hesitate to explore other WiFi analyzers for iPad and iPhone since each offers a slightly different feature set.
A WiFi spectrum analyzer is a software application capable of revealing all activity in the WiFi spectrum (typically 2.5 GHz and 5 GHz).
Because the WiFi spectrum is just one part of the larger radio frequency (RF) spectrum, there are many potential sources of signal interference that can negatively affect it, including large kitchen appliances, cordless phones, wireless security cameras, baby monitors, and Bluetooth devices.
Using a WiFi spectrum analyzer, you can see the activity of RF-emitting devices on a graph that clearly shows how big of an impact they have.
WiFi spectrum analysis can also tell you which WiFi channels are used the most, making it easy to pick the one that’s crowded the least.
In the past, performing WiFi spectrum analysis used to be complicated because it required specialized equipment, but those days are gone. Today, a free WiFi spectrum analyzer like NetSpot can easily meet the needs of both home users and professionals, so there’s nothing stopping you from giving WiFi analysis a try.
To use a WiFi analyzer app, you don’t need to be an expert on wireless networks. Most WiFi analyzer apps are actually used by regular people who want to maintain connection quality and quickly identify problems that are preventing them from watching videos on the internet, playing online games, browsing the web, or even sending email messages.
Of course, WiFi analyzer apps are also used by professionals whose job is to set up complex enterprise networks and seamlessly cover multiple floors with a strong WiFi signal. What’s important, however, is that all features of modern WiFi analyzer apps like NetSpot are accessible to beginners and pros alike.
Even if you’re happy with the performance of your WiFi network, you should consider using a WiFi analyzer app to see if there’s room for improvement. There could be small areas of signal weakness, also known as dead zones, that you’re not aware of because they cause problems only sporadically.
WiFi analyzer apps like NetSpot show a wealth of useful information to help you troubleshoot and improve your network's coverage, capacity, and performance. Here’s a small sample of what NetSpot can gather:
Equipped with all this information, you can easily troubleshoot complex WiFi issues and ensure that you’re getting the best coverage and performance possible.
Open NetSpot and upload a floorplan of the area you wish to analyze.
Complete the site survey, using the directions in the NetSpot Knowledgebase. How do I start my Wi-Fi survey?
Analyze the resulting Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmap that is displayed. Look for areas of dark blue and purple. These are spots where coverage may be inadequate.
Adjust the Signal-to-Noise heatmap if desired, by changing the min and max signal variables on the sliders in the visualization config popup, as well as the AP detection proximity.
View the Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmap by specific network, if desired. Go to the control panel to the left of the heatmap and uncheck the boxes next to the names of the networks you do not want displayed.
Analyze your Wi-Fi network by specific channel, if desired. Click on Configure > Select Networks by Channel at the bottom of the control panel to select the desired channel.
Export your Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmaps to PDF by clicking the Export button on the top of the NetSpot window.
Continue to analyze your wireless network by selecting other reports from the drop-down menu in the lower toolbar of the NetSpot window. Other Wi-Fi analyzer reports include Signal Level, Signal-to-Interference Ratio, Noise Level, and Quantity of Access Points, Download and Upload rates , Wireless Transmit Rate and Troubleshooting . Export additional heatmaps as needed.
Once you have exported all of your WiFi heatmaps, it is easy to analyze your WLAN and identify the optimum configuration for your Wi-Fi access points. No other wireless analyzer makes it so quick and easy to completely map your network.
NetSpot is the best free WiFi analyzer app for Windows and macOS because it makes professional WiFi analysis accessible to anyone. With the desktop version of NetSpot, you can instantly collect all important information about nearby WiFi networks and create interactive heatmaps with detailed coverage information.
Both the Windows and macOS version of NetSpot can be downloaded and used for free with certain limitations. Paid licenses are available as one-time purchases, so there’s no reason to worry about recurring subscription fees.
In certain situations, it can be handy to analyze WiFi networks using a mobile device, which is why NetSpot is also available as a free WiFi analyzer for Android and as well as an iOS WiFi analyzer that could be found in App Store.
In order to analyze your WiFi with NetSpot start by uploading the floor plan to the app and perform a site survey. The heatmap that you get after the survey will help you visually analyze your wireless signal and see where the changes might be needed. Your heatmap can be exported into file for further usage.
When analyzing the Signal-to-Noise Ratio heatmap you need to look for areas of dark blue and purple. These are the possible areas with insufficient coverage.
With NetSpot you can build a comprehensive heatmap of your WiFi area. The heatmap visually shows you the areas where coverage is inadequate. 12+ types of visualizations help you analyze your coverage by different parameters. You can analyze heatmap by specific network or WiFi channel.
NetSpot stands out as the best free WiFi analyzer app for Windows, Mac, and mobile devices because it combines professional features with an easy-to-use user interface, making it suitable for regular home users and network administrators alike.
Yes, there are many free WiFi analyzer apps that can be used to analyze both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals, but not all of them are equally capable or easy to use. Some may even give inaccurate readings, which is why you should always use the best free WiFi analyzer app available for your operating system.
With so many WiFi analyzer apps available, finding the best one is far from easy. One WiFi analyzer app that has received countless raving reviews from real users and professional reviewers alike is NetSpot, and you can download it free of charge for Windows, Mac, and even mobile devices.
A WiFi analyzer gathers information about wireless activity in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, allowing you to see all broadcasting access points in your area and analyze their configuration and status. This can be useful when troubleshooting various network problems or optimizing a network to achieve the best performance and coverage possible.