Friday, February 18, 2011

Free Wi-Fi Analysis Tools

I'm putting in a Wi-Fi network for a clieent in a couple of weeks and need to a good way to find out whether we are placing the access points properly. So, being the somewhat cheap guy that I am, I've gone looking for free tools and found a couple of good ones:
The first one I looked as was inSSIDer. This is a nice survey tool that shows you all of of the wireless networks that it sees, the signal strength, and what channel each is on. I like this one for getting an idea of what is currently on a site. This one is open source, and can hook into a serial port based GPS. An advanced paid version can also look for sources of interference.

Heat Mapper is a site mapping tool that you can use to identify signal strength at various locations in your organization. First, you import a graphic with your floor plan. Then you wander around with your laptop running Heat Mapper and click on the map corresponding to where you are. When you are done, it generates a map that shows signal strength in different areas on the map. It is displays much like a topographical map. There are more advanced paid versions of this product, but this one does a nice job for free.

I'm going to be keeping both of these tools on my laptop.

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