APP OF THE DAY: Wifi Analyzer review (Android)

When you're dealing with computers, or any sort of networking, one of the things you have to be able to do to solve a problem, is logically eliminate one possibility after the next. This is standard, so if a setting is making your game crash, you cange the settings to basic, and increase slowly until you find the one that's making things break.

When it comes to Wi-Fi though, troubleshooting is a little bit more difficult. After all, there is no way physically to see what's causing your wireless signal to drop out, be slow or generally make your life a living hell.

Enter Wifi Analyzer, an app with a name that respects neither the hyphen in Wi-Fi nor the S in Analyser. Even so, we judge on performance not spelling, and when it comes to getting things done, Wifi Analyzer is bang on the money.

Wifi Analyzer

Format
Android
Price
Free
Where
Google Play

The big problem with Wi-Fi is that it's very congested, especially in built-up areas. Your router should be able to detect the channel that's clearest, but some don't seem to do a great job of this, and it can end up that everyone just lands on channel 6, and then wonders why their wireless performance isn't great. What Wifi Analyzer does, is use your phone's Wi-Fi system to sniff out the best frequencies, and show you them in a handy graph.

This means that you can set your Wi-Fi channel manually, and hopefully miss some of that dreadful noise and settle on a quiet channel that no one else is on. The only problem we noticed was that the app kept pushing us to use channel 14, a channel which is legal almost nowhere in the world.

Even so, it's quite nice to see what's going on, and sniff out potential competition near you. It's also handy if you're wanting to see the relative strengths. So a channel might have something else on it, but it might be a lot weaker than what is on other channels. Again, routers should do all this, but our experience is that they're often not great at it.

There's also a built-in signal strength meter with audible alert too. This is good if you want to wander around your house looking for black spots. If you use this tool, you can often range-extend your wireless network with an extra bit of hardware, or you can move your router slightly to try to get the best signal propagation through the house.

It's also possible to graph the strength of your Wi-Fi over time. That can be helpful in diagnosing if you've got a hardware problem, or a microwave or baby monitors is messing with your signal strength. Because it's time-based, you'll be able to spot trends and decide if there's anything you can do about them.

It's geeky, might make you recoil with horror when you look at it, but it's also a solid app that can save you time, effort and expense. We love this one, and it's a must-have for our handsets.



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