Amped Wireless has an impressive Wi-Fi analysis tool for Android devices available in Google Play. It’s probably one of the sharpest in terms of graphics I’ve tested—it looks good, visually— and it provides visualization of the strongest wireless networks in a specific area. Plus, it’s a free app developed by a company that knows Wi-Fi.
Download and Requirements
I downloaded the Wi-Fi Analytics tool to a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 running Android 4.1.2. The app requires permissions that include phone calls, network communication, system tools, and location. It can be installed on Android 2.0 and up. It’s a quick, light install and caused no issues on my tablet when I was using it.
When the app opens up it displays the SSID of the network to which your device is connected. The home screen also shows bar graphs for that network and other networks in range. These bold, green bars represent signal strength.
To the far right of each bar is the actual numerical signal strength level in dBm. Every network’s SSID, signal strength (in percentage), and security type, plus encryptions, is displayed as well. The graphics are very crisp and pleasant and look wonderful on the Galaxy Note.
In this screen, you can set how often you want the app to scan for wireless networks. I left the default of five seconds and even with the app running I did not notice any slowness or interference with the tablet’s performance. I was able to even simultaneously perform a Samsung software update with Wi-Fi Analytics Tool running. Additionally, the app is very responsive to touch.
If you tap on any network, app will ask if you want to connect to that network. Across the bottom of the screen are five tabs: WiFi Scanner, Channel Interference, Channel Graph, Signal Graph, and Signal Meter. There’s also an ad at the bottom for Amped Wireless networking products – but, hey, it’s their app; I have no problem with that. Clicking the ad takes you to Amped Wireless’ website.
The Wi-Fi Scanner tab is actually the default view to which the app opens. Channel Interference is really neat. Tappping on this tab will present a list of every channel, with respect to the wireless network you’re on, and displays if the channel clarity is “great,” “good,” or “poor.” It will also advise which channels you should be operating that network’s access point for a better signal.
Channel Graph tab, displays vertical bars providing further visualization into each Wi-Fi channel and corresponding signal strength. What I really like is that all SSIDs in range are superimposed on the channel bar on which they are operating; however, it’s a little hard to read the network names when many are on the same channel.
The Signal Graph tab opens to a screen with line graph for each network and looks like it renders pretty much in real-time.
Signal Meter tab opens up yet another visual of signal strength in a single vertical bar graph. Amped Wireless not too long ago added a “Signal Strength” widget to this feature. This widget has a button “Select a Network” that when you click, you select a network and that network’s signal strength in dBm is displayed and a left-facing arrow indicator will go up and down the bar graph to show how strong or poor the signal is: the higher the indicator goes, the better the signal. When you select a network a beep goes off, the stronger the signal (or closer you are to the network’s access point) the louder the beep. It reminds me of the tone of a fox/hound set you use to trace data cable. There is also a toggle button on this screen that allows you to turn the sound off.
An App from Those Who Know Networking
I really like this app as a quick, lightweight tool. It’s useful for professionals to get insight into the signal quality of a wireless environment, but it’s easy enough for home users and novices. Amped Wireless’ app is a little behind inSSIDer which displays the manufacturer of an access points, calculates a link score based on several parameters to tell you how strong a wireless network’ signal is (or not), and the paid version, inSSIDer for Office does even more. However, Amped Wireless’s app is a good tool in its own right.
I would like to see the company expand the app even more—maybe a paid version that allows for surveying, uploading floormaps, and spectrum analysis. While inSSIDer remains the Editors’ Choice for networking and communication tools, Amped Wireless’s Wi-Fi Analytics Tool is an easy four out of five stars and a good tool for the networking admin’s toolbox.
|Type||Business, Personal, Professional|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc