WiFi Site Survey by WiTuners is an app designed to help wireless networking professionals and power users optimize placement of their access points, get details on wireless networks in range, and help select the best channels on which to set their APs. With the ability to load floor maps, view heatmaps, and import and export data— this wireless networking utility is obviously the result of considerable thought, but the touch interface and UI in general, needs work.
Availability and Install
WiFi Site Survey is a free app available from Google Play. I installed it on a Samsung Galaxy Note running Android 4.1.2. Needed permissions to run include full network communications access, the ability to connect and disconnect from Wi-Fi, and the ability to view network connections.
WiFi Site Survey in Use
Upon opening the app, you see a display of numbers of wireless networks and access points in range, helpful information for understanding your wireless environment. Even better, the app shows the strongest AP in range.
You also get detailed information on all wireless networks in proximity. These are represented by a router and access point icons onscreen. Each network’s authentication method, channel, radio band, signal strength, and encryption is shown. If you are connected to a wireless network, that access point’s IP address, link speed, and RSSI are also displayed.
The app features an upper right-hand menu with a few cool options. One is “Advised AP.” Tapping it opens a list of the best Wi-Fi networks available for connection. I did notice that listed first was a network with a signal strength of -73 dBm and that down the list as a third choice was a network that had a stronger signal at -43 dBm (lower is better). The developers informed me that the app does not always take into factor signal strength as “best.” Rather, if the strongest AP shares a channel with another, the app will advise you to connect to a third AP, even though its signal may be weaker. There is obviously intelligence in the underlying algorithm for selecting the best AP for connecting.
Another menu choice is “The channel you should set to.” This gives guidance for those setting up a new Wi-Fi access point on which channel is the best choice for the AP.
Visualizing Your Network
WiFi Site Survey gives you three different ways to view your network. The first is “Wi-Fi” which shows all AP and their information. Next, is “Heatmap view.” Heatmaps provide visualization on wireless coverage and signal strength. The third view is “Rogue Aps.” This feature compares the MAC address of an AP against a list of user-defined non-rogue APs. You can import this list using “Set Rogue Aps” under another “Settings”—also on the upper right menu. The list gets updates when you set APs as rogue or non-rogue.
The app also allows you to upload a floor map which. I uploaded a sample map which was placed behind all of the AP in range displayed on screen. You can tap on the “Survey” menu option and then tap in the floor plan to set survey points for analyzing wireless traffic.
I did upload a sample floor plan and attempted to plot survey points. This is where I ran into trouble with the app. The swipe gestures indicated in the user manual to zoom in and out the floor map, just didn’t want to work on the Galaxy tablet. Also, you are supposed to be able to tap on and move access points around and to the edge of the screen if you want them to disappear off the floor map. Tying to precisely touch the access point icon to try to pick it up and move it, proved an exercise in futility—absolutely frustrating. Maybe a stylus would work better (I didn’t have one on hand for my testing tablet, but it really shouldn’t be necessary to use one) but even swiping to zoom in and out was awful. The map would render too large or show up half-way on screen—there was no consistency between using gestures and the action.
This is a problem because for this to be a really useful app on an Android tablet the touch interface has to work a bit better—at least that was my experience on a Samsung Galaxy Note tablet. There’s a lot of great information that this networking utility gives, but the interface needs to be more responsive, or there has to a more robust interactive menu that allows you to send commands that correlate to touch.
The strongest capability in WiFi Site Survey is its wonderful advisement on best APs to connect to and channels to operate an access point on. The floor map upload needs work, although I do love the ability to import and export survey data to .CSV, SQLlite, and PDF.
Wolf WiFi Pro handles floor mapping better—invaluable for Wi-Fi professionals. Wolf WiFi Pro also did not have the wonky performance I noticed with WiFi Site Survey—which crashed twice during my testing.
Still, it’s clear that lot of thought went into WiFi Site Survey; I am sure the developers are working hard on clearing up the issues I noticed in my testing. I’ll be interested to take another look at the next iteration of the app. For now, WiFi Site Survey earns 3 stars and for wireless networking utilities for Android. Wolf Wifi Pro remains our Editors’ Choice.
|Type||Business, Personal, Professional|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc