Wireless Scanning Tools, what is it and what's it for.
Fi Analyzers are also known as WiFi scanners, Wireless scanning tools, etc. A WiFi Analyzer is a software that uses the wireless adapter of your device to scan 802.11 networks and show you a graphical representation of the networks and configurations settings. There are many WiFi Analyzer tools, some are free, and you need to pay for others. You can imagine that the commercial tools offer more advanced features and support more capabilities than the free ones; depending on what you're troubleshooting, you may want to consider upgrading to a commercial version.
The information displayed by the application is useful to understand the state of WiFi connectivity; depending on the application, you can use channel utilization, channel and co-channel interference, signal strength, but keep in mind that it does not display other sources of Wireless communication in the spectrum. None the less for basic troubleshooting, they're very useful and handy. One more thing I'd like to mention is that the software displays only what the wireless adapter of your device can see, meaning if you have an adapter that only works on the 2.4GHz band, you won't see any information of networks on the 5GHz band, and of course, the opposite is true.
Here's a list of some of the most useful WiFi analyzer tools:
NetSpot - an only Mac tool, good for basic wireless network information and site surveys.
Vistumbler - It's a solid project that's been around for some time. It's open-source and still supported.
InSSider - I really like this tool as it integrates with the other MetaGeek tools, such as Eye P.A.
WiFi Explorer - another Mac friendly tool with a "light" free version with the option to upgrade to a more powerful tool.
AcrylicWiFi - This is a Windows-only tool, it's very intuitive, and the graphics make it very easy to read.
Going beyond the simple scan: when troubleshooting a more complex network issue that includes WiFi network issues running, a simple scan is not enough. There are multiple moving parts in a network and even more in the Wireless spectrum that can only be addressed by wireless experts using the right tools.
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