Since infrastructure complexity is growing rapidly, it’s challenging for companies to ensure the reliability and availability of their network. A network requires proper maintenance to ensure maximum bandwidth. When it comes to a Wi-Fi connection, facing disturbances in signal is common. Some days the signal strength can be excellent, while other days, it may be weak or even poor. Businesses need to analyze the network connections for better connectivity, protection against threats, and safeguard themselves against disruptions affecting overall productivity. In other words, companies need to implement tools to optimize the performance of the Wi-Fi networks affecting their speed and reliability. Such tools are known as Wi-Fi analyzers.
The main purpose of a Wi-Fi analyzer is to analyze the connection, collect the data, and identify the problems responsible for a weak Wi-Fi signal. Wi-Fi analyzers collect information from different access points and channels within your network and provide a clear overview with visual reports and dashboards.
With the help of a Wi-Fi analyzer, network administrators can detect problems and perform root cause analysis to find troublesome nodes, endpoints, and more. Admins can troubleshoot the problem by considering the potential solutions like switching to another channel to reduce congestion.
A Wi-Fi analyzer also helps the admins locate the areas where the flaw is. For example, with the help of a Wi-Fi analyzer, you can identify the channel with a lot of traffic and use a less congested one to improve the performance of the network. In short, a Wi-Fi analyzer will help admins improve and maintain the quality of the connection by identifying areas in your facility that may have a weak Wi-Fi connection. You can also spot the best places for the router to avoid disturbances.
Before you choose a network analyzer, the first thing to consider is the type of network you want to analyze. Are you going to use the analyzer tool in an office or at home? Secondly, the tool or software should be installed on a laptop or a mobile device. This will help admins analyze your network’s intended coverage area.
Important Statistics Provided by a Wi-Fi Analyzer
A Wi-Fi analyzer tool can provide several statistics about your networks. The gathered information can be used by admins to fine-tune the existing settings and increase the level of performance the network can deliver. Some of the important statistics provided by a Wi-Fi analyzer tool include:
Every Wi-Fi network is assigned a name for identification. These names are known as Service Set IDs (SSIDs). A good Wi-Fi network analyzer tool should be able to discover all public SSIDs in a network along with the hidden SSIDs.
Band and Channel
Every Wi-Fi network has channels. However, usually, only one channel is used for transmission at any time. There are two bands, the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band, used in Wi-Fi communications. Both these bands are divided into multiple channels like lanes on a highway and can transfer signals without causing any interference patterns. A good Wi-Fi analyzer tool should be able to identify if multiple Wi-Fi networks are using the same channel for transmission. The tool must also suggest an alternative channel to divide the traffic.
There are generally three types of security settings available for the protection of Wi-Fi networks. These include Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), and WPA2 wireless security technologies. WPA2 is considered most secure to safeguard your data during transit. A Wi-Fi analyzer tool should identify the security settings and help you understand the current security level of your Wi-Fi network.
A Wi-Fi analyzer tool can display the strength of the signal in decibels and allow the admins to identify where the signal is low and high throughout your coverage area.
The Wi-Fi analyzer tool lets the admins know when the network was last discovered by the tool.
A good Wi-Fi analyzer tool must provide the flexibility to export data to files for later analysis.
Apart from these statistics, there are many other paid and free tools available in the market to provide more network-specific information like the amount of noise impacting the network or the amount of data being transferred. All you have to do is to choose the best Wi-Fi analyzer tool as per your requirements.
Which Is the Best Wi-Fi Analyzer Tool?
Whether you’re an enterprise professional or a home user, you must know how to choose the best Wi-Fi analyzer tool for your needs. It’s better to look for a tool with an easier interface, lower footprint, and faster performance to help you extract real-time actionable intelligence. There’s no shortage of paid and free tools and software to monitor and manage your Wi-Fi networks. Tools like WiFi Commander, Wireshark, Vistumbler, NetSpot, and NetCut offer a range of features to simplify Wi-Fi analysis, with different pricing and plans to suit your needs.
SolarWinds® Network Performance Monitor is one of the most preferred Wi-Fi analyzer tools for managing and monitoring wireless networks across a facility.
The heatmap feature of the tool lets the admins create multicolor maps of the state of wireless network signal coverage over a certain area. These maps can be automatically updated for a real-time understanding. The PerfStack™ feature allows admins to compare different performance metrics side-by-side and gain more control over your network. SolarWinds Wi-Fi analyzer software accelerates the process of network troubleshooting. With the availability of a customizable web platform, it’s easy to quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve network performance issues. The easy-to-use dashboard and interactive user interface of the NPM tool allow admins to discover network devices, view performance metrics, map network paths, and wireless coverage. For evaluation, you can get a free trial download of the fully functional SolarWinds NPM here.