While it’s great being able to use your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook without being tethered to wires, the increasing number of Wi-Fi devices in most people’s homes, as well as Wi-Fi access points at your neighbours’ places can make it challenging to keep your wireless network operating at optimal efficiency. Etwok’s NetSpot (Free / $150) aims to help you with this problem by providing a simple tool to help you map out and visualize your Wi-Fi network with a minimal amount of fuss, helping you track down dead zones, and choose the best channels and placement for your Wi-Fi access point and other wireless devices.
Available in Free, Pro ($150), and Enterprise ($500) versions, NetSpot lets you conduct a comprehensive wireless site survey from your MacBook. Discover mode will help you collect live Wi-Fi data, and you can create survey projects to load up a map of your home or business – or draw one if you don’t have one handy – and then perform passive and active scanning, and realtime network discovery and analysis. You simply point to where you are on the map, and NetSpot measures your wireless signal from that position, and then move around and continue the process to map out your Wi-fi coverage and signal strength throughout your home or office. The resulting survey will help you analyze radio signal leakages, discover sources of noise and other interference, determine your optimal channel usage to avoid interference from neighbours’ Wi-Fi access points, and more. The free version is for non-commercial, personal use, and provides all of the basic features with one zone and snapshot per project, up to 50 data points for each, and a maximum of 5 access points. The Pro version adds support for commercial use for a single user, with up to 50 zones per project and 50 snapshots per zone, unlimited data points, professional visualizations, and simultaneous views and grouping of multiple access points, as well as the ability to export data, perform active scanning and detect and scan hidden networks.