Wi-Fi has become an essential part of every home, as all our mobiles, tablets, laptops and more require Internet connectivity for work and other tasks. As so, you should always have a strong signal to transfer data.
Usually we only have a good guess as to where to place our WiFi router for the best coverage and performance. Bur NetSpot for OS X is a really good app to get some actual figures of the strength of your Wi-Fi network(s), also allowing you to manage them efficiently.
So, what is NetSpot? NetSpot is basically a free utility (with a Pro version) that makes it quite easy to map out your wireless network and have a very accurate visual of where your signal is strong and weak.
You can use the app as a simple Wi-Fi detector (to detect the number and strength of different Wi-Fi networks around you) or as a very advanced tool to set up and arrange your entire wireless network system.
As soon as you’ll open up NetSpot for the first time, it’ll list all the available Wi-Fi networks around you, like the following image.
You can set up different “surveys” to make a basic map of your home/office setup. Then, using NetSpot, you can roam around your home/office and get real-time updates of the strength of your Wi-Fi network at each point. This is arguably NetSpot’s greatest feature to offer. It focuses on a more “visual” than technical aspect for its users which may appeal to many.
Once you set up a survey, whenever you click on a spot on the screen, be it either a blank or populated floor plan, NetSpot will automatically scan the area for any other available wireless networks. Once done, it will also prompt you to walk around the area to mark various points to measure various signal strengths in different areas of your home/office. The more spots you mark, the better your results will be. While very nice for laptop users, this feature isn’t that useful for desktop iMac users.
After clicking the “Stop Scan” button when you’re done, NetSpot will draw a colour spectrum that represents the weakest signal to noise ratio. The colour guide located at the bottom of the window will help you decode the graph colour-wise.
With NetSpot, you also get built-in speed tests, support for multiple wireless networks so you can see how your Wi-Fi and another Wi-Fi network overlap (and if there’s channel interference), etc.
Overall, NetSpot is a very interesting app. Its main and primary feature – that I really liked – is having the ability to draw floor plans and measure the strength of my Wi-Fi network (or any Wi-Fi network for that matter) all around my house, locate dead points, etc. And with the app being free, it doesn’t get much better than that.
The Professional version (priced at $149) and the Enterprise version (priced at $449) (see differences here) are more aimed at professional companies looking to improve their wireless network system. For the average user the free version should be more than enough. And obviously, as the app is free, we recommend you try it. There’s no harm, right?