For end users struggling with poor Wi-Fi signals, Gizmodo put together a list of apps that detect where Wi-Fi is failing, and devise solutions to improve it.
To start, Gizmodo recommends that end users determine their Wi-FI’s current download and upload speeds, and check them against the figures your Internet Service Provider (ISP) promised. Once you have that data, apps like Ookla Speed test and Netflix’s Fast Speed test can conduct basic troubleshooting and help determine a better solution.
Outside of speed, end users can get a deeper look at their Wi-Fi troubles with analyzer apps, such as Wi-Fi Analyzer. These apps give readings on Wi-Fi strength and channel congestion, revealing the different wireless channels being used by local devices, and how busy each one is, Gizmodo reports. Other apps, like Wi-Fi Heatmap even allow end users to mark Wi-Fi signal strength on a map of their home or business once they sketch out a floor plan.
From there, apps can be coupled with other hardware to deliver a stronger Wi-Fi signal, Gizmodo says. For example, end users might purchase a Wi-Fi booster or repeater, which pass on existing signals to more areas in their homes or workspaces. Powerline networking kits, which Gizmodo says give end users “faster speeds and more reliable connections,” connects via a cable to end users’ router, then pulls from their house’s electrical wiring to send the signal to other main sockets. Finally, mesh networking solutions split Wi-Fi among multiple devices, instead of drawing from one central router, which gives a stronger signal all through end users’ houses, as long as they work with their ISPs.
What this means for decision makers:
In the case of faulty Wi-Fi, end users become decision makers – there are numerous apps and hardware solutions to pick from. However, Gizmodo recommends doing “some detective work” to make sure the correct solution is selected. To start, end users should make sure their app is compatible with their mobile device; for example, Ookla Speedtest only works on Android and iOS, while the Netflix works on Android and iOS, but only determines signal speeds on Netflix servers.
It’s also a good idea for end users to consider educating themselves on how Wi-Fi works in conjunction with the apps they select to use for troubleshooting. For example, end users who opt to use the W-Fi Analyzer app should know how to use the app’s features and switch to the Channel graph or Channel rating to see the list of available network frequencies, and which ones are the best ones to connect to. It is also good to know that the act of switching channels is done through a router’s settings page; some routers “will handle channel switching automatically…and moving to a less congested one can improve the signal strength you get.” Once these steps are considered, end users increase their chances of locating the best signal, and getting their Wi-Fi strength up.