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3/8/2018

[Review] Best WiFi Analyzers, Speed Tests, and Master Key Apps

When I recently searched for a free WiFi speed test scan, I realized there are several different yet similar types of WiFi apps and tools out there. It's confusing to keep track of the differences and intricacies between them.

At Kisi we just recently had to setup a new WiFi network in the office, so I downloaded a couple of different apps to see which WiFi networks existed how fast each one of those is.

The majority of these WiFi apps and tools fall in to the following categories:

  • WiFi Analyzer Apps
  • Speedtest Apps
  • WiFi Master Key Apps

WiFi Analyzer Apps

These tools help you find under-utilized WiFi channels that might just not being used by anyone. I have to say there might be better Analyzer Apps for desktop on MacOS but I’ve chosen Network Analyzer Lite by TechNet on Apple iOS.

Doing an initial LAN scan, the App shows all devices connected to the network including printers, Macbooks, tablets and servers.

Network Analyzer Lite

I then found one device and tested the ping to that device which was fluctuated between between 19ms and 39ms measured every second. However after watching the pings for a while, more and more 200ms pings showed up sporadically. A few days prior to these tests some coworkers had complained that their WiFi based soft phones dropped calls for half a second - this could be one reason why that was happening.

Network Analyzer Lite App

Testing additional functionality would have required to download Network Analyzer Pro including network speed tester, ping statistics, wifi LAN scan details & wake on LAN, visual trace route, whois and DNS lookup, fast/adaptive port scanner, DLNA service browser and scan & query history. For now I was just more concerned about the real ping and general upload and download rate on the network.

If you are on Android you might find the Wifi Analyzer app helpful. This free app turns your Android phone into a WiFi network analyzer. It shows the  WiFi channels around you and helps you to find a less crowded channel for your wireless router.

Generally speaking, there are tons of premium paid apps out there for the IT professional but for this purpose I was more concerned about simple speed insights.

Extremely annoying things happen when there’s interference in the mix. Should you ever want to calculate RF interferences, etc, check RF toolbox.

WiFi Speed Test Apps

For testing the real speed of the WiFi I went with Speed Test SpeedSmart WiFi & Mobile Network which does exactly what it’s supposed to do: Measure latency, download and upload rates of the WiFi network you are currently connected to.

Speed Test SpeedSmart WiFi & Mobile Network

A cool feature of this app is the 'connection grade' which in my case is 'B'. My average speed was 23.84 Mbps, maximum speed 28.24 Mbps and minimum speed 16.22 Mbps which is fast but it's not Fiber-Optic fast.

WiFi Speed Test Screenshot

Available for download on:

iOSSpeed Test

Android: Speed Test

WiFi Master Key Apps

Wifi Master Key Apps are tools for smartphone users that are useful for searching for, connecting with and managing their Wifi accesses. The apps have databases of over 2,000,000 WiFi hotspots and passwords and show the ones that are nearby on a map. End users love these apps because they can help you save money: if you can connect to a WiFi network then you don't waste cellular data when browsing the web.

WiFi Map on iOS

Provides passwords for free wireless internet access in public places hotspots. This app has more than 2,400 WiFi hotspots registered in New York City. As you can see on the screenshots below, the app works really good and shows you all WiFi hotspots near you. In New York City you can find a WiFi hotspot at basically every corner of the city. The app lists the WiFi network’s name and password as well as indicates if there is a free WiFi network nearby.This app can be incredibly useful for tourists because there's no need to use mobile data when connected.

For $4.99 in the app store you can purchase the pro version which includes offline maps and a tourist mode. With the pro version you can check if there is WiFi at places that are more than 4.0 kilometres away from you. If you do not want to use mobile data we recommend considering the pro version because the offline maps are vital when searching for a connection.

WiFi Map App

WiFi Master Key for Android

This a similar application to WiFi map on Apple that works the same way. See the screenshot below.

WiFi Map App Brooklyn

AirPort Utility by Apple

Airport Utility is a management App by Apple. It can be used to manage all AirPort base stations. But also to manage your WiFi Network. It gives a graphical overview of the WiFi network, information about connected WiFi devices and you can change the network and WiFi setting through this app. At the same time it the app has a WiFi scanner, which no other app has because of Apple’s API rules.

AirPort Utility by Apple
Apple iOS WiFi

There are additional paid options that can be bought and downloaded in the App Store.

In conclusion, these apps can be very helpful to optimize the conditions of your WiFi at home, at work, and also on the go. Many free options can be found in the App Store and the Google Play Store.

Brought to you by Kisi, a technology driven physical access solution powered by mobile, cloud and IoT.
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