I recently searched for a free WiFi speed test scan and 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 recently had to set up a new WiFi network in the office, so I downloaded a couple of different apps to see which WiFi networks existed and how fast each one actually is.
The majority of these WiFi apps and tools fall into one of 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 not be 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.
I then found one device and tested the ping to that device, which fluctuated between 19ms and 39ms 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, a few co-workers had complained that their WiFi-based softphones dropped calls for half a second—this could be one reason why that was happening.
Testing additional functionalities would have required me to download Network Analyzer Pro, which includes a network speed tester, ping statistics, WiFi LAN scan details and 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 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 an interference in the mix—should you ever want to calculate RF interferences, check out the RF toolbox.
WiFi Speed Test Apps
For testing the real speed of the WiFi, I went with Speed Test SpeedSmart WiFi & Mobile Network. It does exactly what it’s supposed to do: Measuring latency, download and upload rates of the WiFi network that you're currently connected to.
A cool feature of this app is the 'connection grade'—my connection received a 'B' because my average speed was 23.84 Mbps, maximum speed was 28.24 Mbps and minimum speed was 16.22 Mbps, which is fast but it's not Fiber-Optic fast.
Available for download on:
iOS: Speed 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 Wifi access. 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 and hotspots. This app has more than 2,400 WiFi hotspots registered in New York City alone. The app works extremely well 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 network’s name, password and indicates if there is a free WiFi network nearby. This app can be incredibly useful for tourists because mobile data isn't required when connected.
You can purchase the pro version, for $4.99 in the app store, 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 kilometers 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.
This a similar application, to WiFi map on Apple, that works the same way.
Airport Utility is a management app by Apple. It can be used to manage all AirPort base stations and it also manages 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. This app also has a WiFi scanner, which no other app has because of Apple’s API rules.
There are additional paid options that can be bought and downloaded in the App Store.
- Prompt 2
- Screens VNC
- IT Tools - Network Analyzer
- Scany - network scanner
- Net Status - remote server monitor