In this article, we’ll be discussing Wi-Fi analyzers and how you can use them to improve the quality and also hopefully the speed of your Wi-Fi connection. We talk about the best choice for your Android, as well as what to do if you own an iPhone. Let’s begin!
What is a Wi-Fi analyzer?
Wi-Fi analyzers usually work by analyzing the signals of Wi-Fi networks in the range of your smartphone or tablet. They measure the strength of the signal, as well as show you the wireless channels that they are operating on. This is the important part, and we’ll expand on it in just a minute.
Before you start optimizing your Wi-Fi, though, go ahead and install a Wi-Fi Analyzer. The aptly-named Wifi Analyzer from farproc is a common choice for this on Android, but really any app that shows signal strength and channel usage will do. This article will assume you’re using the one we’ve provided, though..
How do I use it?
As soon as you open the application, you’ll see a screen displaying the Wi-Fi networks being used, the strength of their signal (taller is better) and the channels that they’re occupying. In this case, my network is “belkin.58dd”, and it prioritizes channel 6. The other nearby Wi-Fi network prioritizes 11, so these two have little to know interference with each other. In places like college dorms and apartments in big cities, however, you can see dozens of Wi-Fi networks occupying the same graph and the same channels, which means that they’re interfering with each other’s performance and may slow down or cut out.
Wireless signals are a funny, fickle thing. Most wireless routers are set to automatically change their wireless channels to whatever’s being the least-used in the area- you can see how the two routers picked up by my app are doing this. However, scaling up numbers starts to mean that this doesn’t work, which results in big issues for the routers all trying to compete on the same wireless frequencies. At this point, it becomes time for you, the user, to tweak your own router settings.
What do I do?
The instructions vary depending on your router, but most support the ability to manually select wireless channels to use. After running the Analyzer at various points in your house, select the channel that sees the least usage in your area, at which point your router will prioritize its traffic on that wireless channel. If you’re using a newer router and wireless device, enabling 5GHz and disabling 2.4GHz frequency is another way of boosting network reliability and performance, but will break on older devices that don’t properly support the frequency.
Finally, take a look at your power settings. Power-saving modes are enabled by default, but disabling them can often give you boosted wireless performance, especially on networks where there aren’t a lot of cluttered channels.
Wi-Fi Analyzer for iPhone
As the iOS software currently stands, Apple does not make this information available via API to software developers. What this means is, short of jailbreaking your device, you won’t be able to find an alternative that measures up to the Android version of Wi-Fi analyzer in the Apple app store. You can still get a bit of information from an app like Network Analyzer Lite, but not the numbers and detail of the Android counterpart.