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Summary:

If you find yourself using Wi-Fi more and more frequently, you’re not alone. As the numbers here show, business use of hotspots is growing very rapidly, and home Wi-Fi networks are key tools for many web workers. Do you monitor the Wi-Fi performance you’re getting, though? […]

If you find yourself using Wi-Fi more and more frequently, you’re not alone. As the numbers here show, business use of hotspots is growing very rapidly, and home Wi-Fi networks are key tools for many web workers. Do you monitor the Wi-Fi performance you’re getting, though?

If you tend to “set it and forget it,” it’s worth checking in on your actual Wi-Fi performance whether you’re in public or using your own network. Here are a couple of free tools that make this easy.

Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor does the footwork that many of the “look for network availability” tools do, and then some. It will display a list of available networks and also deliver lots of information about default encryption on networks you can connect to, what type of networks they are, and more.

On top of this, though, Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor delivers lots of detailed information about the signal you’re getting, and the signals available on other nearby networks. For the user of public Wi-Fi hotspots, it’s a great tool. It’s downloadable as a Windows Vista gadget, a Mac OS X widget, an XP widget, or a desklet for Linux.

When you’re using your Wi-Fi network at home, take a few minutes out to run through the battery of tests found in Qcheck. This tool will tell you what kinds of streaming throughput and signals you’re getting. You can also use it iteratively to test the kind of performance you might get if you move your router and access points around. (Wi-Fi is radio technology, and radio is weird, so this can make a big difference.)

Both of these tools are free, and if you’re increasingly using Wi-Fi, they’re both good to get.

  1. Slick set of tools, I never thought to monitor my wifi like this. Thanks!

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  2. Sam, actually the Mac version requires the install of Yahoo Widgets, something few Mac owners do.

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  3. [...] Windows/Mac/Linux: Free application Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor is a cross-platform Wi-Fi tool that displays available networks on a very cool radar map. More specifically, the app searches for Wi-Fi networks, displays strength, detects rogue access points, and helps you tweak your network for the best signal. The downside: Xirrus Wi-Fi monitor is only available in widget/gadget/desklet form. That means that in order to use it, on XP and OS X you have to install the Yahoo Widget framework, on Linux you have to install the Desklet framework, and on Vista you’ll need to re-enable the sidebar gadgets. That’s all somewhat of a bummer considering the whole widget craze generally went out the door circa-2006. However, Xirrus remains a worthwhile application with an unquestionably fun execution. Then again, if eye candy isn’t all that important, give previously mentioned NetStumbler (Windows) or iStumble (Mac) a try. Wi-Fi Tools [Xirrus via WebWorkerDaily] [...]

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  4. [...] Wi­n­­dows/Mac/L­i­n­­u­x­: Fr­e­e­ appl­i­cati­on­­ X­i­r­r­u­s Wi­-Fi­ Mon­­i­tor­ i­s a cr­oss-pl­atfor­m Wi­-Fi­ tool­ that di­spl­ay­s avai­l­ab­l­e­ n­­e­twor­ks on­­ a ve­r­y­ cool­ r­adar­ map. Mor­e­ spe­ci­fi­cal­l­y­, the­ app se­ar­che­s for­ Wi­-Fi­ n­­e­twor­ks, di­spl­ay­s str­e­n­­gth, de­te­cts r­ogu­e­ acce­ss poi­n­­ts, an­­d he­l­ps y­ou­ twe­ak y­ou­r­ n­­e­twor­k for­ the­ b­e­st si­gn­­al­. The­ down­­si­de­: X­i­r­r­u­s Wi­-Fi­ mon­­i­tor­ i­s on­­l­y­ avai­l­ab­l­e­ i­n­­ wi­dge­t/gadge­t/de­skl­e­t for­m. That me­an­­s that i­n­­ or­de­r­ to u­se­ i­t, on­­ X­P an­­d OS X­ y­ou­ have­ to i­n­­stal­l­ the­ Yah­o­o­ Widge­t frame­wo­rk, on­­ Li­n­­ux y­ou have­ t­o i­n­­st­all t­he­ De­s­kl­e­t fr­ame­wo­r­k, a­nd­ o­­n Vi­st­a­ yo­­u’l­l­ need­ t­o­­ r­e-ena­bl­e t­he si­d­eba­r­ ga­d­get­s. T­ha­t­’s a­l­l­ so­­mew­ha­t­ o­­f a­ bummer­ co­­nsi­d­er­i­ng t­he w­ho­­l­e w­i­d­get­ cr­a­z­e gener­a­l­l­y w­ent­ o­­ut­ t­he d­o­­o­­r­ ci­r­ca­-2006. Ho­­w­ever­, Xi­r­r­us r­ema­i­ns a­ w­o­­r­t­hw­hi­l­e a­ppl­i­ca­t­i­o­­n w­i­t­h a­n unquest­i­o­­na­bl­y fun execut­i­o­­n. T­hen a­ga­i­n, i­f eye ca­nd­y i­sn’t­ a­l­l­ t­ha­t­ i­mpo­­r­t­a­nt­, gi­ve pr­evio­­u­sl­y mentio­­ned NetStu­mb­l­er­ (W­in­do­w­s) o­r­ i­Stu­mble­ (Mac­) a tr­y. Wi­-F­i­ T­o­o­l­s [X­ir­r­us­ via W­e­bW­o­r­ke­r­Da­il­y] [...]

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  5. [...] give previously mentioned NetStumbler (Windows) or iStumble (Mac) a try. Wi-Fi Tools [Xirrus via WebWorkerDaily] Share and [...]

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  6. [...] Web Worker Daily has posted an article about a tool that Keeps Tabs on Your Wi-Fi. [...]

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  7. [...] That means that in order to use it, on XP and OS X you have to install theYahoo Widget framework, on Linux you have to install the Desklet framework, and on Vista you’ll need to re-enable the sidebar gadgets. That’s all somewhat of a bummer considering the whole widget craze generally went out the door circa-2006. However, Xirrus remains a worthwhile application with an unquestionably fun execution. Then again, if eye candy isn’t all that important, give previously mentioned NetStumbler(Windows) or iStumble (Mac) a try. Wi-Fi Tools [Xirrus via WebWorkerDaily] [...]

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  8. [...] W­i­ndo­­w­s/Ma­c/L­i­nu­x: F­ree a­p­p­l­i­ca­ti­o­­n Xi­rru­s W­i­-F­i­ Mo­­ni­to­­r i­s a­ cro­­ss-p­l­a­tf­o­­rm W­i­-F­i­ to­­o­­l­ tha­t di­sp­l­a­ys a­va­i­l­a­bl­e netw­o­­rks o­­n a­ very co­­o­­l­ ra­da­r ma­p­. Mo­­re sp­eci­f­i­ca­l­l­y, the a­p­p­ sea­rches f­o­­r W­i­-F­i­ netw­o­­rks, di­sp­l­a­ys strength, detects ro­­gu­e a­ccess p­o­­i­nts, a­nd hel­p­s yo­­u­ tw­ea­k yo­­u­r netw­o­­rk f­o­­r the best si­gna­l­. The do­­w­nsi­de: Xi­rru­s W­i­-F­i­ mo­­ni­to­­r i­s o­­nl­y a­va­i­l­a­bl­e i­n w­i­dget/ga­dget/deskl­et f­o­­rm. Tha­t mea­ns tha­t i­n o­­rder to­­ u­se i­t, o­­n XP­ a­nd O­­S X yo­­u­ ha­ve to­­ i­nsta­l­l­ the Yaho­o­ Wi­dge­t­ fr­ame­wo­r­k­, o­n Linux y­o­u h­ave t­o­ inst­all t­h­e De­skl­e­t frame­wo­rk, a­n­d­ o­n­ Vist­a­ yo­u’ll n­eed­ t­o­ r­e-en­a­ble t­h­e sid­eba­r­ ga­d­get­s. T­h­a­t­’s a­ll so­mew­h­a­t­ o­f a­ bummer­ co­n­sid­er­in­g t­h­e w­h­o­le w­id­get­ cr­a­z­e gen­er­a­lly w­en­t­ o­ut­ t­h­e d­o­o­r­ cir­ca­-2006. H­o­w­ever­, Xir­r­us r­ema­in­s a­ w­o­r­t­h­w­h­ile a­pplica­t­io­n­ w­it­h­ a­n­ un­quest­io­n­a­bly fun­ execut­io­n­. T­h­en­ a­ga­in­, if eye ca­n­d­y isn­’t­ a­ll t­h­a­t­ impo­r­t­a­n­t­, give pr­e­vi­ou­sl­y m­e­n­ti­on­e­d N­e­tStu­m­bl­e­r­ (Windo­­ws) o­­r iSt­umbl­e­ (Mac) a try­. Wi-Fi To­­o­­ls­ [X­i­r­r­us vi­a We­bWork­e­rDai­ly­] [...]

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  9. [...] free software tools that I’ve used to precisely measure your wireless signal and throughput in this post.  Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor is a good tool for both finding available networks, and checking the status [...]

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