Troubleshooting a wireless network can be risky, but with the help of some nifty tools, you can do it without any worries.
Thanks to Wi-Fi analyzers for Windows 10, you can detect rogue access points and perform site surveys, among others.
If you have managed a wireless network, then you know that it is as crucial as the other assets of an organization. For that reason at least, it is important to keep an arsenal of tools at your disposal to troubleshoot Wi-Fi networks.
NetStumbler is a classic utility for detecting 802.11 a/b/g WLANs. The program aids in the configuration verification and identifying poor signals.
NetStumbler lets you:
- Verify that your network is set up the way you intended.
- Find locations with poor coverage in your WLAN.
- Detect other networks that may be causing interference on your network.
- Detect unauthorized “rogue” access points in your workplace.
- Help aim directional antennas for long-haul WLAN links.
- Use it recreationally for WarDriving.
NetStumbler is available fro free and you can download it from the link below.
Another free Wi-Fi analyzer tool is Wireshark, which boasts of its huge community of users as well as rapid updates.
While it is best known for its Ethernet analysis, Wireshark also supports 802.11 and helps troubleshoot wireless problems and lock down security configurations.
Wireshark is completely free and can be downloaded from the link below.
Acrylic by Tarlogic Security comes in both free and premium versions. The Wi-Fi scanner supports a monitor and promiscuous mode to help you monitor network traffic.
It also includes a brute-force password cracking function to test the strength of a password. It displays a list of SSIDs and their corresponding details at the top of the application window.
It also displays Wi-Fi access points and shows details of the security mechanisms and obtains generic Wi-Fi passwords using a plugin system. The tool collects information from 802.11/a/b/g/n/ac networks.
- Access points: WiFi networks information (SSID/BSSID) and connected users.
- Signal level: Signal quality charts for WiFi channels and detected devices.
- Inventory: Naming known Wi-Fi devices.
- Passwords: WiFi passwords and default WPS Keys (password testing).
- Channels: WiFi channel scanner and WiFi networks through channels in 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.
- Security: Network authentication and security details for WEP, WPA, WPA2 and Enterprise (802.1X) WiFi networks.
- Hardware: No special hardware is required for its operation.
Acrylic Wi-Fi Home is suited for personal use and you can download it for free from the link below.
Wi-Fi Analyzer includes three tabs, namely Connected, Analyze and Networks. The Connected provides information about the current Wi-Fi connection.
It displays a graphic of the connection quality based on link speed and signal level in negative dBm at the top of the window.
Also, there are icons that show bad link speeds, weak channel, poor connection, absence of internet connection, and unsecured connections.
The Analyze page lets you make changes to boost connection strength. It provides access to graphics and the channel ratings, lets you switch between channels, and allows you to toggle between the frequency bands.
It also provides full access to customize the colors of the graphics and the SSID/MAC. Plus, there is an option to filter the SSIDs shown in the graphics according to signal bars, frequency band, overlapping, WiFi method, and network type.
The Network tab offers a list of all available SSIDs. It lets you filter the available connections according to their name and signal.
Wi-Fi Analyzer is available from the Microsoft Store for free.
Best Wi-Fi analyzer software for Windows 10 (paid version)
And now let’s see what are the best premium paid Wi-Fi analyzers available on the market.
These tools bring additional features and options compared to the free software listed above.
NetSpot WiFi is among the popular Wi-Fi scanners for network management and troubleshooting. Originally available on Mac, the tool has recently come to the Windows platform, with support for WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.
The tool lets you track all SSIDs linked to your network and manage them with ease.
It displays all operating channels that connect with SSIDs, as well as all the SSIDs interacting with each other. It also works to monitor the signal strength.
NetSpot also locates and eliminates rogue access points, detects unauthorized workstations, avoids cross-channel interference, and gets rid of false-positive intrusion alerts.
You can also check the security settings (Open, WEP, WPA/WPA2 Personal/Enterprise), non-broadcasting SSIDs and WiFi signal strength with the tool.
- Quick export of the active visualization into PDF
- Quick saving of heatmaps as PNG
- Enterprise-level customizable report builder
- Optionally export only the surveyed part of the map
- Import and export BSSID aliases
- Cross-project survey data sharing
- All survey data can be exported to CSV
- Customizable detection proximity for Access Points
- Customizable Access Point indicators with certain level of detailing
- Automatic predictive multi-floor AP positioning
- Multi-dimensional and custom SSID/BSSID grouping
- Guess range customization based on the area type
- Easily see which area is actually covered by your survey, and where you need to take additional measurements
- Basic graphic editor for quick area maps
- Report 2.4 and 5GHz separately, AP by AP coverage
- Non-broadcasting SSIDs supported
- Project auto-saving
- Shareable Preferences for easier management of multiple copies of NetSpot
The tool is available in multiple versions from $49 to $499, but it also has a free edition. Check out all the versions and choose the one that suits you best in the link below.
This wraps up our list with the best Wi-Fi analyzers that you can use on Windows 10.
If you have any other suggestions or questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to check them out.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2017 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.