Tuesday, 17 May 2016 07:44

Review - NetSpot for OS X and Windows

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Every person can benefit from a good WiFi analysis tool. NetSpot is an excellent one for Windows and Mac users alike, with free and paid versions.

NetSpot, by Etwok, LLC, is available on the Mac App Store, or as a direct download, for computers running OS X 10.6 or later. It is also available for Microsoft Windows.

NetSpot has two operating modes.

In discover mode NetSpot displays the WiFi networks around you giving critical information like SSID, channel, band, security, vendor and 802.11 mode. Now, this information you may well know from other tools, even the built in WiFi selection on your computer. However, what NetSpot adds is such useful information like signal strength and signal to noise ratio.

You can see effectively the other networks which are interfering with yours, providing information to allow you to move your access point, or disable other devices, or even change the channel your WiFi operates on.

In survey mode, NetSpot will show you the reach of your WiFi network as you walk around your home or office. You can draw a floorplan or load one in from a file. After a simple calibration you can then walk around with your laptop, while NetSpot figures out the extent of your WiFi, and conversely, where it doesn't reach.

This is a really useful feature and lets you see where you need to bolster your network to ensure maximum coverage.

You can use NetSpot for free, albeit only for non-commercial use. You also are limited to 50 data points and visible SSIDs, as well as some other restrictions such as no multi-floor surveys.

The Pro version gives you unlimited data points, customisable reports, hidden SSID scanning, multi-floor surveys, autosaving, commercial use license and many other features.

If you've ever wondered why your WiFi is flaky, give NetSpot a go! Even if your WiFi is solid, chances are you can still improve it. NetSpot helps you solve these problems.

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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