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Troubleshoot Wi-Fi with a Mac

  Wifiner The school where my husband and I work as a data management group has many hundreds of Macs, Windows PCs, Chromebooks and iPad. And around 100 Wi-Fi access points spread around a few dozen buildings. Wi-Fi means problems.

The nature of Wi-Fi means that the wireless network may have weak spots, hotspots and signal conflicts with other nearby networks. When something doesn't work properly and your computer or tablet doesn't get a good signal, it's time to do some troubleshooting. Here is a tool that can end problems.

Fine Wi-Fi analysis

With so many devices connected to so many Wi-Fi access points, so many buildings we have collected are some tools to help us troubleshoot weak points. The latest is Wifiner, a Mac Wi-Fi tool that lets you do a complete investigation, prepare a proper analysis, and with a Mac notebook in your hand, troubleshoot the difficult ones.

Wifiner is something of a newcomer to this segment of Wi-Fi tools, but focuses on the basics that include an easy way to visualize local network coverage with enough tools to identify connection issues; either in a home, a small office, a large office or, as in our case, several buildings. The feature I prefer is the ability to measure Wi-Fi coverage and network speed at the same time, which of course saves time while adjusting network access points.

 Wifiner in a building [19659002] The first step is to measure your network or locations of current Wi-Fi. For this you get some training as it requires you to set up and load a sitemap, set each location on the map, and walk around in a zigzag patter from wall to wall. Wifiner tracks the signal as you move from place to place. Along the way, you can test upload and download speeds.

Each project can be stored and used again, but once you have made the tour, Wifiner builds a heat map so you can see hot spots – literally and weakly.

How easy is this?

 Wifins in a building

Wi-Fi signals can be attenuated by a variety of factors, including wall materials, nearby noise sources and channel conflicts. Wifiner identifies the sites with weaker or conflicting signals. The visual heat maps come in almost a dozen types that tell you immediately whether an access point is optimally located or can be moved for better reception. Dead or weak zones are easily identified.

Wifiner is published by the same developers who took NetSpot to Mac users, so there is some pedigree in the background.

What is missing in Wifiner is what you get with NetSpot Free. Free. Wifins are not expensive, but it is not a trial-before-you-buy version.

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