The easy-to use free Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector allows you to search and troubleshoot Wi-Fi conections by providing you quite a few valuable data about the the reachable Wi-Fi networks.

Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector is a free tool that allows you to search Wi-Fi networks, manage and troubleshoot Wi-Fi connections, verify Wi-Fi coverage, locate Wi-Fi devices, and detect rogue access points.

Search and Troubleshoot Wi-Fi Connection - Xirrius Wi-Fi Inspector

The user interface is self-explanatory if you are familiar with Wi-Fi concepts. The first thing that catches your eye is the radar display. Honestly, I think this display is a joke. You can do a lot of things with software, but somehow I doubt that you can build rotating radar antennas with it. Xirrus admits that the orientation of networks around the circle does not indicate actual angle of location. All this diagram does is give you a graphical overview of the signal strength of the Wi-Fi access points around you.

Search and Troubleshoot Wi-Fi Connection - Xirrius Wi-Fi Inspecto - .Radar

Xirrus claims that this tells you the relative distance from the computer where Wi-Fi Inspector is running. However, since the signal strength depends heavily on the objects and the type of material that sits between the radio source and the receiver, Wi-Fi Inspector's diagram can only give you a very rough idea of the distance of the Wi-Fi access points. Nevertheless, the radar diagram looks cool and it makes you look geekier if you run around with your laptop to troubleshoot Wi-Fi. To increase the geek factor, you have to click "Radar" in the tools bar.

More useful is the networks table that gives you valuable information about the networks in your area. You can see the SSID (name of the Wi-Fi network), signal strength (dBm), network mode (802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g, or 802.11n), default encryption (None, WEP, TKIP, or AES-CCMP), default authentication (Open, WPA/PSK, or WPA2/802.1x), vendor (manufacturer of the AP or Wi-Fi device), BSSID (Basic Service Set Identifier / MAC address), channel, frequency (MHz), and network type (Access Point or Ad Hoc).

The History view shows you the signal strength of the different networks over a certain period of time. To make this view appear in the diagram, you have to select it first in the networks view. It is also possible to display the history diagram and the networks table together.

Search and Troubleshoot Wi-Fi Connection - Xirrius Wi-Fi Inspector - Connection Test results

The speed test function launches Speedtest.net. This allows you to measure the download and upload speed to the Internet for the Wi-Fi network you are currently connected to. "Quality test" connects you to Pingtest.net and measures packet losses. "Connection test" shows you whether the configured DNS server, the gateway (router), and the Internet are reachable. It also verifies whether the DNS lookups return results to your computer's queries.

Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector ^

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