Recently, we switched to a bigger office with a larger area space. And one of the major problems that we faced was the placement of the Wi-Fi router. We weren’t able to place it perfectly where every corner of the office gets equal coverage. So, to solve that, I used a mix of Wi-Fi analyzer and mapping apps. In case you are in the same shoes, here are the best Wi-Fi mapping apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac.
What is Wi-Fi Heatmap?
Before we move on to the Wi-Fi mapping app, it’s important to understand a few key terms.
Wi-Fi analysis and Wi-Fi survey or mapping are the first. Wi-Fi analysis gives you information about nearby Wi-Fi networks like signal value, noise value, interference, channels, etc. Now, Wi-Fi analysis is the data at a single point. If you want to know the Wi-Fi signal value across your floor, house, or office, it is called a Wi-Fi survey or mapping.
Wi-Fi mapping involves creating a Wi-Fi heatmap. Wi-Fi heatmap, basically, shows you the strength of your Wi-Fi signal around your office or home floor map. It uses different color codes to mark the coverage. These color codes represent Wi-Fi signal strength. Wi-Fi signal strength is represented by dBm (decibels milliWatt). To simplify, Wi-Fi strength is basically a number between 0 and -110. The smaller the number, the greater is the strength of the Wi-Fi. For instance, -40 is better than -60. Having said that, anything below -85 is a usable Wi-Fi signal.
Wi-Fi Mapping App for Android
WiFi Analyzer and Surveyor
WiFi Analyzer and Surveyor is my quick go-to app to analyze Wi-Fi networks on Android. Unlike other Wi-Fi apps, it doesn’t show any ads. The app works in 2 modes – Analyzer and Surveyor. The Analyzer mode lets you know the strength of the Wi-Fi networks at a particular point.
If you want to create a Wi-Fi heatmap, Surveyor is the mode you are looking for. Now, by default, the app has 1 standard office floor plan. If it works for you, you can use that or upload a custom floor plan. The app accepts normal JPG or PNG images. There are a lot of websites like Floor Planner that’ll let you quickly create a custom floor plan. Once you have the floor plan, just walk to the location and long-press on the floor plan to create a heat zone. After you have mapped the entire floor, you can export the Wi-Fi heatmap.
My favorite feature is that it provides you a heatmap with respect to all available Wi-Fi networks. In case you have multiple Wi-Fi routers or SSIDs within the space, you can easily switch between the Wi-Fi networks in the Wi-Fi heatmap survey.
- Quick Wi-Fi analyzer
- Ability to load custom floor plans
- Exports Wi-Fi heatmaps with signal strength
- Exported heatmap contains a watermark
Wi-Fi Mapping App for Windows
Ekahau Site Survey
Ekahau Site Survey is a popular Wi-Fi mapping app. It lets you load your custom floor plan and analyze the Wi-Fi signal across space. The app doesn’t have any built-in floor plans and hence, you would have to load your own custom floor plan image. Now, Ekahau Site Survey has 2 Wi-Fi mapping modes: Stop-and-go and Continuous mapping.
Continuous mapping is where you can create a path within your floor plan. You can start walking across the path and it’ll create a signal strength path. Next is the Stop-and-go mode which I mostly use. You can click on a point on your floor plan, sit there, and let Ekahau detect the signal strength level. This way, you can walk across the entire floor, create points, and look at the Wi-Fi signal level.
The only caveat with Ekahau is that it is a paid Wi-Fi mapping app. However, you can get still get an evaluation version for 14 days. The evaluation version doesn’t let you export the Wi-Fi heat map. So, you would have to take a screenshot. In order to get advanced analysis, auto-reporting, export report, etc, you need to purchase the business license which would set you back by around $7000.
- Option to upload your own custom floor plan
- Real-time Wi-Fi signal level
- Advance floor mapping tools like scale measurement, custom Wi-Fi radius, etc
Wi-Fi Mapping App for iOS
Unfortunately, there’s no free Wi-Fi mapping app on iOS. You would have to download a ping tester app on iOS and manually test the ping values at different corners of your floor. It’s not the most intuitive way as other platforms but does the job in dire times.
The best app to do test ping speed is Network Analyzer. My favorite thing is that it lets you ping a server or domain of your own choice and calculates the ping response time. Once you have all the ping durations, you can manually create a heat map. You just have to note down all the ping values and manually plot the points with the ping speed on a floor plan.
Download Network Analyzer for iOS
Wi-Fi Mapping App for macOS
Similar to iOS, the choices for free Wi-Fi mapping apps on macOS are limited. Thankfully, we have Netspot. Netspot is a free Wi-Fi analyzer and discovery app. It has a bunch of pre-loaded floor plans to choose from. You can also upload your floorplan jpeg or png and map your Wi-Fi network.
Netspot operates in 2 different modes: Discovery and Survey. Discovery is where you get analysis about different Wi-Fi networks around you. Netspot also includes noise levels that interfere with your Wi-Fi network and provides a summed up Signal Noise Level (SNL) ratio. It is the effective signal you receive on your device. The survey mode lets you create a Wi-Fi heatmap. You can plot points to detect the Signal level at different points of your house.
The only caveat with Netspot is that survey mode is only available for a 7-day free trial. You would also have to request Netspot for a 7-day activation code for this link.
- Analyze Wi-Fi signal around you
- Inbuilt floor and building plans for a quick survey
- Survey to mode load custom floor plan and plot points
Download Netspot for macOS
Closing Words: Wi-Fi Mapping Apps
If you want to create a quick Wi-Fi heatmap, Android is the best option to go ahead with provided you have access to one. Wi-Fi mapping options are better on Android. On iOS, you would have to do a lot of manual work. On Windows and macOS, most of the apps are licensed and paid. The free 7-day trial ones are listed above.
Also Read: How to Kick People Off Your Wi-Fi