I don’t know about you, but I’m not old enough to remember the very first Wi-Fi commercials. I can imagine how they looked, though: lots of enthusiastic people, moving around in their offices while holding laptops weighing 10 pounds in their hands.
It was the beginning of a new tech revolution, and everything looked simple. Wi-Fi was never simple, though. Experience teaches us that you can’t just turn on your device, connect to the Internet and then forget about it.
If you are not a geek, chances are that your home has lots of dead zones, areas where your devices are unable to connect to the network. And even if you can get a decent signal in most areas of your home, I bet that it’s not strong enough to allow you to stream movies in HD anywhere you want to.
It’s clear that Wi-Fi is far from being perfect, but the good news is that many apps can help diagnose and sometimes even fix the problems. Read on to discover my favorite apps that can help you solve the most frequent Wi-Fi issues.
Let’s assume that you want to start by debugging your Wi-Fi network. But you can’t fix what you can’t measure, right? Here’s where the Speedtest.net app comes into play. It’s a fantastic app that will help you measure the download and upload speeds, as well as the ping value. Install the app on your smartphone or tablet, and them move around the house, testing the signal strength in every room. You’ll get access to real-time graphs that show if your Wi-Fi connection is consistent or not, and you can share the test results.
I couldn’t even imagine life without having Wifi Analyzer installed on my phone! First of all, it shows you which Wi-Fi channels are too crowded, helping you gain a speed boost by choosing a free channel. Truth be told, we’ve got too few channels on the 2.4GHz band!
Then, it helps you evaluate Wi-Fi signal strength. You can move the router around the room to determine the best position, of course, but it’s much easier to get a pair of inexpensive SMA extension cables, and then be able to move the antennas wherever you want them to be. This way, one of them could be placed and oriented to best serve your home office, and the other one could help your kids keep up with their online gaming needs 😉
The last app on the list is WeFi Pro, aka Automatic Wi-Fi. WeFi Pro is often times used by people who are looking for a free Wi-Fi connection, but it is also one of the best apps for people who have two or more networks in their homes.
Why would anyone have two or more networks? Well, here’s a real-life example: most modern routers can operate on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Often times, the 5GHz band delivers higher speeds, but only if you are close to the router. As you move away, the 2.4GHz band sends a stronger signal, because lower frequencies don’t bounce off the walls, etc. that much. As you can see, with most 5GHz routers you’ve got access to two separate networks, which are managed by the same device.
With WeFi Pro and a 2.4GHz/5GHz router you’ll get the best of both worlds: a significant speed increase when you are close to the router (using the 5GHz band) and fewer dead zones (using the 2.4GHz band).
Of course, the signal is going to be even stronger if you use two routers, a router and a repeater, or other similar devices that are placed in different areas/rooms in your home.