NetSpot Reviews

NetSpot Site Survey

Review by Artua
about NetSpot Jan 2012

Wi-Fi networking is great, unless you’re getting a weak or intermittent signal, in which case it can be frustrating. Your Mac can show you some detailed information about the quality of your connection, such as the RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) if you hold down the Option key and click on the Wi-Fi menu in your menu bar. You can also see statistics of all connected devices if you click on Wireless Clients in the AirPort Utility. Using these tools can be tedious if you want the big picture regarding your Wi-Fi coverage, or the best place to place your access point. Enter NetSpot.

NetSpot allows you to do a site survey for your home or building. A site survey is a diagram that shows various Wi-Fi parameters for a floor or section of your house or building. The first step is to create a map, first by giving the maximum dimensions (in feet or meters) and then using the basic drawing tools to provide some detail for walls and other features of the location. You can also apply text labels.

Once you’ve drawn your map, it’s time to start the survey! Just take your portable Mac, go to a point on the map, click the button, and NetSpot will sample various values for all nearby Wi-Fi access points. Note that the free version will only see open access points, so if you’ve configured yours to be closed (not broadcast its SSID) change this value before the survey. Once you’ve taken a sample, an area of the map will be colored in. Make sure to take enough samples so that the entire map is colored. Once you’re complete, you can see the map, which can display color-coded values for Signal to Noise Ratio, Signal Level, Quantity of Access Points, Noise Level or Signal to Interference Ratio.

So find out where you can get the best signal, or where to place your access point to provide the best coverage, and check out NetSpot today!

JOHN F. BRAUN, Jan. 9th ET, 2012