Smartphone tools to keep your Wi-Fi network humming

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Ekahau offers most comprehensive set of Wi-Fi site survey features in three-product test

In the early days of Wi-Fi, site surveys were fairly basic and involved running around with a laptop looking at simple signal levels. The next step was mapped-based tools that provided a good visual of Wi-Fi coverage, but still involved carrying a bulky laptop around.

Today, we have map-based Wi-Fi surveying mobile apps you can run on your Android-powered smartphone or tablets. These allow you to create heat maps of Wi-Fi coverage using a small and lightweight device. And for those vendors that offer a laptop-based surveying product, the data can be exported there for further analysis.

We tested Fluke Networks' AirMagnet AirMapper, WolfWiFi Pro from Enterprising Apps, and Ekahau Mobile Survey.

WolfWiFi Pro, at a mere $50, is the least expensive but doesn't offer laptop-based software for further analysis. (Watch a slideshow version of this story.)

If you're planning to or already have purchased a laptop-based solution — typically offering more features and functionality than mobile apps — then consider AirMagnet or Ekahau. If throughput is crucial for your network, AirMagnet offers map-based throughput surveying.

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