We all want excellent WiFi signal strength, not just so we won’t be frustrated by dropping connections, but so we get the most from our devices. However, signal strength isn’t as simple as “good” or “bad”. There’s a grey area between good and bad, and with a heat map, you can turn that grey into color. A WiFi heat map will create a visual representation of your network so you can easily spot where WiFi is weakest, strongest, or just average, in your home. To create the map, you’ll need a WiFi heatmapper app! Here’s everything you need to know about picking the right WiFi heatmapper app for you.
What Is a WiFi Heatmapper
A WiFi heatmapper is a visualization tool for resolving WiFi issues. To create a heat map, you first need to pick a WiFi heatmapper app and install it. Once installed, you can run a WiFi site survey to analyze your network. The process typically involves you uploading a map of your home or building and carrying your device with you as you move through space. If you don’t already have a map, you can create one from scratch.
It’s called a heat map because your signal strength is displayed the same as in a traditional heat map. This means that areas of the strong signals are denoted in green, and as the waves get weaker, the color will shift through the spectrum becoming yellow, orange, or red. Red would represent areas of poor signal strength. You can think of a WiFi heatmapper app as a tool to check the overall health of your WiFi network.
How Does a WiFi Heatmapper Work
A WiFi heatmapper app will continually communicate with the WiFi access points as you move through the area. By testing the strength of this communication (the radio signals), it will create a heat map to represent where the signal strength is strongest or weakest. To get an accurate and reliable WiFI heatmap, most apps will ask you to mark your location on the map as you path your way through the building. Since you need to move around, you will need a portable device such as a laptop.
How to Pick the Right WiFi Heatmapper
To create a reliable WiFi heatmap that you can use to make meaningful improvements to your network, you need to pick the right app. Although WiFi heatmapper apps will largely do the same thing (create a heatmap), they are not all equal. So, what should you be looking for when picking a heatmapper app?
Criteria for a Good WiFi Heatmapper App
Ease of Use
You want an app that is easy to navigate and has a straightforward process for creating a WiFi heatmap. Look for an app that has a good user interface and one that uses clear instructions for creating the heat map. Heatmapping is something that you might want to do several times as you make changes to your network. For example, you might find that you had a WiFi weak spot next to your fish tank. This makes sense because water absorbs radio waves in this frequency. Water is so good at absorbing waves in this frequency that we use this technique to heat water and therefore food, in Microwave ovens. Typically, WiFi will only penetrate 5 inches through water, so if you have a fish tank of a greater size between your router and your device, you will have a very weak connection, if you get one at all. You might decide to relocate the fish tank or relocate the WiFi-enabled device.
After you’ve moved things around, you will probably want to create a new heat map to check that your solution actually worked. If you pick a WiFi heatmapper app that’s difficult to use, you won’t want to conduct multiple WiFi site surveys.
Easy to Understand
Most heatmapper apps will create a colored overlay of your created or uploaded a map to denote WiFi network health. The colors should be distinct and meaningful. Is it easy to tell where has good WiFi and where has bad? What about the in-between? Can you tell with good confidence which has a stronger signal from looking at the colors? This can be a problem is an app uses too few colors or no gradients.
You need to pick an app that is compatible with your device, whether it’s a Windows or Mac device.
NetSpot is the best all-round WiFi heatmapper app that will suit the needs of most users, whether it’s for home WiFi improvement, or on a larger scale such as an office environment.