People used to connect to a WiFi network only with a laptop; now, they are bringing all their WiFi-enabled gadgets into the wireless environment, including their smartphones, TVs, smartwatches, speakers, etc.
To make matters more complicated, business policies such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) allow users to connect freely to a network.
All of these devices slow down a network making browser speeds crawl and surfing the net or performing online tasks slow.
Not only does it slow down the network, allowing access to a wide range of devices can also put your WiFi clients and AP's at risk.
Here is our list of the top WiFi analyzers:
- SolarWinds WiFi Network Analyzer with NPM – EDITOR'S CHOICE Equipped with proactive scanning, monitoring, and troubleshooting to help you monitor and manage large-scale wireless networks. Start a 30-day free trial.
- NetAlly AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer PRO – EDITOR’S CHOICE This detection and analysis tool for 802.11 systems automatically documents the presence of wireless signals and captures traffic for analysis. Available for Windows and macOS.
- InSSIder by MetaGeek This WiFi visualizer is available in free and paid versions with the paid plan offering more analytical features. Runs on Windows and macOS.
- Acrylic WiFi A WiFi identifier that creates a signal quality graph for the wireless broadcasters that it encounters, showing the signal strength of each service. Available in free and paid versions. Runs on Windows.
- WiFiInfoView by Nirsoft A free WiFi analyzer that is available in a long list of languages. This is a reliable and useful identifier of wireless signals that decodes their characteristics. Runs on Windows.
- Homedale This free wireless network stumbler has some great visualization features, including a signal strength graph and a footprint mapper. Available for Windows and macOS.
- NetSpot This utility scans the air for nearby APs and then tracks their signals. It can overlay signal strength and footprint on your floorplan. Available in free and paid versions for Windows and macOS.
- iStumbler This wireless network scanner shows a list of all the signals it spotted and the information for each is constantly updated. Runs on macOS.
- Tamosoft TamoGraph Site Survey This tool discovers wireless signals and lists them, showing the AP’s make and model, signal strength, and throughput rate. You can also feed it a floorplan and get a heatmap. Available for Windows and macOS.
- LizardSystems Wi-Fi Scanner Free for personal use, this tool spots wireless signals on 802.11 a, b, n, g, and ac. All signals within range are plotted together on one graph for comparison. Runs on Windows.
- Ekahau Heatmapper A great tool for visualizing signal footprint and strength on a floorplan that you input. This is a free tool and it runs on Windows.
Hackers can install rogue AP's or crack your security encryption with the help of sophisticated hardware sniffers.
And if you think your wireless stays within your building, think again, you might have lots of signal leakage which allows a hacker to war-drive your network.
Knowing where your signals are, and the neighboring APs is key to keeping your network secure.
With the right site survey or stumbler tool, you can solve these issues pretty easily.
Finding why your AP's are having a bad day can be as simple as changing a channel or moving an object that creates interference.
A proper penetration tester can also help you identify where your weak security spots are, and improve them accordingly.
In this article we will be covering 25 tools which are a mix of top control and traffic analyzers, security auditors, and monitoring tools to help you narrow down issues and security flaws in your network.
Below are some of the most common characteristics/processes of the WiFi tools:
- WiFi Analyzer – May do any or some of the following: Scanner, Site Survey, Stumbler, Spectrum Analyzers, and WiFi Heatmapper.
- Auditing and Security – May do any or some of the following: Scanner, Site Survey, Traffic Analysis, Packet Sniffer, and Pen Tester.
- Monitoring and Management – Scanner, Inventorying, Site Survey, Stumbler, Spectrum Analyzers, Heat-mappers, Traffic Analysis, Packet Sniffer, etc.
We love these tools because they provide the functionality for analyzing, securing, monitoring, and troubleshooting a WiFi network.
Some of these are free, open-source, others are inexpensive, and others might be more appropriate for the enterprise.
Now let's dig a little deeper into each tool to help you find the one that fits your needs.
Related Post: Network Traffic Generator for WAN and LAN Stress Testing
What should you look for in WiFi monitoring tools?
We reviewed the market for wireless network monitoring software and analyzed the tools based on the following criteria:
- A monitor that can receive transmissions following 802.11a, b, g, n, ac, and ax
- Alerts for performance anomalies
- Signal strength monitoring
- Signal source detection that spots rogue devices
- Coverage for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels
- A free trial, a money-back guarantee, or a demo for a cost-free assessment
- Value for money that is represented by a suitable price with respect to the functions offered
With these selection criteria in mind, we have found some great WiFi analyzers for you to try and we found tools that will run on each of the major operating systems.
Here are the Top 23 WiFi tools:
Analyzer, manager, and monitoring
SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM) is one of the most comprehensive network performance monitoring tools for any infrastructure.
NPM comes with a WiFi Network Analyzer for proactive scanning, monitoring, and troubleshooting of WiFi networks.
The tool can help you monitor and manage large-scale wireless networks.
You can collect performance metrics information from APs, wireless controllers, and their clients.
It can also be used to collect all information from neighboring APs, like SSID, MAC address, RSSI, etc. It also gives you details into the IP addressing information of all APs and their clients.
- Create WiFi Heatmaps
- Visualize network paths
- Performance details of APs and clients connected
- WiFi analysis
Price: NPM starts at USD $2750.00, for more details on the price, get a quote.
Download: Get a free fully-functional 30-day free trial of the WiFi Network Analyzer with NPM.
SolarWinds WiFi Network Analyzer is our first choice for proactive scanning, monitoring, and troubleshooting large scale WiFi networks.
OS: Windows server
2. AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer PRO
WiFi Traffic Analysis and Site Survey
AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer by NetAlly is a comprehensive wireless network analyzer.
It can help you analyze 802.11a/b/g/n/ax wireless traffic in real-time.
The software can also generate full reports to help you with regulatory compliance for PCI, SOX, and ISO.
- WiFi traffic analyzer
- Automatic troubleshooting
- WiFi Interference Detection & WiFi Analysis
- WLAN Client Roaming Analysis
NetAlly AirMagnet WiFi Analyzer PRO works straight out of the box and has a great dashboard that squeezes in a lot of graphs about the performance and attributes of the nearby APs that it detected. Catch 802.11a/b/g/n/ax traffic with this useful tool for analysis and also compliance reporting for PCI-DSS, SOX, and ISO. The system has a great interference detection system that can explain any reception problems that your users are experiencing.
3. InSSIder by MetaGeek
WiFi Scanner and Site Survey
InSSIder is a WiFi scanner designed for small networks. It helps you optimize your WiFi network for the best performance.
The software can analyze your wireless network and alert you if there is a better channel.
It can also help you troubleshoot bandwidth bottlenecks, pinpoint interference, and trouble spots.
InSSIder gives you an overview of the wireless networks within the coverage.
It includes their SSID, channel, and more information. It is also capable of detecting rogue APs.
The software is only supported by Windows.
Price: Start using the software on a subscription-based price for $8.25 a month.
Download: Create a free account and test InSSIder for a limited time.
4. Acrylic WiFi
Advanced WiFi Scanner and Site Survey
Acrylic WiFi is a free WiFi scanner for Windows.
The dashboard shows WiFi information in real-time and allows you to optimize performance and troubleshoot your wireless networks.
With Acrylic WiFi, you can maximize AP coverage and find channel interference problems.
The software scans your surroundings and shows you an overview of the nearby WiFi APs. It obtains information on signal strength levels, SSID, channels, and WLAN security encryption.
- Scans 802.11/a/b/g/n/ac/ax
- Shows WiFi channels in 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
- Visualize signal strength and WiFi graphs
Price: There are two software editions:
- Acrylic Wi-Fi Home – Free
- Acrylic Wi-Fi Professional – $19.90/license
Download: Acrylic WiFi Home edition for free.
WiFi Scanner and Site Survey
WiFiInfoView by NirSoft is a free wireless network scanner.
It surveys the wireless are surrounding your computer and gathers a wide arrange of information.
The software can display data of detected APs, such as SSID, Hardware Address (MAC), PHY Type, signal quality, RSSI, channel number, frequency speed, hardware information, and more.
WiFiInfoView also comes with a summary mode, which groups all wireless information found, by channel number, PHY type, or speed.
Download: WiFiInfoView from its official site.
Wireless Scanner and Site Survey
Homedale from the SZ development is a free WiFi monitoring and scanner software.
It can scan your WiFi network and nearby APs and monitor the signal strength using Homedale’s graphs.
The software supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless networks in the two popular frequency bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz).
You can use third-party services like Google Geolocation, Mozilla Location Service, and Open WLAN Map Service with Homedale to locate detected APs.
Some information that Homedale can detect:
- Nearby APs with their SSID
- Signal strength
- Security encryption mechanism
- Data rates
- Channel and frequency
Download: Homedale from its official site.
Wireless Scanner, Site Survey, and Analyzer
NetSpot is a free WiFi survey and analysis software for Windows and macOS.
It allows you to scan 802.11 WiFi coverage area, perform advances site surveys, and visualize all results in a single dashboard.
The software can also create WiFi heatmaps, so you can identify where the signal leakages or dead zones are.
- Visualize WiFi coverage
- Channel load
- Identify rogue AP's
- Create WiFi heat-maps
- Recommendations on boosting the WiFi signal
Price: The NetSpot software comes in four editions:
- Free Edition
- Home Edition – $49.00
- Pro Edition – $149.00
- Enterprise Edition – $499.00
Download: the NetSpot free edition.
Spectrum Analyzer, Stumbler and Site Survey
iStumbler is a wireless discovery software for macOS systems.
The tool allows you to scan and find WiFi networks, Bluetooth devices, and Bonjour services.
It can scan wireless in the 2.4GHz, and the 5GHz WiFi frequency ranges.
iStumbler gives you detailed information such as SSID, security encryption mechanism, signal level, S/N (Signal to Noise), Distance, Channel, and Frequency.
With iStumbler, you can view the location of all discovered WiFi networks, track the movement of your computer. You can also export the location database and movement to Google Earth.
Price: $14.99 for all six tools, features, and unlimited devices.
Download: Get a Free trial of iStumbler here.
9. Tamosoft TamoGraph Site Survey
Spectrum Analyzer and Site Survey
TamoGraph Site Survey is a professional WiFi site survey and RF planning tool.
You can use it, to measure and visualize 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi characteristics, such as signal strength, SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio), SIR (Signal to Interference Ratio), TCP/UDP throughput rates, and more.
Once you scan for wireless, the tool will automatically detect the AP location.
You can import floor plan maps into the application and overlay your heat-maps over them.
The TamoGraph site survey is available for Windows and macOS.
- Passive, active, and predictive surveys
- Spectrum Analysis
- AP geographical location
Price: TamoGraph Site Survey comes in two editions:
- Pro – 1 User License — $1,269.00
- Standard – 1 User License — $909.00
Download: Get a free trial of TamoGraph Site Survey here.
10. LizardSystems Wi-Fi Scanner
Wireless and Site Survey
LizardSystems WiFi Scanner is an advanced scanner for 802.11 a/b/n/g wireless networks and 802.11ac routers.
The software supports 2.4 and 5 GHz frequency bands.
The scanner finds and collects information from all APs within range.
It displays all collected data into the dashboard, along with a real-time signal strength line graph.
As any wireless scanner does, LizardSystems can collect all sorts of AP information, from SSID, signal strength (RSSI) and quality, MAC address (BSSID), data throughput rate, operating channel, and security encryption for each AP.
LizardSystems WiFi Scanner runs only on Windows.
Price: You can purchase the software through two different licenses:
Download: Get a fully-functional 10-day trial of Lizard WiFi Scanner.
11. Ekahau Heatmapper
Spectrum Analyzer, Site Survey, Mapper
Ekahau HeatMapper is a free WiFi site survey and mapping tool.
It can discover all nearby APs, (including rogue APs and hidden networks), and show their information like security settings, MAC, etc. Ekahau HeatMapper supports 802.11n and a/b/g standards.
The software detects and records the WiFi signal while roaming around the coverage area in your home or office.
Ekahau Heatmapper draws the signal strength data gathered in the survey into the floor plan.
The graphical representation of a heatmap allows you to see from the strongest to the weakest signal point in your wireless networks.
Ekahau HeatMapper is only available for Windows OS.
Download: Ekahau HeatMapper for free.
12. ManageEngine Wifi Analyzer Plus
WiFi Analyzer and Site Survey
ManageEngine WiFi Monitor Plus is a free diagnostics Android application that helps you analyze and survey your WiFi network.
You can view and troubleshoot WiFi networks and their connectivity at the convenience of your Android mobile device.
With WiFi monitor Plus, you can improve WiFi performance by keeping track of the WiFi channels and their interference.The tool will identify APs signal strength and filter them from weakest to strongest. It will also allow you to survey sites using floor plans and create heatmaps.
- AP Scans
- Signal strength graphs
- Monitor channel interference
Download: WiFi Analyzer Plus to your Android device.
13. WiSpy from MetaGeek
Advanced Spectrum Analyzer
WiSpy from MetaGeek is a powerful spectrum analysis tool, that can measure WiFi activity in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
It can collect radio frequency data and provide you with real-time visualization of your WiFi networks.
The visualizations are highly interactive. You can see interference from the graphs and locate the device that is causing it. The software can even help you identify non-WiFi sources of interference.
- Identify the source of interference
- Keep track of and manage saturated channels
- Find and remove WiFi dead zones
- Build comprehensive reports
Price: The software can be obtained through the product bundle Chanalyzer Essential for $999.
The price includes Wi‑Spy DBx, Chanalyzer with Report Builder, and a Dual-Band Directional Antenna.
Download: Free 7-day trial of WiSpy.
14. Wifi Analyzer by Farproc
WiFi Analyzer and Site Survey
WiFi Analyzer developed by Farproc is a free and simple WiFi analyzer for Android devices.
The app allows you to maximize the performance of your AP by keeping track of channels. The app supports both WiFi bands, the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
You can use the WiFi Analyzer from your Android mobile device and get graphical views of the WiFi APs around you.
The tool will show information such as SSID, channels, signal strength, frequency band, and security mechanisms.
- Take snapshots of the graphics
- Automatic scans
- Rate available channels
Download: Get the Wifi Analyzer Android App from the Google Play store.
Stumbler, Site Survey, and Mapper
Vistumbler is a free and open-source WiFi network scanner.
It can map and visualize APs around you by collecting data from wireless and GPS.
The tool displays a list with AP information such as channel, encryption mechanisms, SSID, and RSSI.
The software shows you live graphs of the APs, which are highly customizable.
You can also integrate it with Google Earth for large WiFi deployments and track all APs, and record their location.
The tool supports GPS through COM-based NMEA receivers, and you can export these GPS locations to Google Earth.
Vistumbler is available only for Windows systems.
Price: Free and open source.
Scanner, Stumbler, and Site Survey
Netstumbler is a free Wireless LAN surveying and stumbler tool for 802.11b/a/g WLAN standards.
It scans and lists all nearby APs and displays their information, from SSID, channel, throughput, MAC address, hardware vendor, and security encryption.
It can also help you find rogue access points.
Netstumbler is pretty popular because it can display additional information that some stumbler tools cannot.
It can show information on signal, noise, and SNR levels so that you can identify weak signals in the network and interference.
The tool also comes with GPS support that helps record AP locations when surveying sites.
It only supports Windows OS and Windows CE/Mobile.
Download: Get the latest version of NetStumbler from its official site.
17. PRTG WiFi Usage Monitor
WiFi Bandwidth and Data Monitoring
The PRTG WiFi Usage Monitor is a free WiFi bandwidth utilization monitoring tool.
It can help you detect imposed WiFi bandwidth caps and data overloads.
With this tool, you can find the top-talkers (users and devices) that are consuming the most WiFi bandwidth.
PRTG uses SNMP, flow, or packet sniffing to analyze traffic and monitor WiFi bandwidth.
With this tool, you can see how much bandwidth a specific device is consuming, and you can even go one step ahead and see the applications that are consuming the most.
Price: PRTG is free for up to 100 sensors. You can extend the number of monitoring sensors by upgrading to the paid license. The price for PRTG500 (for 500 sensors) starts at $1,600.
Download: Get an unlimited free version of PRTG for 30 days.
18. CommView for WiFi
Analyzer, auditing, and monitoring
CommView for WiFi is a WiFi monitor and packet analyzer tool developed by TamoSoft.
It can keep track of WiFi standards 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax.
CommView captures WiFi packets on the air and then makes them available for you to search and filter.
The list displays useful information, like APs, signal strength, network connections, protocols, etc.
The tool comes with powerful alerting capabilities, that can let you know when a specific type of traffic is detected through the WiFi.
- Scan WiFi APs
- Capture WLAN traffic
- View IP connections
- Specify WEP or WPA keys to decrypt
- Monitor bandwidth utilization
- VoIP module
Price: CommView for WiFi comes in three editions:
- CommView for WiFi – $455.00
- CommView for WiFi 1 Year Subscription – $179.00
- CommView for WiFi VoIP – $909.00
Download: Get a free evaluation version of CommView for WiFi for 30 days.
Sniffer, Pen Testing and Security Auditing
Aircrack-ng is a bundle of tools used for advanced pen testing, security, and auditing for 802.11 Wireless LANs.
The package consists of three main tools that can help monitor and assess WiFi security.
The software captures packets and can export all data to third party apps. It can also perform algorithms on the captured packets to find security weaknesses.
The tool is frequently used to perform pen-testing.
You can test network security with replay attacks, deauthentication, rogue APs, and more.
It is one of the most popular tools of white hat and black hat hackers for WEP and WPA PSK (WPA 1 and 2) password cracking.
- Packet capture and sniffer
- 802.11a/b/g WEP and WPA cracking (password recovery)
- FMS attacks
Download: Get Aircrack-ng from its official site.
Sniffer, Pen Testing and Security Auditing
Kismet is an all-in-one WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n security auditing software.
It can detect wireless networks and devices, sniff traffic, AP mapping (wardriving), and detect intrusions (WIDS).
The software is available for Linux, OSX, Windows 10 (under WSL framework), and BSD platforms.
Kismet can work with a varied number of wireless cards, as long as they support raw monitoring mode (rfmon).
It also works with additional hardware to capture packets from the air, from WiFi interfaces, Bluetooth, SDR, and more.
- It supports various wireless interfaces
- Wireless Intrusion Detection System
- Passive packet sniffer
- Find hidden networks (rogue AP's)
Price: Free and open-source.
Download: Download Kismet from its official site.
21. Omnipeek Network Analyzer
Sniffer, Analyzer, and Security Auditing
Omnipeek Network Analyzer is a packet sniffer and network analyzer tool developed by Savvius.
It provides real-time analysis for WiFi 802.11ac, wired, and VoIP traffic.
Omnipeek Network Analyzer works with most of the popular network interface cards out there.
It also supports more than 40 plugins through its API, so that you can extend its functionality.
To capture wireless traffic, Omnipeek offers a USB-connected WiFi adaptor.
It is only supported by Windows OS.
Price: For more information on pricing, contact LiveAction sales.
Download: Get a free 30-day trial of the Omnipeek Network Protocol Analyzer.
Sniffer and Network Analyzer
Wireshark is one of the most popular free and open-source analyzers for wired and wireless networks.
With Wireshark, you can troubleshoot, optimize, and improve the security of 802.11 wireless networks.
You can capture TCP/IP packets between the computer (Server) and a WLAN client.
You can also capture 802.11 control packets and the radio-layer information such as SSID, signal strength, etc.
- View layer protocols
- It supports decryption
- Capture data from multiple interfaces
- Packet sniffer
- Export results to CSV, XML, or plain-text
Price: Free and open-source.
Download: Download Wireshark for free here.
Sniffer, Analyzer, and Security Auditing
KisMAC is a free and open-source wireless network scanner and security tool for macOS.
It is designed for professional network security auditors and has similar functionalities as Kismet.
KisMAC can help you scan surrounding wireless and discover WiFi networks.
It can even find hidden networks, cloaked SSIDs, and unauthorized rogue AP's.
With KisMAC, you can also see connected clients in your WiFi network, including information such as IP, Mac addresses, signal strength, etc.
- WiFi Scanner
- WiFi Sniffer
- WiFi Security assessments and pen testing
- Support mapping and GPS
Price: Distributed under the GNU, KisMAC is free software.
Download: KisMAC source code from the GitHub repository.
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