Free Tool of the Week: Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector

wifi-inspector An indispensable tool in any IT pro’s toolkit is the Wi-Fi analyzer. You need to be on top of your wireless status—signal strength, Internet speed, range, and so on—and be able to troubleshoot any wireless-network problems as they crop up. There are quite a few powerful tools out there that will help you with these tasks (see AirMagnet's WiFi Analyzer), but not many of them are both powerful and free. Enter Xirrus's nifty Wi-Fi Inspector.

Wi-Fi Inspector runs on Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP (as well as Mac OS 10.5 or later). Wi-Fi Inspector provides detailed information about available Wi-Fi networks, management capabilities for a laptop’s Wi-Fi connection, and tools with which to troubleshoot Wi-Fi connectivity problems. You can perform a site survey, locate Wi-Fi devices, detect rogue APs, verify AP settings, and even aim Wi-Fi antennas. In short, Wi-Fi Inspector is an extremely beneficial tool for anyone deploying or operating Wi-Fi.

From the tool's main menu, you can access the Radar View, which displays all the local Wi-Fi network names and related devices that the tool has scanned. You can also perform quick connection, speed, and quality tests from this screen. I was particularly impressed with the Geiger-counter-like test for locating strong or weak wireless APs.

Additional features include a real-time graph of signal strength of one or more Wi-Fi networks with an eight-minute history, the ability to directly connect/disconnect to Wi-Fi networks, and the option to enable/disable Wi-Fi adapters (Windows 7 and Vista only).

For more information about Wi-Fi Inspector, and to download the tool, check out the Xirrus website, and be sure to watch the following video about the tool.



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