Top Wi-Fi Heatmap Tools
A WiFi internet connection – one of the most important parts of our daily lives in the 21st century. Especially during times like the COVID-19 crisis, we need good WiFi now more than ever since we are trapped in our own houses for the majority of the time. However, many of us have faced an annoying problem that involves not having a good WiFi connection throughout the entire house. Some parts are even WiFi dead zones, meaning the signal doesn’t even pop up there.
So, how can we fix this problem by knowing where the signal is strongest and where it is the weakest? If we eliminate the guesswork out of the issue, we can focus on fixing it immediately. The best way to take care of this is to use a piece of software known as a WiFi heatmap. You don’t always have to rush to solutions like stressing over buying mesh WiFi vs WiFi range extenders, as it may be simpler than that.
In this post, you will find out what a WiFi heatmap is, how it works, how to use it, and we will also show you a few of the best and most-used ones out there.
What Is a WiFi Heatmap?
This type of tool is also known as a WiFi signal strength mapper, meaning that it analyzes signal strength throughout your house and returns information showing which zones receive a strong signal, which receive a weak one, and which areas don’t even detect a signal at all.
Without this type of software, you wouldn’t be able to detect this type of information as easily or with such accuracy. As I mentioned, it will involve a lot of inaccurate guesswork that will leave you with more assumptions than solutions for the problem.
A few of the main reasons why you would be better off using a WiFi heat mapper include speed and accuracy. You will be able to know the signal strength of your entire home in just a matter of minutes. You will also be glad to know that the source is reliable and shows all you need to know, considering you use any of the tools I’ll mention in the list below.
How Does a WiFi Heatmap Work?
We already mentioned that this type of software receives signals from your router and determines where they are strongest and weakest, with precise measurements and details. However, you need to do a bit of work while the process takes place. This means that you will have to take your laptop or phone, based on whether you’re using a PC, Mac, or a WiFi mapper android app, and walk around your house as the tool maps out your home. Where there isn’t any signal being detected, these places will be called dead zones.
It’s best that you have a long-range WiFi router so that most of your home can have a WiFi signal, however, there are some places in most houses that don’t receive WiFi not because of range, but because of some type of furniture or walls blocking it. In this case, the WiFi coverage mapper software will show you where these areas are and the signal strength they receive so you can make a few adjustments and then test again.
5 Best WiFi Network Mapping Tools
Now that you can see the possibilities of using a WiFi heatmap tool, let’s review 5 of the best ones that most people are using. We will cover the most important features of each, including user interface, price, charts and mapping layout, performance, number of zones or maps, OS compatibility, IEEE standard version support, and more. Keep in mind that if you only want to improve performance for something like gaming, then you can benefit from learning about dynamic QoS and activating this instead of a more complicated process.
NetSpot is one of the few popular WiFi heatmap tools that is perfectly balanced for both professional and home use. They have custom plans for all situations, including home use, professional use, and enterprise-level use, making it one of the most reliable and versatile pieces of software on this list.
The tool is compatible with both macOS 10.10+ and Windows 7/8/10 versions. When it comes to compatibility, another great feature of this tool is that it works with all standard 802.11 network adapters. To add more, it is also very easy to use, as it was created for anyone to get a hang of their system no matter if you’re a pro or it’s your first time using a WiFi network mapper.
- 2 available modes: Discovery and Survey mode
- Presents all information in an interactive table
- Customizable noise charts and real-time display
- Export all data in a CSV file
- Can locate specific WiFi issues and recommend solutions
- You can create multiple zones for any project
Home Edition ($49): Best for home use. It features 2 available zones and 50 data points for each zone.
Pro Edition ($149): Best choice for small business. It includes a single-user license with a huge upgrade of 50 available zones 500 data points for each zone.
Enterprise Edition ($499): Includes business license for up to 10 users. This is the best option of all for a business, as it includes unlimited zones and data points, removing all restrictions.
2. Acrylic WiFi Heatmaps
The second choice on this list includes a more technical and professionally oriented WiFi heat mapping software. Acrylic WiFi Heatmaps offer a wide range of features to their users. It’s one of the best tools for professionals on this list, as it allows you to turn your laptop into an advanced network analysis station.
With this tool, you can analyze both the 2.4 and 5 GHz RF spectrum, tap into existing online maps or import your own maps and freely edit the already generated ones that it provides. As I said, it’s one of the best WiFi heatmap tools for professionals who know what they’re doing, as this tool provides many advanced and technical features.
- Very technical and perfect for advanced users
- Automatically calculates how many access points are needed and shows their locations
- 14 map parameters are displayed
- There are many formats to choose from for reviewing
- Checks and verifies the quality of your WiFi
- It can design WiFi installations
Acrylic WiFi Heatmaps Pricing
This WiFi hotspot mapper includes several packages that feature a variety of price ranges. All of them include separate features for various users. Here is what they offer:
Acrylic WiFi Heatmaps: One of the best versions available for making the most out of Acrylic WiFi Heatmaps.
- $129 for one month
- $325 for three months
- $879 for one year
- $2199 for a lifetime license
Acrylic WiFi Professional: Great for home use and services who can easily take care of WiFi coverage issues.
- $19.95 for one year
- $39.95 for a lifetime license
Acrylic WiFi Sniffer: Amazing for reviewing and analyzing anything related to WiFi heatmaps. This package also features great support that resolves all of your issues within 3 days maximum.
- $99.95 for one year
- $219.95 for a lifetime license
Acrylic WiFi Home: Includes basic features and is great for personal home use.
3. Ekahau HeatMapper
Ekahau is another amazing free WiFi heatmap software that is focused on providing a very user-friendly experience and an efficient solution to whatever reasons for your WiFi coverage issues. It has a unique feature that includes scanning all available networks in the area and analyzing them to provide a better solution to your problems.
Ekahau supports IEEE standards such as 802.11a, g, b, and n. It’s also compatible with most Windows versions but it doesn’t support macOS. It’s one of the best WiFi heat mapping tools that you can use in terms of detecting security settings, user-friendliness, pricing, efficiency, and performance.
- It supports the most common WiFi network vendors like Cisco, HP-Aruba, and many more
- Helps eliminate any interference issues
- Generates professional custom reports with many templates
- Finds all available networks and detects their security settings
- Designs a custom high-capacity WiFi network just for you based on analyzed data
Ekahau HeatMaps Pricing
Ekahau HeatMaps Basic (Free): This includes the basic features of the software that are meant to help you fix the most common WiFi network coverage issues.
Ekahau HeatMaps PRO ($5495): It includes an Ekahau PRO license, Ekahau Connect Subscription for one year, all of the Basic features, and more.
4. VisiWave Site Survey
With VisiWave Site Survey, you can easily analyze your WiFi network coverage and discover how to fix most issues. It’s one of the oldest tools for this sort of work, as VisiWave Site Survey has been continuously serving their customers and bringing in new features for 13 years. However, this tool is intended for larger-scale tasks when it comes to using a WiFi mapper app. It’s available only for windows and features a large list of features that will help out with your WiFi problems.
- Three ways of gathering data, including One point at a time, continuous coverage, and GPS positioning
- Excellent charts and readability
- A wide variety of custom reporting templates
- Helps you plan your home outlay for better WiFi coverage
VisiWave Site Survey Pricing
VisiWave Site Survey Basic ($549): Includes services like gathering important WiFi data, creating reports, and visualizing your WiFI coverage.
VisiWave Site Survey Pro ($849): Includes everything the basic plan does with an additional feature called predictive surveys.
5. SolarWinds NPM
Last but definitely not least, SolarWinds NPM is one of the most valuable and easy-to-use WiFi heatmap tools that currently exist. Why? Because SolarWinds is a network performance monitoring company that features much more than just WiFi heat mapping software in its system. Its software is quite versatile, as it’s great for both on-premises and hybrid network performance monitoring, as well as cloud infrastructure analysis.
- Provides a much faster system and more accurate analysis than manual survey systems
- Finds dead zones with extreme accuracy
- Gives you access to the entire SolarWinds Network Performance Monitoring platform
- Locates and tracks all mobile connections to the network
SolarWinds NPM Pricing
Network Performance Monitor Package (Starts at €1335): This package includes their network performance monitoring system, including the WiFi heatmap software and many other features.
There is also a free trial version.
Ethernet Vs Wi-Fi – Which One is Better for You?
Networking is one of the most difficult areas of IT. Whether from a standpoint of a programmer or that of a consumer, networking has always been the boogeyman. Just sharing a file between two computers with the same operating system can be an issue, let alone different systems. For most consumer applications, wifi is a […]
What is Port Forwarding for Gaming and Is It Safe?
Networking is one of the most complex areas of the IT industry, one that produces problems on a daily basis. Even to this day, it is somewhat difficult to share files between two computers on the same network, unless the user is well-versed in the witchcraft of sharing over WiFi or even by using an […]
Bluetooth 4 Vs 5 – What Are the Differences?
Wireless technology has been progressing rapidly in the past decade or so, to the point where we have seen multiple generations of standards and devices supporting them. From Wi-Fi to Bluetooth, progress has been made to accommodate newer devices that require more bandwidth and of which there are more in general. Bluetooth has had a […]
NETGEAR vs ASUS Routers
Do you know why it’s so hard to make a good decision when it comes to buying a new WiFi router and similar devices these days? It’s because we currently have so many choices to choose from, so many new technologies that offer new features, half of which we don’t even understand. Even though Netgear […]
TP-Link vs Netgear. Which Router Brand to Choose?
TP-Link and Netgear are two of the most popular WiFi router brands currently out there. You’ve probably heard of both but aren’t too sure which one is best at the end of the day. Well, this TP-Link vs Netgear comparison review will make sure to brief you on the most important details. You’d be surprised […]
How to Find the Best Wi-Fi Channel – Optimizing Your Wi-Fi Connection
Wifi has been around for more than 20 years and in that time, it developed to accommodate more devices, broader frequencies and new ways of operation. But even with that, a saturation of devices in the “legacy” 2.4 GHz range, can lead to interference and cause connection issues. Devices like mice, keyboards, headsets, mobile phones […]