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improve wifi speed

Data plans tend to be limited, and connection speeds are sometimes not all that impressive. So when you use an Android phone (or any smartphone for that matter), Wi-Fi becomes an essential way to get online.

Today I’ll be showing you two different apps designed to make your Wi-Fi experience better so you can get better speeds and a more stable connection. These are both for Android, but you can actually use what you learn from them with any Wi-Fi device, including your laptop.

Improving Wi-Fi Connectivity At Home

Wikipedia says: “Many 2.4 GHz 802.11b and 802.11g access-points default to the same channel on initial startup, contributing to congestion on certain channels”. So while there are several available Wi-Fi channels, chances are that you and all of your neighbors are actually using the same single channel for your wireless communication. This causes interference and can slow things down.

You can always tell which Wi-Fi channel you are using using your access point’s configuration interface; but how can you tell what channels you neighbors are using? This is important so you know what’s free and where to switch, and this is where our first app comes in: Free Wifi Analyzer. With over 5 million downloads and over 61,000 reviews averaging 4.5 stars, Wifi Analyzer kicks some major butt, and provides a plethora of information about your wireless situation. Let’s take it for a spin:

improve wifi speed


This is the first screen shown when you launch the app, and right away, you can see how most of the networks around here are centered on channel 6. Only one network sits around channels 1-3, and channels 9 and up appear to be completely clear. Let’s swipe to the next screen:

improve wifi signal

Here, you get to select a network and see its signal strength graphically.  This display constantly updates, and can also beep according to the signal level (more beeping means a stronger signal). This is fun because you can walk around with your phone like a metal detector and see where the signal grows stronger or weaker: Does this or that wall actually block your Wi-Fi signal?

The last feature I want to show you is what I call “the bottom line”. This is the screen where Wi-Fi Analyzer recommends which channel you should switch to:

improve wifi signal

As you can see, my home network sits on the absolute worst part of the spectrum possible. Wifi Analyzer says I should switch to channels 11, 12, or 13, and I tend to agree. Doing this will result in less interference, and thus in a better connection for everyone (even my neighbors will have less interference with their Wi-Fi connections!).

Okay, that’s great for when you are at home and you get to control the access point’s channel. But what should you do to get a better connection when you’re outside, at a coffee shop or an airport?

Improving Wi-Fi Connectivity While On The Go

When you’re in a public location, the biggest problem with the Wi-Fi connection is usually poor signal strength. In other words, the access point is simply too far away. This can be very frustrating, because you usually don’t have any way to know where to go for better connectivity. Which way is closer to the access point? If you start walking around, you may lose the connection or end up making it even worse.

Well, this is where Wi-Fi Radar comes in. This handy little app also enjoys some stellar reviews (over 1,100 reviews averaging 4 stars), and its claim to fame is its ability to show you where access points are physically. So you get a radar-like display with your phone in the middle, surrounded by access points. It comes with simple instructions:

improve wifi signal

So when using it, you will find yourself slowly rotating with your device. People may look at you oddly, but you can just tell yourself they are suffering crappy connections and you’re smarter.  Once the scan starts, it looks like this:

improve wifi reception

This is the trickiest part in using the app. In the screenshot above, I have separated both bars so you can see them clearly. The brighter bark (around the 6% mark) moves on its own; the darker one (around the 20% mark) moves when you rotate the device slowly. Your goal is to keep them together. This means you need to very slowly rotate the device, a little bit at a time, while the progress bar moves. You are going to look pretty stupid while you’re busy doing this, but that is the price to pay for good connectivity.

This process takes a good two minutes, or even more. Once you’re done, you get a display that looks like this:

improve wifi reception

When you move around with your device, the display updates and things shift around. Even after all of this work, the display may not be correct; it is best if you have some point of reference, because then you can rotate the whole display as needed, using the “Result Offset” option.

improve wifi speed

This isn’t because the app is bad (it’s actually quite good), but because it is trying to do something that is remarkably difficult. If you’re patient and determined, you may find yourself enjoying the best Wi-Fi signal your airport can offer.

Other Wi-Fi Essentials

I am always on the lookout for awesome Android apps; did I miss an important Wi-Fi related application? Let me know in the comments, and I might review it!

Image Credit: ShutterStock

  1. RV
    July 23, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Iam using a wifi in my hostel. I am getting low strength of signal. Can i increase my signal strength by using this app in android mobile.. RV

  2. Anna Dagum
    August 14, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Also, try downloading the Cloudcheck app. Cloudcheck has a feature called Smartifi that monitors your wireless usage per device connected and allows users a holistic view into their network’s performance and productivity. Super useful for troubleshooting and learning how to configure your router’s settings for optimized performance!

  3. mr try
    April 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I already try it and it doing great..good

  4. Anonymous
    December 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    There is Wifi Fixer in the Android Market.

  5. Lycan
    December 9, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Anything similar for Windows 7? 

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 10, 2011 at 12:50 am

      To which of the two utilities?

    • Erik Iversen
      December 16, 2011 at 12:56 am

      Try the Xirrus Wi-Fi Monitor desktop gadget for Windows 7.

  6. Maxxratt
    December 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Great article. Thank you.

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 3, 2011 at 12:49 pm

      You're welcome! I'm glad you liked it.

  7. Kyle MacDonald
    December 2, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. Going around campus trying to find the access points is a nightmare. Also with my home network I can make sure I set my stuff to my own channels so I get the least amount of noise. Thank you!

    • Erez Zukerman
      December 3, 2011 at 1:39 am

      Sure thing Kyle! Let me how how you fare with the radar one, it can be a bit tricky to use. ;)

      • Kyle MacDonald
        December 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

        I tried it on my campus. It works when it wants to. I look a little silly spinning around doing it. For me it either displays their locations backwards or correctly. So I either go straight to it or the complete opposite direction.

        • Erez Zukerman
          December 9, 2011 at 2:37 am

          Oh man that's funny :) I know exactly what you mean about the spinning thing -- I felt silly just doing it in my apartment.

          I guess going in the complete opposite direction is also something, because then you can turn around and go straight to the signal. And since it's a campus, you get to know where the APs are pretty soon, right? Then you can just go there without the app.

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