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When Wi-Fi issues strike, sometimes it is enough to perform the often-quoted technical advice of rebooting Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues? Why Does Rebooting Your Computer Fix So Many Issues? "Have you tried rebooting?" It's technical advice that gets thrown around a lot, but there's a reason: it works. Not just for PCs, but a wide range of devices. We explain why. Read More . A quick restart of your phone and router and the problem magically disappears. Sadly that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the problems persist.

Luckily we live in the age of the smartphone, and Android is well equipped to help you tackle technical issues. Whether at home or out-and-about, there are two apps that will help you improve your Wi-Fi signal and get you back to your Netflix marathon The Pros and Cons of Binge-Watching Television The Pros and Cons of Binge-Watching Television Binge-watching is a recent phenomenon that pretty much everybody has done thanks to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. But for all of its various pros, it does also have some cons. Read More  in no time.

At Home: Wi-Fi Analyzer

Whether you live in an apartment in the city or a house out in the suburbs, every home is likely to have a Wi-Fi router. With so many wireless signals broadcasting on top of each other, the area is likely to be quite saturated with other people’s Wi-Fi.

Luckily there is a solution to this unwieldy mess that slows down your connection.

Wi-Fi routers broadcast signal over a range of different channels. When one channel becomes overloaded with signal from other networks, then your Wi-Fi performance will be affected. Wi-Fi Analyzer helps you to overcome this obstacle by helping you choose the optimal channel for your network When Defaults Are Bad: How To Pick a Unique Wireless Channel For Your Router When Defaults Are Bad: How To Pick a Unique Wireless Channel For Your Router Wired ethernet will always be better than wireless connections, but sometimes you don’t have a choice - all manner of mobile devices need wifi. There is however one very basic step you can take which... Read More .

It isn’t immediately obvious in the app that you can swipe between screens to find different graphs and features. However, other than that one slight initial confusion, the app is very easy to use. There is a graph that shows you how all the Wi-Fi networks overlap on the differing network channels, which gives you nice insight into the most congested channels.

Wi-Fi Analyzer even provides a rated list of available channels for you to choose from.

Once you’ve selected the best channel for your network, finding the optimal spot in your house is the next best improvement you can make.

Wi-Fi Analyzer provides two tools to help you out: a signal strength gauge of your current network, and a graph showing the signal strength of the Wi-Fi networks in the area. Knowing the signal strength of the local networks can also be a great help when you are out and about, trying to select a reliable network.

Download: Wifi Analyzer (Free)

Out & About: WifiMapper

Preserving your data allowance is the name of the game when you’re not at home. That usually means finding a restaurant or shop with an open Wi-Fi network that you can latch onto.

Often, this is a cycle of walking around until you catch wind of a network, connecting, then waiting with baited breath to see if the connection works.

WifiMapper reduces the headache of finding a decent network by crowdsourcing a map of all available open Wi-Fi networks in cities and countries around the world. Opening the app displays a map of your local area with a pin on every known Wi-Fi network. You can finetune the map using the filters to narrow your selections by free or paid, whether registration is required, if the connection is time-limited, and the type of place.

Tapping on one of the pins brings up summary information about the location and the type of network. Tapping the information symbol shows more detail. You can vote to confirm if the network is free or paid, and you can leave tips for that location for other users.

WifiMapper even has an integration with popular check-in service Foursquare to provide you with reviews and ratings of the venue.

The crowdsourced app can only improve by getting as much information as it can on each connection and Wi-Fi network. To help contribute, the app does upload anonymous data to the developers, including the location of networks you connect to. If you are uncomfortable with this, there is an option in the settings to turn off data sharing.

Download: WifiMapper (Free)

Ready, Set, Improve!

Wi-Fi can be an invisible mystery to unravel especially when you’re getting less-than-stellar speeds.  If you use these apps, you’ll be equipped to quickly troubleshoot a poor connection either at home or on-the-go. After changing your Wi-Fi channel, there are more steps you can take that will dramatically improve your speeds 4 Reasons Why Your Wi-Fi Is So Slow (And How to Fix Them) 4 Reasons Why Your Wi-Fi Is So Slow (And How to Fix Them) When you rely on Wi-Fi, speed issues can hurt -- and Wi-Fi speed issues aren't always easy to diagnose. Here are some things you ought to check. Read More .

If you regularly connect to public Wi-Fi networks then it might also be worth getting yourself a VPN 5 Ways Hackers Can Use Public Wi-Fi to Steal Your Identity 5 Ways Hackers Can Use Public Wi-Fi to Steal Your Identity You might love using public Wi-Fi -- but so do hackers. Here are five ways cybercriminals can access your private data and steal your identity, while you're enjoying a latte and a bagel. Read More .

Have you tried either of these apps? What did you think? Do you have other suggestions? Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Artazum via Shutterstock.com

Originally written on December 2nd, 2011 by Erez Zukerman.

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  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.