How strong is your Wi-Fi signal? Or, more importantly, how strong is your neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal? Where do you have to be to leech, er, acquire the best free Wi-Fi signal in your general surroundings? At your favorite strip mall? Outside of the local Starbucks?
Anyone can grab a Wi-Fi sniffer and go wardriving around to find the best possible signal for your personal or business use–that’s easy. Heck, you can even do that in Windows if you don’t mind staring at (and constantly refreshing) the tiny little “bars of service” meter in your wireless connections window. But this week’s “App of the Week” does a bit more than tell you the networks that give you the best signal, or when you might have acquired said signal in your trips around town. No, the app I’m profiling will actually go and map your connectivity as visualized “hot zones” overtop any map you’d like to use.
I say that as I do, for Ekahau HeatMapper isn’t perfect in the sense that it’s not just going to GPS up your surroundings, pull down an associated Google Map (or whatever your favorite web-based navigational helper happens to be), and start plugging in information based on whatever your location happens to be.
The major caveat to this app is that you, yourself, need to give it some kind of map to “follow,” which can be as easy as taking a .jpg screen-grab of an area from Google Maps and using within the program. As well, you’re the one in charge of telling Ekahau HeatMapper exactly where you are on the map. Or, as Ekahau puts it, “During the survey, left-click your location frequently on the map.”
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. “This is the lamest app ever if it makes me find my own map and click on it as I travel around.” Then again, without a GPS built into your laptop, you really don’t have much of a choice. And Ekahau HeatMapper’s final, heat image output overtop your specified map is as neat-looking as it is graphically accurate… you pretty much made it yourself, after all.
Download it here !