capsule review

InSSIDer

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder InSSIDer

Note: This review addresses v1.2.0.0708 of the software.

If you have a wireless network, you know the true meaning of frustration. If your house has than one story, or if rambles, you probably have dead spots where your wireless network doesn't have a strong enough signal. In an apartment or an office in a shared building, you have more problems with competing networks as well. Trying to troubleshoot wireless networking can be a nearly impossible task. That's where InSSIDer, a great piece of free software, comes in.

InSSIDer finds all wireless networks within range of your PC, and displays their signal strength as it changes over time. It also shows visually the channels on which your wireless network is set.

Why is all of this important, and how can you use InSSIDer? First is that you can walk around your house or office, and see the strength of the network in different locations. Based on that, you can either relocate your PCs, or relocate your wireless router, until you fix the problem.

In addition, by showing all wireless networks within range, and showing on which channels they broadcast, you can look for network conflicts. For example, you may find out that on the top floor of your house, a neighbor's wireless network is broadcasting on the same channel as yours--and that its strength is even stronger than yours, causing no end of problems. Based on that, you can change the channel that your router uses for transmission.

The upshot? InSSIDer is one of the best utilities for troubleshooting wireless networks. That it's free makes it only better. Note that you'll have to install this software on a PC with a wireless adapter; it won't work with PCs that are connected to a network via Ethernet.

--Preston Gralla

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder InSSIDer

Related:
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.