Poor WiFi can get in the way of experiencing our devices to their full potential. Most new electronic devices today, and especially those intended for entertainment, will be WiFi-enabled. Having a weak wireless signal can drastically limit what you can do with your device, and could mean using it isn’t practical at all. For example, devices aimed at video streaming or online games are unusable with poor connections. The same is true if you rely on WiFi-enabled devices to work at home. Productivity can be severely hampered by weak signal strength. By conducting a WiFi site survey, you can create a WiFi heat map and get to the bottom of your poor WiFi. Once you’ve done this, you can take action to correct it and experience more from your devices.
What Is a WiFi Heat Map and What Is It Used For?
Put simply, a WiFi heat map is a visual representation of the wireless signal strength of a network. WiFi heat map software typically overlay colors onto the map of the building. By looking at the colors and how they are distributed around your building, you can easily identify WiFi dead spots.
The goal of WiFi heat map software is to give people control over their WiFi network. If you’ve always wondered why the signal is spotty in the room next to your router, the WiFi heat map can help you identify why that is. For example, furniture, walls, and metal and block signals. Other radio wave emitting devices like radios, baby monitors, and microwaves have also been known to cause interference. Neighboring WiFi networks can also cause problems. A WiFi heat map makes it easy to identify problems you may otherwise have missed and form a solution. For example, you might expect a good WiFi signal in the room next to the router because the signal hasn’t had to travel far. However, if you have a thick bookcase on the wall the signal needs to travel through, which might be blocking the signal. Similarly, if you have your WiFi-enabled device located on a shared wall in a flat, you might be getting radio noise from your neighbor’s WiFi router.
How to Heat Map WiFi
To create a WiFi heat map, you first need to download and install WiFi heat map software. There are many WiFi heat mapping apps out there, but we’d recommend NetSpot for the majority of users for its ease of use and comprehensive features. Follow these steps to get started:
- Download NetSpot to your Windows or Mac laptop. You will need NetSpot Home, PRO, or Enterprise.
- Once you have opened the app, select Survey Mode. Then simply click “Start a new survey”.
- You will be asked to create and name a new project, and choose the zone and area type.
- You will then upload a map of your area by clicking on “Load from file”. If you do not have a map of the area ready, you can create one with NetSpot’s “Draw it” option. You can also start with the sample map to make the process even easier.
- When you start the mapping process, you will need to carry your laptop with you as you walk around the space, marking your approximate location each time you stop in a different location.
- Walk around and cover the whole area you want to be analyzed by the WiFi heat map software. NetSpot will help by showing your path and using green circles to denote the areas it has covered. You can use this feature to quickly see any areas you have missed.
- When you’ve finished, simply press “Stop scan”.
How to Read a WiFi Heat Map
Your finished WiFi heat map will use colors to represent areas of strong and weak signal. Green means excellent signal and will typically be present around the router itself. As the colors move from green to the warmer colors, the signal is weaker. Yellow would be considered good signal strength. Orange is weaker than yellow, and red is weaker than orange.
You might find the map looks how you expected it to, with red areas located far from the router. However, you may also find some surprises such as unexpected dead spots in areas you might expect a better signal. If this is the case, you should take a closer look at those areas of your space and try to figure out why. You can make amendments and create a new heat map to see if your solution worked! WiFi heat map software is great for helping you work towards an optimal WiFi setup.