Product Review – MetaGeek inSSIDer Wireless Network Analyser

The program is a free download from the MetaGeek Website or other download directories like TuCOWS or CNet. There is another application from this same team that works with a 2.4GHz spectrum analyzer for use in determining interference on this band, but it comes at extra cost.

The installation routine didn’t take long when I installed it on a Dell Studio 15 laptop that was lent to me as a review sample. It could work with the standard Wi-Fi network card that came with this laptop and could therefore work with any Wi-Fi network adaptor that is used with the host computer.

The program provides a “dashboard” with three concurrent views:inssider-screen

  • a table which lists the Wi-Fi networks that the program can find with their SSID, BSSID (MAC address) and channel for each detected wireless network.
  • a signal-strength / time graph for all of the discovered Wi-Fi networks
  • a signal-strength / channel graph for all of the discovered Wi-Fi networks

As far as I am concerned, the highlight of this program is the signal-strength / channel graph which is useful for identifying channel clashes or blank channels that you can tune the wireless access point to.

One of the main limitations is that it doesn’t detect “extended service set” networks nor does it support detection of multi-SSID access points which become a wireless on-ramp for many networks.. This may be of concern when using this program to manage routers with “guest-network” functionality or managing hotspots. Another improvement that I would like to see would be to provide for network grouping by SSID or BSSID (MAC address) so you can identify “foreign” networks easily.This would then help in identifying rogue access points or “evil-twin” hotspots easily.

I would then determine it as being very useful for “tuning” a wireless access point or router so it can coexist with other Wi-Fi networks, either as part of setting one up or troubleshooting a network. I would also recommend it as an essential tool for hotspot owners who want to keep their hotspot networks operating in an optimum manner and providing good customer service. It can also work well in “smoking out” rogue access points or fake “evil-twin” hotspots.

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