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7 Free WiFi Scanner Apps for Windows in 2019

Use a free WiFi scanner to find weak spots around your wireless network. Good thing, it doesn’t require special hardware. If you found a weak spot and your WiFi device is in that location, then you might consider changing your router’s position. That could improve the WiFi signal of your device.

WiFi scanners allow you to see all the nearby access points (APs) and their details, including SSID (name of access point), channels, bands, signal strength, etc. There are many WiFi scanners that could be found, each with various capabilities. Typically, the more advanced it is, the more pricey it gets. But in this article, the tools below are already tested to perform necessary functions.

Free WiFi scanners for Windows

Seven apps landed on our list of free yet, effective WiFi scanners for Windows operating system. In alphabetical order, here they are.

1. Acrylic Wi-Fi Home – WiFi Scanner

Acrylic WiFi Home allows you to perform network analysis and monitoring of all access points or routers. You can easily check if a wireless device is in a weak spot by looking at the colored signal chart. Also, the chart’s color indicates if the signal is good, weak, or bad.

Acrylic WiFi Home

What we like about Acrylic WiFi Home

  • Show all access points’ (APs) network information (SSID/BSSID) and clients connected to the network.
  • Signal strength: displays a colored signal graph of all APs or routers detected
  • Network quality indicator: show basic wireless performance and security rating
  • Display a real-time channel scanner that classifies networks working in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. This section allows you to see access points overlapping at each other on the same channel
  • Show network authentication and WEP, WPA, WPA2 security information
  • Reveal WiFi network name when running monitor mode capture
  • Automatically alert you when a new version of the program is released

What we don’t like

  • Require Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5 in order to run

Download Acrylic WiFi Home 4.3.7073.19137

Supported OS: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7

Related article: Use Glasswire To Monitor Your Internet Traffic For Free

2. Ekahau HeatMapper

Ekahau HeatMapper WiFi utility
source: PC-Welt

If you want to map your WiFi network to locate strong and weak spots, then you should try Ekahau HeatMapper. It’s a trimmed-down version of a more advanced WiFi survey tool called Ekahau Pro. In fact, among our list, it’s the only app to offer heatmapping function.

What we like about Ekahau HeatMapper

  • User-friendly / short learning curve
  • Map signal coverage of your wireless networks including all other access points in the neighborhood
  • Heatmap feature is free, other tools provide it as a paid option
  • Provide a real-time view to all APs and their configurations
  • Find the best spot or setting (such as channel) for your APs
  • Check that APs are correctly configured (channel, security, SSID)
  • Scan and find open or unsecured networks
  • Take only one minute to install

What we don’t like

  • No reporting feature (but you can take a screenshot within the program if you want to share your WiFi heatmap)
  • Do surveys for only 15 minutes at a time (enough for mapping a small area only)

Download Ekahau HeatMapper v1.1.4.39795

Supported OS: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP

3. Homedale

Homedale WiFi / WLAN Monitor
Source: the sz development

If you’re looking for a WiFi scanner that’s very light on computer resources then Homedale is your answer. It helps users monitor the signal strength of multiple WiFi access points.

What we like about Homedale

  • Portable program: it doesn’t need to be installed and doesn’t leave any traces in your operating system.
  • Simple tabbed user interface: shows information on all detected network adapters, access points (name, MAC address, vendor, signal strength, encryption, frequency), and the corresponding signal strength of each APs
  • Monitor the signal strength of selected wireless adapters over time and store this information which can be exported to a plain text file
  • Display a real-time graph with details about the signal strength of APs, plus the ability to save it to popular image formats (JPEG, PNG, TIF, GIF, or BMP)
  • Show the frequency usage of all WiFi channels and locate the best channel for your access point
  • Ability to connect or disconnect to any wireless networks via right-click
  • The latest version allows you to display your WiFi’s accurate location using Google, Mozilla, or Open WLAN Map location services

What we don’t like

  • Missing heatmap feature

Download Homedale 1.83

Supported OS: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7

4. Netspot Free

Netspot Free WiFi Scanner
Netspot signal graph

Another great WiFi app called NetSpot, is a popular WiFi scanner that collects and analyzes WiFi data. NetSpot’s ‘discover’ mode lists all detected WiFi hotspots within your vicinity. It shows a table where you can access detailed information about all detected wireless networks.

What we like about Netspot Free

  • User-friendly interface, for novices and professionals
  • No login required
  • Show detailed information of all wireless networks (SSID, BSSID, graph, signal, band, channel, vendor, security, mode, etc.)
  • Double-clicking a network displays:
    • signal data of access point in real-time via graph or table
    • real-time graph of your router’s WiFi frequencies (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz)
  • Show when the network was last seen in your area
  • Easy upgrade for users looking for advanced features such as survey/heatmap and reporting capability, requires no additional installation

What we don’t like

  • Additional features such as visualization, heatmap, and export capability are no longer free since 2017

Download NetSpot

Supports: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista

You may also read: 5 free alternatives to Unlocker for Windows (2018 Update)

5. NetStumbler

NetStumbler classic WiFi scanner

NetStumbler is a classic WiFi scanner capable of detecting wireless networks using 802.11a/b/g standards. It can check and verify the coverage of your WiFi network. The unique part is, it can be used for wardriving, which means it can search for WiFi networks while you’re riding a vehicle. However, the big downside of this great app is, it’s no longer maintained. But in spite of this, it still works perfectly on Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows. Aside from that, if you’re still lucky to have a legacy Windows CE device, you can use its trimmed-down version called MiniStumbler.

What we like about NetStumbler

  • Display all networks in range with full details (e.g. MAC, SSID, Name, Channel, Speed, Type, Encryption, Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR))
  • Locate the best spot for a wireless access point
  • Detect other networks causing a conflict or interference (higher noise level means higher interference)
  • Results can be exported and shared with others
  • Support wardriving/GPS
  • Help aim directional antennas for long-haul WLAN links
  • Detect unauthorized (“rogue”) access points
  • Work best for old WLAN standards (a/b/g)

What we don’t like

  • Access points encryption method is incorrectly displayed (always marked as WEP even though it’s WPA or WPA2)
  • Newer wireless networking standards such as 802.11ac and 802.11n aren’t supported
  • Fail to work on Windows 7 and later versions.
  • No heatmapping capability

Download NetStumbler

Supports: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (32-bit)

6. Vistumbler

Vistumbler, a netstumbler alternative

The only WiFi scanner in our list that’s open-source is Vistumbler. It’s written in AutoIT programming language. The main purpose of Vistumbler is to map and visualize the access points near you based on gathered wireless and GPS data. It was created to replace the old NetStumbler. Basically, it uses the native Windows command ‘netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid‘ to show wireless access points information.

What We Like about Vistumbler

  • Support wardriving/GPS
  • Display the correct encryption method of access points (if AP’s encryption is enabled)
  • Export or import access points from Vistumbler TXT/VS1/VSZ or Netstumbler TXT/Text NS1 file format
  • Save access point’s location to a Google Earth kml / gpx (GPS eXchange format) file
  • Support live Google Earth Tracking (Auto KML automatically shows APs in Google Earth)
  • Speak the signal strength (SSID and RSSI) of APs
  • Portable version available
  • Open Source

What We Don’t Like

  • Displayed wireless details not as comprehensive as NetStumbler; doesn’t show the noise and SNR levels
  • Require Microsoft .Net Framework in order to work

Download Vistumber 10.6.5

Supports: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista

Read: Disable Windows 10 Update – an effective and permanent solution

7. WifiInfoView

WifiInfoView WiFi Scanner

Another powerful WiFi scanner on our list is WifiInfoView. It gathers all wireless networks in the vicinity and shows extensive information about them. When you click a wireless network in the upper section of the app, the lower section shows the raw WiFi information received from this device, in hexadecimal format. WifiInfoView also has a summary mode, which displays a summary of all detected wireless networks, grouped by channel number, company that manufactured the router, PHY type, or the maximum speed.

What We Like about WifiInfoView

  • Portable and light on resources.
  • Show comprehensive network information of all access points or routers
  • Ability to export the information of all detected networks in HTML or TXT file formats
  • Include a complete guide on how to use the program

What We Don’t Like

  • Doesn’t provide a graph with details about the signal levels of a network

Download WifiInfoView v2.46

Supports: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7, Windows Vista; Windows Server 2008 and earlier

Important Notes:

Just in case your anti-virus software flags one of the tools above as a virus, it could be a false positive (see example screenshot below). Make sure that you downloaded it from the links we provided.

Screenshot: Homedale developer assured that their WiFi tool doesn’t contain any virus or trojan

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