The following tools should be used for testing and educational purposes only as explained in the article, abusing them isn’t wise!
I’ve been setting up wired and wireless networks for some years now and for me, I find that setting up a wireless network can be a bit more challenging. You’ll have more variable that can interfere and disrupt the signal over using a wired network. Things like phones, walls, and other electronic devices can really hinder wireless performance so having the following tools can really help you out!
First off, you should be familiar with how a wireless network works and how to set one up. You can use these tools no matter how simple or complex your network is. The first tool is called MacStumbler. If you’ve ever bought any QuickerTek products then you might be familiar with this tool (it comes with almost all if not all QuickerTek products). MacStumbler is a small application that I use to get information about how strong your signal is. I generally use it when I am linking Airports together. It’s important to know how far I can place them apart while still leaving them close enough so they can talk to each other. MacStumbler also lets me know how far I can be from the Airport with a computer without loosing the signal.
I also use MacStumbler to secure Airports as MacStumbler tells me if a network is open to the public or if it’s secure. You could even use it to show you the open network at the library or any other free WiFi hotspot, that way you can move closer to the signal and get better service!
The second tool, is new to me but works quite well. It’s called WiFind and it’s a little plugin that changes the appearance of your Airport menu. When you click on the little Airport icon in your menu bar this plugin tells you of the WiFi networks it sees (as it does normally), it’ll show you if the network is open or closed and the signal strength of the network.
There are a couple of things I should note, you will need to have an Airport card equipped computer to use these applications. I do not have an Airport card in my MacPro at the time of writing, so I am not to sure how well they work with WPA (if at all) or 802.11n networks (if at all).
Morgan told me about iStumbler but he didn’t seem to know if it would work with WPA networks and I’ve never used that application. I have a feeling it’s similar to MacStumbler.