Equipped with a laptop fitted with a wireless network adaptor, you are free to surf the internet from a huge number of locations around the world. But whether you are out and about or connected to your own wireless network, problems can arise and you may be interested in finding out about the status of your connection.
Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector is a free tool that can be used to search for wireless networks that are nearby. When you are away from home, this provides a handy way to track down the nearest connection by tracking signal strength. At home, the signal strength monitor can also be used to test your own wireless network, checking its range and testing for blackspots.
The program interface is divided into four panels, with the radar giving an indication of nearby networks based on signal strength. The radar readout is something of a gimmick, but provides an easy way to determine relative signal strength at a glance. The Connection panel displays information about the network connection that is currently being used such as signal strength and the IP address that has been assigned.
The Networks panel displays more detailed information about any wireless networks that have been detected to supplement the data in the radar. This panel also provides access to the Locate Mode that can be used to home in on a particular wireless network. The final panel show details of the wireless signal history so you can see how stable your connection is over time.