Network Discovery / Scanning
Network Analyzer by Techet.
This is a supremely useful tool with a wide array of features. It is available on both Android and Apple devices. It comes with a LAN scanning tool, Ping, Traceroute, Port Scanner, Whois lookup and DNS test with a wide array of options. It also has a detailed info page for Wi-Fi and Cellular connections. The most useful feature I have found is that it can show which BSSID you are associated to. You can correlate this with information from other sources to tell if you are connected on 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz in dual band WLANs and which AP you are associated to. Unfortunately the iOS version doesn’t have any information on RSSI, channel etc. but we can solve that problem with another app!
Airport Utility by Apple.
This app allows your Apple iOS device to scan your WLAN to see the available SSIDs / BSSIDs around you along with their channel and signal strength. It also allows you to search for a specific SSID. The search function searched for all SSIDs containing the string you enter and is not case sensitive. To enable the Wi-Fi Scan functionality, you will need to go to settings, scroll down and open the Airport Utility settings and enable the “Wi-Fi Scanner” function.
Network Performance Testing
Ping Analyzer by Adrian Granados.
This is one hell of a useful app when trying to understand the quality of a network connection. It has the ability to accept either a DNS resolvable Hostname, FQDN or an IP address and it shows you a graphical as well as numerical output of Min/Max/Average RTT, Jitter, Packet Loss, Network MOS and the resolved IP Address. Use it for testing connections to different hosts on the network to see where your problem could be coming from. (Hint: it may not be the Wi-Fi)
WiFiPerf by AccessAgility
iPerf comes to your mobile devices and MAC OS with an easy to use GUI. This allows you to run bidirectional throughput tests for both UDP and TCP with custom TCP ports. The app can function as both server and as client. I realize that the price of the app may seem steep at about $99.99 (last I checked). If you’re looking for something cheaper, check out the WiFiPerf Endpoints instead which are free and allow your device to act as an endpoint for any compatible iPerf 3.0.1 (or newer) server out there!
SpeedFlex by Ruckus Wireless Inc.
I will freely admit, this is here because I work with Ruckus Wireless Access Points a ton. But it is still a useful tool similar to iPerf and it has its advantages for doing a quick sanity check of a WLAN if you want to test directly between the client and AP. What I like about the tool is it gives the statistical mean of the throughput experienced on the network and can also show packet loss. You can choose the direction of the test and configure UDP / TCP.
SpeedTest.net by OOKLA
The last of the throughput testing tools is probably the most popular and for good reason. The people of OOKLA have spent a long time building a solid platform to enable throughput testing to hundreds, if not thousands of servers on the Internet. Speedtest.net gets a bad rap in the industry though because a LOT of people use it and misinterpret the results they get back. To be clear, this tool tests EVERYTHING from your phone ALL THE WAY to the specified server on Internet. Get a bad result? The problem could be anything.
Calculators & Planning
RF Toolbox by Rat River Technologies
This is really a tool for the outdoor wireless communications professional. If you’re setting up point to point links, or designing outdoor wireless and need to calculate RF on the fly while you’re out in the field, this is the tool for you! It comes with some great calculators for working out Fresnel Zones, Antenna Down-tilt and Down-tilt Coverage, FSPL, Curvature of the Earth, Cable Loss, Link Budget, EIRP, Wave Length and ITU rain fade. It also has some great GPS tools and a sites database that lets you store sites with a photo, GPS co-ordinates and other useful information!
SSID Calculator by Revolution Wi-Fi / Ryan Adzima
Available for: iPhone / iPad
Ever had THAT customer that wants a million SSIDs flying through the air? Vanity SSIDs? A shared office WLAN with 10 separate company SSIDs and nobody understand why it sucks? Well be befuddled no more! This tool clearly shows you the % airtime consumed by beacons due to Co-Channel interference, number of SSIDs, 802.11 Management Data Rate, Beacon Size and Beacon Interval! Here is to removing unnecessary management overhead and saving airtime for USER DATA!
MagicPlan by Sensopia
This App changed my life. How many times have you walked into a customer building and been told: “We don’t have CAD drawings, here is the fire exit plan, can you give us a design off that?” Well where I come from, that happens, A LOT. Magic Plan is a great app that uses your phone’s camera and 3 axis gyroscope to map out a room. You can make the plan more accurate by calibrating the floor plan with as little as a single measurement taken from your laser distance meter / tape measure and you can map individual rooms and assemble entire buildings. It also has a wide array of features for customizing the floor plan with furniture, appliances, fittings, doors, windows etc and can export the final plan in a variety of useful file formats including SVG, PDF and DXF so no more pixelated crappy plans when you zoom in.