Tracking Wi-Fi Networks

You canit hardly throw a MacBook without hitting a Wi-Fi network these days, and that network density can sometimes cause lost wireless signals and other interference. Good thing there are utilities out there to help you sort out the Wi-Fi madness.

MacStumbler The application I relied on for years was MacStumbler. It displays a list of every visible wireless network signal in range of your Mac, shows signal strength, what channel the device is transmitting on, and whether or not the access point is open or password protected.


Unfortunately, It wasnit ever updated for Intel-based Macs, and I havenit been able to get it to work on anything other than PowerPC-based Macs. If you are using a G3, G4, or G5 Mac, MacStumbler is still a great option - and it is free.

iStumbler If you have an Intel-based Mac, or are looking for an alternative to MacStumbler, iStumbler has you covered. Like the older MacStumbler, iStumbler shows a list of available wireless networks along with signal strength, channel, and security. It also shows Bluetooth and Bonjour devices, and includes one-click access to your network activity logs.

iStumbler is a Universal Binary application, and it is free.


Tools like MacStumbler and iStumbler are handy for finding nearby wireless networks that conflict with your wireless signal, and for helping you pick a channel for your Base Station or other wireless access point that is away from your neighboris frequency.

I often use iStumbler along with AP Grapher to root out problems with dropped wireless network signals. If you arenit familiar with AP Grapher, be sure to check out my Quick Tip on how to use it.

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