What a WiFi Stumbler Is and How It Can Help You

Wireless networks are used by many households to provide family members with broadband Internet access. They enable users to connect multiple devices conveniently without the need for running cables throughout the home. Most mobile devices require a wireless connection in order to access the net, and nearly everyone gets restless if their smartphone can’t get online.

There are many instances where you may need to locate a wireless network in order to connect your mobile device or smartphone. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool that assisted you in your search? Well, a Wi-Fi stumbler is an application that might be just what you need. Let’s investigate how this tool can help you navigate through the world of wireless networks.

What is a WiFi Stumbler?

A WiFi stumbler is a software application that will help you find nearby wireless networks. It is a tool that can also be very helpful in providing information that can be used to tune your network’s wireless router. Stumblers are available for all major operating systems as well as mobile devices. Their main purpose is to search and report on network characteristics when you are not attached to a network. They can also be instrumental in planning a wireless network installation.

There are also dedicated hardware implementations of WiFi stumblers that may make sense for use by network professionals. They offer more flexibility than a software application since they can be designed to be more compact and be easier to use in the field than a laptop.

How Does a WiFi Stumbler Work?

A WiFi stumbler uses your computer or mobile device’s wireless antenna or WiFi card to scan for nearby WiFi signals. It can reveal details of discovered networks such as SSIDs, channels in use, signals strength, MAC addresses, and the network’s security status. In some cases, they can discover hidden SSIDs and provide statistics on failure or success of data packets traveling through your wireless connection.

The information that is gathered by the net stumbler will be displayed in a format that is human readable. This information can be used to determine which wireless network you should use or to diagnose issues that your network may be experiencing.

Why Should I Use a WiFi Stumbler?

WiFi stumblers are primarily used for surveying the local wireless networks. If you are planning on implementing a new WiFi network, a stumbler can help ensure that it is designed to provide adequate coverage to all prospective users. A home wireless network may be experiencing performance issues or be subject to dead spots around the home. Using a stumbler you can identify these spots and perhaps modify the location of your router to increase the coverage area.

Of course, one of the main uses of a WiFi stumbler is to locate a WiFi network with which you can connect. You are looking for a network that is not secured so you can connect without providing any authentication credentials like a password or user id.

Is KisMAC a WiFi stumbler?

KisMAC is an open-source, wireless network discovery tool developed for the Mac OS X operating system. It is a powerful but not particularly user-friendly app that is designed to be used by network security professionals. This free software is distributed under the GNU General Public License.

The application will scan for networks in passive or active mode and is capable of WiFi sniffing and hacking. It can be used to crack WEP and WPA keys using brute force attacks and packet re-injection. You can use the tool to monitor your own network and it will work as an effective stumbler to discover nearby wireless networks. The tool is no longer maintained and is illegal to download or possess in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Lichtenstein due to the potential malicious purposes for which the tool can be used.

What Are the Best WiFi Stumbler Tools?

Unlike some classes of software tools, you will not find many WiFi stumblers online. This is because to access a website, you are obviously already online and do not need to locate a network to which you can connect your device. If you want to engage in WiFi stumbling, you need to have the app running on your computer or mobile device. Let’s take look at some of the best network stumblers available for you to download to your computer.

NetSpot

NetSpot is a versatile WiFi surveying application that runs on both the Windows and Mac operating systems. It is a full-featured, comprehensive WiFi stumbler that can help you troubleshoot and upgrade your network. You can display various aspects of the discovered networks by kicking off passive or active surveys.

Active surveys can be used to learn about the upload and download speed of the network as well as the wireless transfer rate. You can also conduct throughput testing with this tool. In a passive survey details on your network’s signal-to-noise ratio, signal and noise level, number of access points, and frequency band coverage among other statistics are displayed. The tool offers custom reports and the ability to export data to PDF or CSV files.

NetStumbler

NetStumbler is a WiFi stumbler for Windows systems. It is a free utility that works with some, but not all, wireless network cards. The program can detect networks using the 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g standards. Its user interface resembles that of Windows Explorer so will be easy to navigate for Windows users. The program starts scanning automatically when opened and continues to scan until you terminate the program.

iStumbler

Here is a WiFi stumbler for the Mac that is available at the Mac App Store. It scans your area for WiFi networks and displays them in a list so you can choose a network with which to connect. It offers a number of outstanding features that will assist you in controlling your wireless network. A Timescale slider lets you see any networks previously detected or just the results of the most recent scan. Detailed information about each network, such as the network type and encryption status, is displayed graphically. You can simply click on a network to open a connection monitor.

Homedale

This WiFi stumbler can be used on both Mac and Windows systems. It can recognize signals from 802.11a, b, g, n, and 802.11ac routers. The app can interface with various map applications such as Google maps to display the exact locations of WiFi signals. All network details are displayed in a user-friendly interface with signal strength presented in a periodically updated line graph. This application is excellent for determining where to move your router to achieve the best signal coverage.

WiFi Map

Mobile devices that run the Android or iOS operating systems can take advantage of the WiFi Map app. It is designed to allow global mobile users to find free WiFi connectivity wherever they are located. The tool is powered by a community of users that add WiFi hotspots to the application. It is an excellent example of a program fueled by an expanding social network.


Whatever type of computer or mobile device you prefer to use, there is a WiFi stumbler that will run on your system. Whether you need to find a new place to locate your router, are planning a new wireless installation, or simply want to search for free WiFi, a stumbler will fit the bill.

 

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