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How Do I Choose the Best WiFi® Detector?

Some devices can connect directly to a network.
A WiFi detector is used to find wireless network signals.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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WiFi® detectors are devices that are used to locate the presence of WiFi® service within a limited area, as well as define the strength of the signal within that immediate area. Available as a handheld device or as a small device that can be connected to a computer via a USB port, the WiFi® detector is an important tool for anyone who wishes to make use of wireless communications made available by different vendors who operate WiFi® hotspots. Choosing the right WiFi® detector often involves considering such factors as range, convenience, and price.

Not all WiFi® scanning equipment provides the same ability when it comes to detecting nearby WiFi® signals. Some detectors are specifically designed for short-range detection, an attribute that may work very well for anyone living in an area where there are WiFi® hotspots every few blocks. For people who live in less populated areas, going with a detector that is capable of locating WiFi® signals over longer distances may be a better option. For this reason, always check the range of the device before making a purchase.

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Another aspect to consider when choosing a WiFi® detector is whether a handheld model would be more convenient, or if a unit that can be connected to your smart phone or laptop computer would be a better option. Both types of the WiFi® scanner come with different ranges, so the issue here is mainly one of personal preference. If you find that it is easier to carry the handheld model in your pocket than to use a design that requires connecting it to your system via a USB port, then waiting for the software to initiate, then go with that option. Alternatively, if you prefer to keep all your laptop related equipment close at hand and prefer to simply connect the device when needed, the smaller detector that attaches directly to the computer may be more to your liking.

As with most electronic devices, price is also a consideration when selecting the right WiFi® detector. In general, devices with a shorter range will cost less. This does not mean that you cannot find a good quality WiFi® detector with a wider range for a lower price, but be prepared to research various brands in order to find the right combination of price and performance. While this may take some time, the end result is that you will find the WiFi® detector that will allow you to quickly find a wireless signal that is strong enough for your use, and be able to get on with enjoying the benefits of modern communications.

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Discuss this Article

anon932563
Post 2

What about devices that specifically tell you where the unsecured networks are? That's what is really needed when you are trying to find a connection when you are travelling. Secured networks are everywhere, but you can't use them without hacking into them.

FernValley
Post 1

Many modern computers do have built-in wireless detectors, especially laptops. However, it might be a good idea to invest in a wifi detector if you travel a lot and are reliant on the internet, because it can help if, for example, you end up staying in a hotel that has no wireless internet and need to check your email. This happened to me recently, and I had to go to some slightly creepy internet cafes.

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