Frequenty Asked Questions

WiFi Explorer

Yes. The network you are connected to is displayed in the table using a bold font.

No, WiFi Explorer cannot show information about hidden networks in a reliable manner because CoreWLAN (Apple's public framework for Wi-Fi scanning) does not consistently include in the list of scan results the networks that do not broadcast their name (SSID). However, full support for hidden networks is provided in WiFi Explorer Pro when using passive scan mode because this mode does not make use of CoreWLAN.

Both WiFi Explorer and WiFi Explorer Pro will find and display the information of a hidden network if your Mac is associated (connected) to it.

No. WiFi Explorer is required to use CoreWLAN, Apple's official framework for Wi-Fi scanning, and this framework does not recognize external wireless adapters. Support for externals Wi-Fi adapters may be added in the future, but at the moment only the built-in Wi-Fi adapter is supported.

"Solid" lines represent infrastructure or managed networks, while "dashed" lines represent ad-hoc networks, also known as computer-to-computer networks.

The shape represents the spectral signature of the physical layer and modulation type supported by a wireless network. A "parabolic" shape is used to denote HR-DSSS BPSK (High-Rate Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum with Binary Phase-Shift Keying), this is, wireless networks with supported data rates up to 11 Mbps (e.g. 802.11b when operating at 1, 2, 5.5 and 11 Mbps data rates). The "trapezoidal" shape corresponds to physical layer and modulation types that make possible wireless networks with supported data rates greater than 11 Mbps. Find out more about modulation types here.

WiFi Explorer is not a network discovery tool. WiFi Explorer only scans and displays the information of the wireless routers and access points that can be found within range of the computer running the application. It cannot detect or display information of client devices such as your laptop, iPad, etc.

WiFi Signal

Not exactly. In addition to what you get when doing "Option+Click" on the system's Wi-Fi icon, WiFi Signal also gives you noise levels, Signal-to-Noise Ratio, signal quality ratings (excellent, good, poor, very poor, extremely poor), channel ratings, and channel recommendations. WiFi Signal can also display signal strength and noise as %, which is sometimes easier to understand than dBm values.

If your network is already using one of the recommended channels or if simply all channels are saturated, then WiFi Signal will not offer any recommendations. Make sure channel recommendations are enabled.

It means one of three things:

  • The received signal strength is below 60%, or
  • The noise level is above 10%, or
  • The app has detected co-channel and adjacent channel interference.

When co-channel or adjacent channel interference is detected, the app will automatically recommend alternative channels if the app determines that switching to a different channel may reduce the level of interference from nearby networks.

In wireless networks, having a strong signal does not necessarily mean you have a good quality connection. Besides signal strength, you have to take into account noise and interference, hence the warning sign.

If there are too many icons in the menu bar, macOS will remove or prevent further menu bar apps from showing to avoid crowding and provide space for application menus. Make sure you close any unused menu bar apps to allow WiFi Signal to appear.

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