Frequenty Asked Questions

WiFi Explorer for macOS

Is there a way to know which network I am connected to?

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

Can WiFi Explorer detect hidden networks?

No. Unfortunately, Apple's official framework for wi-fi scanning, CoreWLAN, does not provide any information on hidden networks. However, WiFi Explorer will find and display the information of a hidden network if your Mac computer is associated (connected) to it.

Can I use external Wi-Fi adapters with WiFi Explorer?

No. WiFi Explorer is required to use Apple's official framework for Wi-Fi scanning, CoreWLAN, 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.

What is the difference between the "solid" and the "dashed" lines in the channels graph?

In the channels graph, "solid" lines represent infrastructure or managed networks, while "dashed" lines represent ad-hoc networks, also known as computer-to-computer networks.

What is the difference between the "parabolic" and the "trapezoidal" shapes in the channels graph?

In the channels graph, 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.

I have multiple wireless devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad) but I can't find them in the list. Why?

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 for macOS

Does WiFi Signal give me the same information I get when doing "Option + Click" on the system's Wi-Fi icon?

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.

What does the yellow triangle with an exclamation mark mean?

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.

WiFi Signal doesn't seem to recommend any alternative channels for my network. Why?

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.

When I run WiFi Signal it does nothing (i.e. it doesn't show up in the system's menu bar). Why?

If there are too many icons in the menu bar, the OS 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.

Have more questions?

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