6 useful Wi-Fi tools for Windows

Free or cheap apps can help troubleshoot your wireless network, turn your laptop into a hot spot and more

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WeFi

Tools like InSSIDer and Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector are great for finding hot spots that are currently in range of your laptop. But if you want to find hot spots in other locations -- a part of town that you'll be in later in the day, for example, or a city you'll be visiting next week -- you'll want to give WeFi a try.

Like other Wi-Fi sniffing tools, WeFi uses your Wi-Fi card to find your current location and show you nearby hot spots. You can click on a link to see a particular hot spot on a map, along with its address. (Note, however, that in practice I found it was not always accurate.)

But you can also type in a different location to see hot spots near that location. Click the Wi-Fi Maps tab and enter an address; a map of that location will appear on Google Maps and you'll be provided with various details about nearby hot spots, such as type (municipal, hotel, café and so on), distance from the location and whether there's an access fee.

WeFi
WeFi helps you find hot spots both near your computer and in other locations.

WeFi also helps you manage how to connect to hot spots. It can, for example, automatically connect you only to your favorite hot spots or only to hot spots that have been discovered by other WeFi members.

The basic version of WeFi is free, but there's also a version called WeFi Premium that you have to pay for. WeFi Premium finds and connects you to paid hot spots. The amount you pay for WeFi Premium varies depending on whether you want to pay an hourly rate, prepay for a certain number of minutes and so on. You'd be better off skipping WeFi Premium; it's much easier to find paid hot spots on your own.

Price: Free
Compatible with: Windows XP, Vista and 7
Download WeFi

 

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