The hierarchies of needs are a-changin'. Today's earthlings have a greater need for Wi-Fi hotspots than for bread and water.
It's true: online is the new real life. Most of our social interactions, work communications and entertainment go through our bandwidth. Mobile technology has sped up this dependency even further. However, since data plans are limited, we feel the pressing need to connect to a Wi-Fi hotstpot whenever possible.
Wi-Fi networks aren't always a bed of roses. Finding hotspots nearby, choosing the one with strongest signal or even finding out if there are intruders in our personal Wi-Fi network are issues that can easily come up. Fortunately, there are apps to help us make the most of our Wi-Fi network. Apps that will save us time, headaches and megabytes from our data plan. Let's zoom in!
Check your connection speed: Internet Speed Test 8/10
Optimal Software's Internet Speed Test (formerly SpeedChecker) a simple tool to test both our Android device's download and upload speed, no matter if you are over Wi-Fi (but also over GPRS, 3G and 4G). It's very easy to use, it takes just a few seconds to perform and it's very accurate.
A well-crafted gauge makes it more visually appealing. When testing is done, it displays a report which shows server, ping (ms), download speed and upload speed (Mb/s). All test results are logged, listed and accessible right after performing a test. The PRO version is ad-free and allows you to choose the server manually. Otherwise, it automatically chooses the closest server for testing.
Having connection problems is daily bread and it depends on many factors. One of them is the distance from your device to the hotspot (router, modem...). If you are experiencing low connection, you can try to find the perfect spot where signal is stronger using farproc's WiFi Analyzer.
The idea is straightforward: a real-time radar which displays in a graph Wi-Fi networks available and the intensity of their signal. You can move around to see how the signal waves change dynamically. Once you've found the perfect spot for the network you have access to, connect to it and enjoy the maximum speed. That's the main feature, but WiFi Analyzer offers additional info about networks and allows to change the way it is displayed.
Find hotspots: Free Zone - Free WiFi Scanner 8.1/10
Movile International's Free Zone finds Wi-Fi hotspots within range, places them on a map and provides passwords for some of them. Those passwords aren't hacked at all. In fact, other users of the app have voluntarily shared them.
Besides a well-designed interface, Free Zone is both user-friendly and highly customizable. You can automate some processes: connect to available WiFi, auto-update passwords list, ignore weak signal hotspots and enable push notifications.
Discover who's on your Wi-Fi: Fing - Network Tools 7.8/10
The connection speed on your network also depends on how many devices are connected to it. You can control the traffic among all your own devices but... What if a neighbor is on your network, downloading an endless list of .torrents? You can now discover any intruders in your Wi-Fi network thanks to Overlook's Fing.
But listing the devices connected to your Wi-Fi network is only one of the tools Fing comes with. It's a full-featured network manager which allows TCP scanning, ping, traceroute, connection tester among many other useful network tools.
Set priority between Wi-Fi networks: Super WiFi Manager 8.2/10
Mig Super's Super WiFi Manager is a comprehensive network manager which features most of the functionality mentioned before. Thus, you can check your network speed, use the radar to find nearby hotspots and check data usage.
However, it brings a few pure management features that make all the difference. For example, you can schedule connection to different networks and give priority to one over others. You can also tweak a great deal of parameters which will end up boosting your connection speed.