I have a network where the main PC is connected via Cat5e to the DIR 628 router. There is a desktop machine connecting via a D-Link PCI G520 (yes, it works with Windows 7 64-bit, but only at 54mb) and a Toshiba laptop connecting via a Realtek RTL8191SE.

On a good day, it all works very well, but not all days are good because I live in an apartment block (condos actually) and my Wi-Fi network is not the only one in the building.

Within range of my network:

  • two are running  Cisco-Linksys routers
  • four are running SMC routers
  • One is running Bell DSL (2wire)
  • one other is unknown
  • three are set to channel 10
  • two are set to channel 11
  • two are set to channel 6
  • one is set to channel 7

How do I know this, bearing in mind that I have not knocked on anybody’s door or carried out a survey in the lobby? How do I know that it is best for me to set my wireless router channel to 1 to keep away from the other wireless networks in the building? I will tell you..

It is called the ‘Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector’. See here.. http://www.xirrus.com/Products/Wi-Fi-Inspector 

It will show a variety of information relating to your own Wi-Fi setup. others close by, and can run three tests. There is also a Windows 7/Vista gadget and a version for XP which is in my opinion one of the most annoying gadgets ever. Clarity is not one of its strongpoints, BUT there is a button labelled ‘Show Networks’ and, when clicked upon, gives up useful information as per ‘Inspector’ but does not have the tests.

So, if you are setting up a Wi-Fi network and you want to know what others are setting which could have an impact on your own network, you need one or both Xirrus products.