Table of Contents
- Why is Wi-Fi Access Point Monitoring So Important?
- Tools for Monitoring Wireless Access Points
- How to Choose a Wi-Fi Access Point Monitoring Tool
- How MetricFire Can Help
Monitoring wireless access points is business-critical, allowing teams to facilitate day-to-day workflows. These wireless access points (APs or WAPs) provide strong Wi-Fi signals and transmission ranges for sending and receiving valued information. But wireless access points are susceptible to cyberattacks that jeopardize your revenue and reputation.
Monitoring your wireless access points is critical for preventing unauthorized persons from downloading illegal content and jeopardizing network security. Organizations without WAP monitoring expose themselves to rogue users who can infiltrate networks and cause irreversible damage. Monitoring WAPs is critical for any security strategy in 2021.
Why is Wi-Fi Access Point Monitoring So Important?
Organizations monitor WiFi access points for multiple reasons, but the first goal is security. Monitoring WAPs prevents unauthorized persons from using Wi-Fi networks to download illegal content, access sensitive information, or otherwise jeopardize network security.
Other reasons for Wi-Fi access point monitoring include:
- Bandwidth analysis
- Improving Wi-Fi signal strengths
- Identifying an unauthorized IP address
- Diagnosing access point-related performance issues
- Monitoring uptime and downtime of APs and thin clients
- Generating access point performance and security insights
Even minor changes to WAPs can have a detrimental effect on an entire organization, such as a weaker signal strength that impedes productivity. So security-conscious enterprises are investing more resources in access point monitoring. Regular monitoring provides these companies with in-depth insights that influence future security and performance strategies.
For the most successful outcomes, organizations should monitor access points regularly. However, monitoring can be tough for small teams that lack resources. Wi-Fi access point monitoring tools, therefore, prove valuable.
Tools for Monitoring Wireless Access Points
Monitoring wireless access points will prevent cyberattacks and safeguard critical communications. With the right tool, you can also diagnose under-performing WAPs, analyze bandwidth usage, build heat maps for "dead" Wi-Fi spots in your organization, and visualize a wireless network.
Using WAP monitoring tools provides your business with the insights it needs for more effective Wi-Fi management, providing enhanced security and connectivity for teams. But with so many access point tools on the market, which one should you choose?
Here is our list of the ten best wireless access point monitoring tools in 2021!
NetStumbler is a wireless LAN tool (or "stumbler" tool) for 802.11b/a/g WLAN standards. It surveys wireless connections and finds rogue access points. The free tool lists nearby access points and provides real-time insights such as channel, SSID, hardware vendor, and MAC address.
NetStumbler lets you investigate weak signals in wireless networks and identify signal strength, interference, and SNR levels from one platform, making it a suitable option for businesses. Other features include GPS support that records AP locations automatically.
There are limitations, as one would expect with a free tool like NetStumbler. The platform only supports Windows operating systems, so you'll need to invest in a NetStumbler alternative if your team uses Apple devices. (Note: A pared-down version of the tool called MiniStumbler is available for Windows CE mobile devices.)
Solarwinds NPM Wifi Analyzer
Solarwinds NPM Wifi Analyzer is a powerful wi-fi access point monitoring tool that bursts to the brim with features for teams that rely on Wi-Fi for connectivity and productivity. This tool automatically scans access points for quick setup, builds visual heat maps of access points, finds unauthorized Wi-Fi users, and manages thin and autonomous AP clients.
You can manage access points from a centralized dashboard and solve AP-related issues quickly. Plus, you can monitor bandwidth usage by device and user, which makes network analysis simple. Few AP monitoring tools offer the scope of Solarwinds, making it a useful addition to any tech stack. However, there are many Solarwinds alternatives to consider.
Datadog Network Monitoring
Datadog Network Monitoring solution monitors the health of different network devices, but it's useful for monitoring wireless access points. The platform uses tags to interpret AP-related information, making it easy to track rogue users, signal strength, and bandwidth.
One of the best Datadog features is the variety of AP metrics that provide you with insights into your access points. But you'll also find useful metrics for all network performance activities, such as switch monitoring and network security analysis. Use these metrics to influence your network security objectives.
Datadog also offers API extensibility, which provides additional features such as customizable graphs and even more metrics.
Do you lack a monitoring team to execute WAP monitoring? MetricFire helps with easy-to-configure network monitoring solutions for your growing enterprise. Generate WI-Fi and network insights in just a few clicks after downloading our powerful agent.
Learn more about MetricFire here or call +1 (855) 206-7352.
PRTG Network Monitor
PRTG Network Monitor has enhanced AP monitoring support for teams of all sizes, with device status, signal strength, rogue user, SSID, and traffic metrics. Use this tool to analyze Wi-Fi traffic, determine connection strength, and identify unauthorized persons who might infiltrate your AP.
While PRTG is more of a general network monitoring tool, it's useful for WAP monitoring. Many organizations that implement Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies use this platform to detect rogue users and prevent unauthorized access.
Originally designed for Macs, NetSpot now has capabilities for Windows operating systems, with powerful Wi-Fi access point analytic tools for your organization. You can also use NetSpot on your mobile device and track WAPs on the go.
Using NetSpot provides you with an extra layer of security in your fight against unauthorized Wi-Fi access. Automate monitoring or schedule triggers for analysis based on your specific business requirements. Besides WAP analysis, you can generate insights about WLAN interference, channel width, and network encryption. NetSpot is an effective all-in-one Wi-Fi analysis tool.
Acrylic Wireless provides real-time insights into all your access points, helping you monitor signal strength, connected devices, and Wi-Fi channels from one place. But you can also use this platform to solve other Wi-Fi-related issues such as slow connections and downtime.
With Acrylic Wireless, you can generate time-critical insights about Wi-Fi coverage issues, connected devices, packet retry rates, and clients connect to your access points. You can view these metrics from a simple dashboard and use the information to optimize Wi-Fi security in your organization.
SolarWinds Remote Monitoring and Management
This platform is another network monitoring solution from SolarWinds. The Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM) tool primarily provides network analysis for remote teams, including employees working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While RMM monitors network devices like routers and switches, it also provides accurate insights into access points. Use this tool to prevent cybercriminals from hijacking APs used by remote workers.
With RMM, you can automate scripts for multiple APs or schedule specific triggers for deep analysis. Regardless, the high level of automation proves useful for organizations in the post-pandemic business landscape.
MetricFire specializes in monitoring systems and you can use your product with minimal configuration to gain in-depth insight into your environments. If you would like to learn more about how MetricFire can help monitor your environments, You should book a demo with us, or sign up for the free trial today.
Suitable for both Apple and Windows devices, inSSIDer is a Wi-Fi network scanner with WAP features such as signal strength, unauthorized access identification, and bandwidth analysis. Incorporate this tool into your organization for better Wi-Fi analysis.
inSSIDer automatically retrieves data from access points and displays it all on an easy-to-use dashboard. From here, monitor all access points at once or select specific APs for deeper investigation.
Site24x7 Wireless Access Point Monitoring
Not for beginners. Site24x7 Cisco Network Monitoring requires the installation of an agent before accessing network management analytics such as access point monitoring metrics. Still, this tool is useful for detecting rogue users, bandwidth problems, and signal strength-related issues in one place.
Site24x7 monitors APs automatically, so you can focus on more important business workflows. You can also use the tool for switch monitoring and general network analysis. Although one of the harder tools on this list to set up and configure, Site24X7 proves useful for teams wanting to invest in access point monitoring.
WhatsUp Gold is one of the most popular networking monitoring tools available in 2021, and thousands of businesses use this platform for network analysis, wireless autonomous access, and switch monitoring. You can also rely on this powerful tool for monitoring access points.
WhatsUp Gold provides real-time analytics about APs, with a simple dashboard that lets you track rogue devices, signal strength, radio type, and more. Quickly discover how many devices connect to your access points and take action if you identify unauthorized users.
Another significant feature is log management for Windows events, which provides nuanced reports about network monitoring.
How to Choose a Wi-Fi Access Point Monitoring Tool
When considering a wireless access point analysis tool, think about the price. Most of the tools above charge you a fee based on the number of access points (and devices) you want to monitor, which can work out expensive if you have many APs. Free tools like NetStumbler might tempt you, but these platforms often come with limited features.
You should also consider the size of your Wi-Fi networks, and whether the above tools scale as your business grows. Some tools, particularly free ones, might not be able to monitor large Wi-Fi networks effectively, rendering them useless.
There are two major ways to determine the best access point monitoring tool for your organization. Start by reading reviews from customers who use these tools. Also, take up free trials and demos to find out features, performance, and productivity. A trial or demo lets you try out WAP monitoring tools before you commit.
Wi-Fi access point monitoring is one of the most critical aspects of network monitoring, but many organizations overlook it. The right tools discover rogue users, identify connected devices, analyze bandwidth issues, determine signal strength, and otherwise manage APs from one dashboard. You can automate monitoring or schedule monitoring events, streamlining Wi-Fi analysis.
Not all Wi-Fi monitoring tools are the same. The platforms featured above vary in features and capabilities, so base your final decision on your specific business budget and requirements. Whichever tool you choose, realizing the importance of AP monitoring is an important step in your network management and security strategy.
How MetricFire Can Help
Even with the tools above, Wi-Fi access point monitoring proves a challenge for organizations that lack a large monitoring team. MetricFire solves this problem with hosted Graphite, hosted Prometheus, and Grafana solutions for all kinds of network monitoring, including WAP monitoring.
MetricFire comes with minimal configuration, simplifies network monitoring, and provides unparalleled insights into WAPs and other Wi-Fi and network products.