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What's Jamming Your Network

Wi-Fi network jammed? This tool exposes the culprits.

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This story appears in the September 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The air around your office is likely clogged with wireless networks and devices like cordless phones and microwaves. That invisible traffic jam can cause interference problems with your Wi-Fi system. Spectrum analyzers are tools that help you suss out the sources of interference and choose a Wi-Fi channel that will give you a cleaner signal. Until recently, spectrum analyzers were somewhat pricey investments. But now, MetaGeek is bringing a spectrum analyzer to the masses with the $99 (street) Wi-Spy for the 2.4GHz band.

Wi-Spy comes as a kit with an installation CD and a small USB device. We plugged it into a Windows XP laptop to check out our 802.11g network. Installation is straightforward, and the program opens to show a graphical analyzer view. You can immediately see which Wi-Fi channels are full of activity. You can also switch over to a frequency view and check which frequencies are busy or subject to interference. After that, you can set your wireless network accordingly.

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