WiFi Finder Buying Tips
WiFi Finder: Finding a Wireless Connection When You Need It
Whether they're called a WiFi Finder, WiFi Locator, or WiFi Detector, these devices all do one thing. They find WiFi hotspots for you. You won't have to so much as turn on your laptop to discover a nearby wireless connection. They're small, portable, and in some cases do double duty as an adapter or flash drive. They'll save you time, energy, and some frustration.
Learn more about choosing a WiFi finder on this page.
Once you've decided you want a WiFi finder, there are a few things to consider:
Some of these devices will be able to discover hotspots from distances of 100 or 200 feet while others may pick them up from several hundred feet. Range may differ when indoors versus outdoors.
- Primary Functions
Some WiFi finders do one simple task, locate wireless hotspots. Once found, the device will light up. Stronger signals are often indicated by more lights. Other devices may have an LCD display and provide additional information. They may tell the user the SSID or network name, channel, signal strength, and whether it is secured or open. Some can detect and provide information on multiple networks simultaneously so that you know where to get the best connection.
- Secondary Functions
While some models are simple devices that can attach to a keychain, notebook, or something similar, others perform additional functions. For instance, they may also act as a wireless adapter or may be a USB flash drive that allows the user to store and transport files, photos, and so forth.
With a USB WiFi finder you'll want to be sure it will connect with your laptop. If you have a USB 1.1 port, you'll need a USB 1.1 device or one that is backwards compatible.
Some of these detectors will have a retractable antenna to increase it's range. You'll want to be sure the device you choose will pick up the frequencies/bandwidth you need it to detect. Nearly all of these devices will filter out interfering signals from cordless phones, microwave ovens, and other Bluetooth devices, but check to be sure it has this capability.