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A powerful tool for better Wi-Fi

You can’t see them, but they’re all around you! I’m not talking about cockroaches (I hope). No! I’m talking about Wi-Fi. At this very moment, dozens of wireless networks could be broadcasting in your area.

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These could be public networks you can use. But they could also be private ones that are interfering with your own home Wi-Fi signal.

That’s because when two nearby transmitters are using the same frequency, they slow each other down. It could even break network connections altogether.

That’s where NetStumbler comes in handy. It’s a free download that lets you see each network around you. It shows the name, signal strength, frequency and more useful info.

Click the blue “netstumbler 0.4.0″ link on the right side of the page. It’s under the “downloads” heading.

When you run NetStumbler, you’ll see all the nearby signals your receiver is picking up. It will list the signal router’s MAC address, SSID, name, channel and speed.

Click here to learn what a MAC address is and how it can make your network safer.

You can filter out the networks you see using the Filter tool in the left-hand frame. NetStumbler can also be used to manage and connect to the Wi-Fi signal of your choice.

Here’s a tip: If you see that your wireless channel is the same as others around you, change it! Click here to read how to do it, as well as four other ways to improve your network.

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