Metageek has a simple mission:
And the company very much enables you to “visualize your wireless landscape”, in the most effective ways. It’s what they do- boil the many complex parts of Wi-Fi down to visual portrayals that are easy to comprehend, across their various products. One of their offerings, InSSIDer, has become massively popular because it shows WLAN RF in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, supports through 802.11n, and you can get a decent version of it for Windows and Android for FREE. MetaGeek estimates that there have been millions of downloads of InSSIDer. Curiously, this popular program was meant to be one of those niceties that get provided to introduce you to the company while providing basic WLAN support functionality, yet is has become much more than that.
And that brings us to the inevitable: InSSIDer now supports 802.11ac, and also comes with a price tag for the first time. Oh yeah- it’s also sporting new colors:
Feature-wise, version 4 will show you 11ac channels if detected EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE AN 11n ADAPTER (of course it needs to be 5 GHz 11n). You can also group signals by ESSID/radio- very handy in multi-SSID environments. But on to the other part of the version 4 story…
My take on MetaGeek’s change of price paradigm: it’s a good thing.
It’s hard to build a business case on “free”, and the raging popularity of InSSIDer signals that this is a gem that should be further developed. Though the MetaGeekers are dedicated to wireless excellence (if you ever have a chance to meet anyone from MetaGeek, their enthusiasm for Wi-Fi and developing good tools is palpable), no one can expect them to make a good product better without asking for a little in return (in this case, $19.99).
802.11ac will further push Wi-Fi into the main for client access, and the importance of solid WLAN tools will only become more important. Along with MetaGeek’s other offerings (each has it’s role, learn about them here), I’m looking forward to seeing what future versions of InSSIDer bring us- both for the laptop and in mobile form. (Please note- the current free version will still be around, but no more development will go into it.)
Now if you’ll excuse me. I got some fat channels to go look at…