The latest version of WiFi Signal brings a new set of features that most users will find useful for monitoring and troubleshooting certain aspects of their Wi-Fi network, such as association and roaming. It also includes various UI fixes and improvements like dark mode support and a fully customizable status display that includes, by public acclamation, the ability to hide the signal strength indicator for saving precious space in the system menu bar. I personally like a lot how the UI looks when using dark mode, and in fact, I like it so much that I’ve even switched to the dark menu bar.
A number of home users might not need all of the new features so I’ve tried to keep the app as simple as possible, but flexible enough to be a serious tool for the WLAN professional. Here’s a description of the main features you can find in WiFi Signal 4.0:
New Preferences Window
The app’s menu was simplified by moving most of the options to a new Preferences window where you can find three tabs: General, Status, and Notifications. In the General tab, you can find most of the old menu entries. The Status and Notifications tabs include options to configure the status display and the presentation of user notifications.
Fully Configurable Status Display
One of the main challenges when presenting information in the system menu bar is space. And because saving as much space as possible is important, especially when using smaller screens, I made changes to let you choose, by using a display pattern, what information you want displayed in the status bar, how you want it displayed and in what order. You specify the display pattern by going to Preferences > Status.
When you define your own display pattern you can, for example, use only the raw values for signal strength. You can also define a more verbose pattern that includes everything you need. Also, if you consider the signal strength indicator (aka the bars) unnecessary or redundant, you can choose to hide it when using a display pattern.
Using WiFi Signal 4.0 you can now choose to be notified about certain events, such as when the computer joins or disconnects from a network, roams to another access point, or when the channel configuration of the access point changes. In addition, you can choose to be notified if the signal strength or SNR drops below a given threshold.
Each notification presents just enough information to quickly grasp what’s happening with your Wi-Fi, and it tries to do so with minimal distraction. And as with other apps that use notifications, a history of the notifications can be accessed from the Notification Center. You can also choose to suppress notifications when the computer is asleep, which means that notifications will not be presented when the computer is sleeping and wakes up for network access.
I consider user notifications to be very useful, but they might not provide all the detail you need to monitor and troubleshoot your Wi-Fi, so I also implemented a logging facility in WiFi Signal 4.0 to maintain up to 30 days of logs for various types of events. Each log entry contains the details of the Wi-Fi connection as soon as the event was detected, such as BSSID, network name, channel, channel width, signal strength, noise, SNR, etc. WiFi Signal generates a log entry for each of the following events:
- Join Events: generated when the computer joins a network.
- Roam Events: generated when the computer roams to another access point. The SSID (network name) of the new access point must be the same to the SSID of the associated access point to be considered a roam event. The new BSSID and channel information is included in the roam event details.
- Rate Events: generated when the data rate of the Wi-Fi connection changes. This type of events are only generated when the data rate changes during the current association. Rate events are not generated if the change occurs because the computer is joining a new network or roaming to a different access point.
- Channel Events: generated when the channel configuration of the associated access point changes. This type of event is very uncommon and it is usually not generated if you manually change the channel configuration of your access point since it is likely that your computer will disconnect and re-associate to the access point. In this case, join and disconnect events will be generated instead.
- Disconnect Events: generated when the computer disconnects from the network. This type of events are not generated if the computer disconnects from an access point to immediately associate to another access point in the same network. In this case, a roam event will be generated instead.
The “Events” window lets you visualize the list of events in a table. The table has many columns but only a few of them are shown by default. Other columns can be enabled by doing Control+Click (right click) over the table’s header. You can also choose to filter by event type or date, and export all of the events details to a text file in CSV format.
And as usual, the new version includes bug fixes and a few performance improvements. In particular, when channel recommendations are enabled, the app now will only analyze the Wi-Fi environment when the interface is idle as to avoid disruptions or increased latency due to off-channel scanning.
I hope you find the new version of WiFi Signal useful and if you have a couple of minutes, please share your thoughts by leaving a review in the Mac App Store. It will make a huge difference to me! For any problems or concerns just send me a message so we can resolve it.