Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.



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Option-Click AirPort Menu for Network Details

If you hold down the Option key while clicking the AirPort menu in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, you'll see not just the names of nearby Wi-Fi networks, but additional details about the selected network. Details include the MAC address of the network, the channel used by the base station, the signal strength (a negative number; the closer to zero it is, the stronger the signal), and the transmit rate in megabits per second showing actual network throughput. If you hover the cursor over the name of a network to which you're not connected, a little yellow pop-up shows the signal strength and type of encryption.


iStumbler 99

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iStumbler is an easy way to scan for information about the Wi-Fi environment around you, as well as see available Bluetooth devices, and what Bonjour services are available on the local network. The latest version, release 99, works only with Mac OS X 10.6.2 or later, adds support for the 5 GHz band used by 802.11a and 802.11n, and takes advantage of the coordinate-based location feature in Snow Leopard to allow GPS-like tracking as the application scans. (Free, donation requested, 1.1 MB)


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