Free Tools for Optimizing Your Wireless Setup

by Sam Dean - Sep. 29, 2011Comments (0)

Over the past several years, many of us have become increasingly dependent on Wi-Fi in our connected lives. Even devices that connect to cellular networks also take advantage of Wi-Fi for connectivity. The irony is, though, that most people who have home Wi-Fi networks do very little to optimize them, and often even tolerate being dropped from their connections, slow speeds and more. There are some free, open source solutions that can make a difference if you don't have an optimized Wi-Fi setup, and this post covers some of the best choices.

Many people solve problems with dropped Wi-Fi by simply rebooting their routers, access points, the computers that they're connected to, and other devices that drive a wireless connection. Some others solve interference problems by changing channels on their routers. You can find out how to do both here, inlcuding how to do a cycled reboot of your wireless devices.

In the world of open source Wi-Fi tools, two of the best apps to know about are Tomato and dd-wrt.  If you don't know about dd-wrt, it's worth getting it and at least poking around. It started out as a Linux-based firmware replacement for one Linksys router, intended to add various types of authentication options. Since then, it has ballooned into many downloadable versions for almost any common Wi-Fi router. With dd-wrt, you get a whole lot of router options that you wouldn't otherwise have, and you can get better performance around your home or office.

InfoWorld has a very good post up now on dd-wrt. As it notes:

"DD-WRT includes extensions to allow the truly adventurous to do things with their router that the manufacturer never intended -- adding external USB connectors or aftermarket memory card readers, for instance. Though beyond the realm of most ordinary users, they open up fascinating possibilities for the hard-core hacker."

With dd-wrt, you can increase your Wi-Fi performance and prevent dropped Wi-Fi. You can set dd-wrt so that you have a router reboot in the middle of the night each night. Open source firmware like dd-wrt also decreases the likelihood that a hack or malware is going to affect your router.

Tomato is a very popular Linux-based alternative to dd-wrt that also adds several typs of functionality and troubleshooting to your Wi-Fi router. It can help you pull up detailed charts of signal strength and much more to optimize your setup.

Give these tools a try if you're having Wi-Fi headaches.


Mark Walker uses OStatic to support Open Source, ask and answer questions and stay informed. What about you?


Share Your Comments

If you are a member, to have your comment attributed to you. If you are not yet a member, Join OStatic and help the Open Source community by sharing your thoughts, answering user questions and providing reviews and alternatives for projects.

Promote Open Source Knowledge by sharing your thoughts, listing Alternatives and Answering Questions!