WiFi glossary

News (2016.09.02): WiFi Tips & Tricks

SSID: This is the name of a wireless network. SSID is a case sensitive, max 32 alphanumeric character unique identifier. Example: my-network

Access point(AP): Generally, this is your router. A device that allows wireless devices to connect to a wired network using Wi-Fi, or related standards.

AP capabilities: This is the security level of the AP. For example, it can be open (anybody can attach) or encrypted (with different encryption strength like WEP, WPA, WPA2) or even authenticated (username:password). Example: WPA2-PSK-CCMP

MAC address: A media access control address (MAC address), also called physical address, is a unique identifier assigned to network interfaces for communications on the physical network segment. Example: 00:00:00:00:00:01

BSSID: MAC address of the access point. This is also an unique identifier. There can be several APs on the same network (same SSID) with different BSSIDs. Example: 00:00:00:00:00:02

IP address: An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label assigned to each device (e.g., computer, mobile phones) participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. Example:

Frequency: All wifi networks operate on a special frequency. The most common is the 2.4 GHz (2412-2484 MHz), or the 5 GHz (4980-5825 MHz).

Channel: Each frequency range is sub-divided into channels with a center frequency and bandwidth, analogous to the way radio and TV broadcast bands are sub-divided. For example: 2412 MHz = channel 1. 2437 MHz = channel 6.

Overlapping channel: the networks operate on close channels can cause interference on each other network. This can cause slow wifi data rate. In the 2.4 GHz band, 1, 6 and 11 are the only non-overlapping channels.

Guest network: Sharing your wifi with “guests”. The AP has dual SSIDs, dual security and the guest network is isolated from other networks.

Possible guest network: in WiFi Network Analyzer app, this message shows that it found a network that seems to be a guest network of the connected network.

WDS (expanded) network: WDS allows a wireless network to be expanded using multiple access points without the traditional requirement for a wired backbone to link them. Using WDS you can extend the range of your wireless network.

Possible WDS (expanded) network:  In WiFi Network Analyzer app, this message shows that it found a network that seems to be an expanded network of the connected network.

Link speed: This is the theoretical data rate. The current value of link speed depends on the distance from the AP, the signal strength, supported protocols by the AP and your mobile. In a wireless network, the link speed is always higher than the real achievable speed. Example: 433 Mpbs.

AP latency: This is the latency time of your access point (router) in ms. If someone generates hard network traffic, this value will be high so you can detect it easily.

Signal strength: This is the power of the received signal. The weakest the worst. A good signal is always higher than -75 dBm. If -90 dBm or lower, this is really bad. Example: -52 dBm.

Device-to-AP RTT support: Round trip time (RTT) between the AP and the mobile device over the WLAN is supported or not.

Wi-Fi Direct support: Wi-Fi Direct allows two devices to establish a direct, peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection without requiring a wireless router

DFS: Dynamic Frequency Selection. The access points automatically select frequency channels with low interference levels.

No DFS: In WiFi Network Analyzer app, hide the networks that use DFS. The reason: they are using a lot of channels, and it’s not practical to show them by default because the screen will be congested and ugly. You can enable it using this check box.

Useful links:
How to optimize your wifi with Android
WiFi Speed Test guide




14 Responses to WiFi glossary

  1. I would like to know if NO latency data is good thing or not.

    • PZolee says:

      It means something blocks ICMP requests, for example a firewall on the router. So if there is no latency data, it’s not bad or good, just simple means that the app doesn’t know this information.

  2. Andreza silva santod says:


  3. Luis Santos says:

    Is there a simple widget displaying just the current frequency and data link speed?

  4. Thorvald Arne R Nielsen says:

    Thanks for a very good programme!

    I have the Pro version and could wish it was made possible to copy information as ip, subnet and mac etc. I will save time when working with several computers to set up.

  5. Chris says:

    Channel overlap indication is erroneous. It is triggering based on the multiple BSSIDs I have running on my APs.
    Logic should be put on place to recognize when BSSIDs are sequential except the last two octets, which should be an indication on an AP running multiple SSIDs (on the and radio /channel)

    • PZolee says:

      Unfortunately it’s not true. Some vendors replace the last two octets, others not. There is no any know rule that will detect multiple SSIDs in 100%.

      • Chris says:

        I deal primarily with Enterprise grade APs, so it’s pretty much 100% certain that vendor’s simply create sequential BSSIDs replacing the last one or two octets.
        Are you seeing SOHO APs *not* do this? If not, what’s an example of what you have seen where it’s something different than this? I’m curious.

      • PZolee says:

        Hi Chris,
        For example tp-link archer c5.
        Main bssid:
        guest ssid:
        They replace the first two and the last two octets. Trust me, when I developed my WiFi Analyzer app, I tried a lot of routers from different vendors, and there is no single rule how they deal with multiple bssid.
        (Note: I don’t know if archer c5 and similar are SOHO or not, but basically 99% of my users are home users not companies).

        Anyway, does my app detect your multiple ssids as possible guest network (in networks list)? If yes, then I can fix it in detecting overlapping networks.

      • Chris says:

        Appreciate the response!
        Interesting stuff. So it appears in your example that they also use a different OUI as well for the additional SSIDs. sigh…oh well. I guess if that’s ALL they did though you could create logic that says if the last two octets are sequential && the OUI translations are the same vendor….
        Totally understand that your primary target audience is home users, so no worries. Love the app though (Pro).

      • PZolee says:

        Yeah, there are already a lot of custom logic’s in my app (like if frequency and signal strength are exactly the same with similar bssid), but currently the app uses it to detect guest networks and not for ignoring it for overlapping network. This may be something that I should improve.
        Anyway I appreciate your feedback, if you have any other idea or thought, feel free to share with me (you can contact me not only in this forum, but via email, you can find my email address at the developer page of gplay or in the app/about window).

  6. Björn Wetterborg says:

    I have the WiFi Network Analyzer pro.
    Our own Network is set at channel 8 and that is what the app reports in text. But the drawing on Channel puts its center at channel 6. It stretch from channel 2 to 10!
    From what I remember this occured after a update of the app in November/December 2017.

    • PZolee says:


      Is it a 40 MHz network?
      If yes, it’s normal, when your network uses 40 MHz instead of 20 MHz. Wifi on 40 MHz works totally different compared to 20 MHz. You set channel 8, but in fact it uses channel 8 and channel 4 (2×20 MHz), the center is on channel 6, and it overlaps until channel 2 and 10.
      Earlier it was not possible to detect the channel width on Android, but from newer Android (6.0.) it is possible and I added this feature to my app.

      So if it is a 40 MHz network, what you can see is how your network looks in the reality.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: