Visualizing your internet dead zones.
How this app does that:
You Layout on a grid the rooms of your house.
You go room to room measuring the network with a simple tap on the grid.
When done you will have a colored chart of relative network speeds.
The Story behind this app:
Ever find your phone or tablet browsing impacted by a slow internet connection? Do you suspect that it is your wifi or phone having 'dead zones' but you are having trouble visualizing where you have good signal and where you don't? Considering adding a wifi extender, but don't know where, or how effective it is?
I was experiencing the same, and wanted to try my hand at developing an Android app, so I figured I would write this app to help. It works superb, so I figured I should clean it up, test it on a few other devices, and make it available to the world.
(Sadly, creation of an account, allowing to post an app on the Play Store requires a fee. So I added an Ad, to help offset the cost.)
The concept is this: The User launches the app, and moves around the Area and the app Measures.
My first thought on creating the app, would be to use GPS tied to measurement of the Wifi signal. But, GPS is not very accurate, and is downright unreliable indoors. I spent some time researching other motion sensors and clever techniques to determine of person's movement. Ultimately all these would be error prone, and make the reliability poor.
I realized that since the User is walking around, they can just as easily tell the app where they are. So, it is just a matter of giving a user interface that allows this.
I have used a Wifi Signal app or two, and those are misleading. You can have decent signal strength, and yet, have a poor experience (delayed video starts, long pauses in web page loading, dropped video chat). So, instead of measuring the signal strength, I use http GET commands to fetch web content and measure how long that takes. In my experience, it correctly models the lags I perceive with my own devices & internet.
How to use:
1) Layout - this mode lets you tap on the grid to select which grid boxes represent Inside your house (white with a brown faint outline) and Outside your house (white with green outline).
-> the calculation of the measurements won't be impacted, this distinction between in and out currently is for your reference.
My guidance on this: devote one grid box per room at first. If you later want more granularity, you can redo with more boxes per room to roughly approximate the size and shape.
2) Measure - once you are satisfied with the Layout, tap the radio button at the top to go into Measure mode. Now, tapping on the grid will invoke a test.
First, stand in one of the rooms - I suggest start in one corner.
Second, tap once in the grid box that corresponds to the room you are in.
-> If you are impatient, you can use Settings to have the testing use less iterations. This will be less accurate, but if this is your first time, maybe you just want to get a feel for it.
Third, proceed to the next room, tap on its grid box.
Repeat until you have covered your house.
If you like, you can repeat the whole thing again - the results will cleanly be accumulated.
If you make a mistake, hold down your finger longer in the grid box, and it will zero out your 'count', allowing you to redo it. Hold down again to undo that action if you didn't mean to clear it.
Note: watch the icons at the top of your device, see if it dynamically switches between 3G/4G and Wifi. It doesn't hurt anything - but will influence the results.
Version 2.0 Plans
If I get the energy - I want to add measurement of a lot of other things and add timestamps to all the measures. This is so you could perform the measurements over time, and see temporal fluctuations.
The Layout and Measure steps would be the same, but would require an Analysis mode, to allow a way to slice and dice the data for visualization.