Koingo Software has introduced AirRadar 2.0 (http://www.koingosw.com/products/airradar.php), an update of its free Mac OS X software that allows users to scan for wireless networks in range of their computer, compile favorite and filter lists, and view detailed network information. You can also use it to automatically join the best open network.
Version 2.0 features an overhauled user interface and some new features. One of the highlights is Assistant, which scans the local area and reports back with the WiFi channels that are in use and which ones would be ideal for creating a new network. Channels are ranked based on the number of networks sharing them, and the noise level.
Also new in this version also is the ability to create Smart Collections. These are much like Spotlight saved searches in the Finder of Mac OS X. You specify a criteria to match, and networks which meet that criteria are automatically listed when they are found. Create a Smart Collection to only list all open networks within range, wireless N networks, networks featuring a generic SSID, and more.
Whether you’re driving around looking for wireless networks, stuck in traffic, sitting on the beach, or if you’re curious how strong your wireless signal is at home, AirRadar provides a more linear approach to network hunting, according to the folks at Koingo. You can set up a scan frequency, and have new open or closed networks have their name spoken, play alerts, or display notifications.
Various other options allow you to customize your network list further, including assigning colors to best open networks and sound cues. (Note that in some countries, such as Germany, it’s illegal to connect to open networks which do not belong to you.)
AirRadar requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher and costs US$19.99. Version 2.0 is a free upgrade for registered users. A 15-day demo is available for download.