App: Speedtest Platforms: iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile Web site: www.speedtest.net/mobile Cost: Free
Doors can be a problem. Some nights, when I'm sitting on my front porch but I want to quickly check my e-mail, my Wi-Fi just spins. It's the door. It's getting in between my router and my phone. It is made more complicated by the fact that the iPhone won't switch from a low Wi-Fi signal to a stronger 3G (or 4G) signal unless you manually turn off Wi-Fi on the phone. I know, I know, first-world problems. But thankfully, there are first world solutions as well.
One of the best and quickest ways to figure out where the hottest wi-fi signal is in your home or your office (or even at a coffee shop, where the signal might be stronger in the front near the window than in the back by the pastry counter) is through the simple app Speedtest. It quickly measures your download and upload speeds so you can quickly scout the best location to set up shop.
It will also help you diagnose speed issues with the Wi-Fi around your home or office, and it's done in seconds.
Speedtest measures the incoming signal from Wi-Fi or from a 3G/4G network and lets you know how strong your signal is and how fast your download speeds are from that location. It stores your previous locations so you can refer back to them later.
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This is also a very handy tool for figuring out if you are having connectivity issues, particularly when not on Wi-Fi and out in the middle of nowhere. It can quickly diagnose whether or not you have any signal at all and, if you do, just how strong it is.
The app itself is of limited utility. It does only one thing. But it does that one thing extremely well and with a very user-friendly interface. I am a big fan of any app that does exactly what its developers intended and does it well. Speedtest is a perfect example of that focus and simplicity in action.
Smartphone users should absolutely add Speedtest to their batch of utility apps. It's like a tape measure; you probably won't use it all that often, but when you do, it is extremely helpful.