Whoo hoo, another WiFi sniffer review! Come on, you can never get enough
reviews of WiFi detectors. Since this is my third such review, I now consider
myself a WiFi savant. Ok, not really… but I have learned a little bit about
these gadgets and it’s my job to convey that info to you.
The WiFi sniffer of the day is
Kensington’s WiFi Finder Plus. The most compact of the 3 detectors that I’ve
tested so far (Smart
Canary Wireless Digital Hotspotter), the WiFi Finder Plus has a convenient
keychain and flashlight built-in.
The body of the device is constructed in plastic with a rubber coating. On
the back of the WiFi Finder Plus, is the battery compartment which holds 2
CR2016 coin cell batteries. I’m not too keen on using coin cells because it’s a
pain to find replacements when you need them. The other detectors that I’ve
reviewed have both used standard AAA batteries.
Like the other detectors, operation is simple. One button press is all that
is required to scan for nearby 802.11b/802.11g networks. On the WiFi Finder
Plus, this is a long chrome button the runs the length of the top of the device.
5 LEDs to the left side of the scanning button are your indictors for WiFi
signal strength. These LEDs light up in green and the more LEDs that light, the
stronger the signal. If no signal is detected at all, the bottom LED will light
up in red.
When you first press the scanning button, the LEDs cycle through several
times in marquee style one after the other. After approximately 5 seconds, the
scan is complete. At that point, the LEDs will then pause to show the signal
strength before going off. The scan time seems to take way too long in my
opinion. The other two detectors have no scan time. For them, just
pressing the scan button will automatically show the signal strength.
You can use the WiFi Finder Plus to find the direction of the signal too. To
do this, you press and hold the scan button. Once it locks on to a signal, it
will then display the strength until you let go of the button. Moving around
will allow you to notice increasing and decreasing signal strength.
There are two other features that this little detector has that the other two
that I looked at don’t. One is a built-in flash light.
The flashlight is located on the front of the device and a pressure sensitive
activation button is on the bottom. The light itself is amber in color and is
pretty wimpy as far as beam strength. You also have to hold the switch in to
light the LED.
The other feature of the WiFi Finder Plus is its ability to sniff out
Bluetooth activity. The very top LED will glow blue when it detects a Bluetooth
device. I didn’t have a whole lot of luck with this feature though when I tried
getting it to detect my
The only time the LED would light up would be when I set the Treo to device
discovery mode. I could not get the WiFi Finder Plus to ever detect my
Dell X50v Pocket PC. Not very useful if you
In use, the WiFi Finder Plus does an adequate job of discovering and
displaying 802.11b and g network signal strengths. I found that the signal
strengths that this detector reports are pretty much equal to the signals
reported by the other two detectors. So, if you want a small detector that you
can use as a keychain or clip to your gear bag, this one will definitely fit
that bill. But, if you really want a device that can also detect Bluetooth
signals, this one is a real dud in that regard.
Able to see signal strength in the dark
Powered by coin cells
Bluetooth detection is lame