Bitrino, Inc provides a perfect example of a developer successfully building upon Apple’s own built-in functionalities with their slick, minimalist app WifiTrak. Basically, this application takes what can be found in the Wi-Fi Networks settings menu in the iPhone and expands it, giving the user many more options and information when dealing with wireless networks.
The standard settings on the iPhone allow the user to see what networks are near them, whether they are password-protected or not, and also the strength of the signal. By default, an iPhone user can also forget a network and decide whether or not the iPhone automatically connects to known networks. Outside of that, there isn’t much more an iPhone user can do by default.
WifiTrak provides iPhone users with just about as many options as is possible on a mobile device. It’s a feature-rich, no-nonsense application that provides functionality that should have come standard: a toggle for automatic or manual scanning, ability to set minimum signal strength requirements, and enhanced signal scanning and redirection, to name a few. While this may sound daunting, Bitrino has done an admirable job of keeping WifiTrak clutter-free and user-friendly.
When launched, WifiTrak immediately displays its default screen: a list of all nearby networks, their signal strengths, and what kind of encryption (if any) it is implementing. Next to the networks are circular icons that indicate various conditions (known, open-verified, open-not verified, Redirected, etc). Once one becomes acquainted with the different icons, it makes looking over a list and determining the best network at that time a breeze.
While WifiTrak is a great tool for people looking for better information and more options when seeking out and connecting to networks, it is not necessarily for everyone. After surveying 8 of my iPhone-using friends, I found that half of them wished their iPhone Wi-Fi options were more extensive. The other half felt that it worked fine the way it does.
And that, really, is the crux of the issue: the iPhone does do a fine job of picking up Wi-Fi signals and connecting to them. For some, though, more options and information is something worth paying $1 for. For travelers and people in the business sector who rely on seeking out and connecting to networks, this program could prove to be a windfall.
Ultimately, WifiTrak is a simple yet effective app that makes iPhone users ask themselves a simple question: why aren’t these features standard in iPhone 3.0?
WifiTrak requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone and iPod Touch.