Wi-Fi Ruler is a free little app that allows you to perform "driveby" Wi-Fi.? You can configure the app to automatically connect to a specific wi-fi network as you walk by. The app also allows you to skip connecting to open access points that are actually paywalls?wireless networks you have to pay to use Internet access.
With this app, users can set connection priorities and differentiate between multiple wireless networks. While connectivity is a little flaky? and it's hard to garner how useful the app is, it does provide a way to organize wireless networks on your Android, especially if you connect to lots of networks on-the-go.
How It Works
After installing and opening the app, I immediately saw a list of wireless networks in my proximity. There are three menu choices at the top of the screen: "Live," "Remembered," and "Rules."
"Live" is the default view and lists all of the wireless networks nearby. From the list, I see my own home wireless network's SSID listed. Tapping on it, the app correctly reports the security level as WPA2-PSK as well as the MAC address. Also with a tap, I can enter the password in for my network and apply one of the many pre-configured rules.
There are rules named "caf?," "closed," driveby," "home," "neighbor," and more. Apparently, the rules are tailored for the type of connection, i.e: for an access point you want to automatically connect to when you are near it, you could apply the "driveby" rule.
I set "home" as the rule for my home wireless router's SSID. Once a rule is applied and password entered for a secured network, you can either save the configuration or go ahead and connect to the network.
The rules are a bit silly. For instance, there's a rule named "dead" with a note that the rule is for "Tis access point is broken." If that's the case, you probably can't connect anyway, so why the rule?
The app connected my Android?and then disconnected twice, for some reason? until finally, I had a strong steady connection. I sometimes find that when you place software between the OS and its wireless network adapter, you add a layer of complexity and possible problems to connecting to wireless networks.?
Once connected, Wi-Fi Ruler also displays the IP address the access point or router is giving to the Android device.
The app also shows the status of other wireless networks nearby. For example, I can see the SSIDs of the myriad Wi-Fi networks belonging to the hotels near my apartment. The app displays each network's signal strength and encryption level. If you see an open network you can set the rule for it as "driveby," so your device will connect whenever you pass by.
Clicking on the "Remembered" menu option, will list all of the SSIDs you've connected to, associated a rule with, and saved.
Under the "Rules" option, you can see the purpose of the rule, its priority level, and if its set to "Attempt to connect" or "Forget after 24 hours." For example, the "caf?" rule is set to a medium priority (as indicated by a slide bar with the slide set mid-way), is enabled for "attempt to connect" whenever you are at that caf?, and has comment , "This caf? told me their password."
You can edit comments and the priority level as well as behavior of the rule: "attempt to connect" or "remember." You cannot edit the name of the rule but you can create new rules.
There are a few configuration options to customize the entire app. You can tell it to automatically add open access points and notify when connected. You can also set in how many seconds the app is to scan for new networks or to only scan when connected.
There's a paid version available for Wi-Fi Ruler for $1.99. The paid version allows for more customization such as starting the app when the phone is booted, minimize it at boot, or run the app as a service.
In practice the app works OK. I didn't have a nearby paywalled wireless network nearby, but the "home" rule did automatically connect to my home network as I specified when I went up the stairs in building and my Android could detect the signal.? However, my phone again, initially dropped the connection a few times, something that never happens when I just manually connect to the same router through the Android OS.
It's difficult to state the exact benefit Wi-Fi Ruler plays in getting you connected or blocking your Android from connecting to specific wirless networks. At very least, it a free app that can be used to managed the wireless networks you connect to in a fairly quickly way and in a way that's easy to identify the network, for that it earns 2.5 stars as a networking utility.
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