New app visualizes cellular and Wi-Fi signals in an area

Using data collected from millions of cell towers and Wi-Fi routers, the app makes the invisible visible.

December 03, 2015 |
New app visualizes amount of cellular signal and Wi-Fi in an area

The application in action. Screenshot courtesy Architecture of Radio via YouTube

Access to wireless Internet connection is practically a must these days. That’s why the iconic CCTV building in China even went through a year-long retrofit to improve Wi-Fi signals for building occupants.

One application is stepping into the direction of Wi-Fi signal visualization. Called Architecture of Radio, the app has been described by Teche Blog as “one of the coolest apps [we've] come across in recent time.”

Users are able to see a 360-degree illustration of Wi-Fi signals around them based on data from seven million cell towers, 19 million Wi-Fi routers, and hundreds of satellites.

The application was created by software developer Richard Vijgen, and can plot not just wireless, but also wired network signals. The catch: signals are not shown in real time, but from a database. In other words, the app “gives you a pretty good idea of the density of digital signals around you, but it won’t tell you where to move the couch to get a better WiFi signal,” the app description says.

"The purpose of this app is to make the invisible visible so we can look at it, think about it, and discuss it," Vijgen told Teche Blog.

Released on the Apple App Store on Nov. 17, the application currently has 2.5 stars from 116 ratings.

“Definitely a cool concept with a relatively intuitive interface. The main problem is in all the unidentified cell towers,” writes reviewer Mistergizmo. “Since the app works off a database rather than real-time signals, this should be fixable, which I'm sure it will be, at which point I'll increase the number of stars. But in the meantime, it's certainly a fun app.”

Overlay Init