How to find hidden wireless networks in your area, in Windows
You might need to find all the wireless networks that are broadcast in your area, including those which have a very weak WiFi signal and those that are hidden. If that is the case for you, you need to install a wireless network scanner and use it to identify the networks which exist in your area. However, many of these tools are expensive and only a few of them are free and work well. In this tutorial, we will show you a free tool that works in all versions of Windows, including Windows 10.
Step 1. Download and install Acrylic Wi-Fi Home
The first step is to download and install a free application named Acrylic Wi-Fi Home. When you run its installer, it is very likely that you will receive a Windows SmartScreen prompt saying that it prevented an unrecognized app from starting. This is because this tool is lesser known and less popular, since it caters to only a small number of users with very specific needs. In order to install Acrylic Wi-Fi Home , click or tap More info , to get more options about how to handle its installation.
Then, click or tap “Run anyway ”.
The installer now starts. Follow its instructions and the installation is over in a couple of seconds. When writing this tutorial, we used Acrylic Wi-Fi Home version v3.1.5877.19629, which is completely free and does not install any adware, toolbars or software bundles we do not want, like many other “free ” apps do.
Step 2. Use Acrylic Wi-Fi Home to find the wireless networks in your area
Double-click or double-tap the Acrylic Wi-Fi Home shortcut on your D esktop to run this application. Wait for a couple of seconds until it analyzes the wireless spectrum in your area and it displays the wireless networks that it finds. As you can see below, for each wireless network, Acrylic Wi-Fi Home displays a lot of information: the SSID (or network name), the MAC address of the device broadcasting the wireless signal, the signal strength (RSI), the channel used by the network, the network standard, the speed, security and so on.
As you can see below, in our area, Acrylic Wi-Fi Home has detected a total of 12 wireless networks.
By comparison, Windows 10 detected only 8 wireless networks.
The difference is made up of wireless networks which are either hidden or have a very weak signal, networks which cannot be displayed by Windows.
As you can see from this guide, Acrylic Wi-Fi Home is a useful tool that allows you to discover all the wireless networks in you area. In our block of flats, we used it to discover two wireless networks which are hidden as well as open, with no password being set. Their owners thought that, if they hide their networks, those networks cannot be found and used by others. Unfortunately that’s wrong. As you can see, with the correct tools, you can discover a lot about any wireless network, hidden or not.