Networking

Two apps for retrieving mobile network information

Jack Wallen takes a look at IP Info and Network Info II, two free Android apps that put mobile networking information quickly at your fingertips.

To every IT administrator (or geek in general), information is crucial. With mobile devices, you have the tools you need to be able to gather more information than you can imagine. There are plenty of apps out there that will scan for wireless networks and allow you to do some management tasks. But what if you simply want information about your phone, including the network your phone is attached to and Bluetooth connections? On an Android device, all you have to do is download and install one of two applications:

  • IP Info: For basic networking information
  • Network Info II: For advanced networking information

Many of you might be thinking, I already know that information, so what good would apps like this do me? Plenty. First and foremost, you might want to know the information that's associated with your mobile device. That's fine if you're looking for the very basics, but once you get beyond that, you won't have much luck. That's where these two apps come in.

IP Info

IP Info is a free app that allows you get some basic information about the network connection you phone is currently using. With this tool, you can see the IP address of your device (both internal and external), Wi-Fi SSID (if connected), and DNS/gateway information (if connected to Wi-Fi). You can also cut and paste the network information from IP Info into other applications.

Installation

As you would expect, the installation of IP Info is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open up the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "ip info" (no quotes)
  3. Tap the entry for IP Info
  4. Tap Install
  5. Tap Accept & download
After installation, you'll find a launcher for this new app within the App Drawer of your phone. Launch the application, and you'll immediately be presented with the networking information. If you're not connected to a wireless network, you'll see information similar to that shown in Figure A. Figure A

External IP address and node name shown on a Verizon-branded Droid Bionic.
If you're connected to a Wi-Fi network, you'll get a bit more information from the app (Figure B). Figure B

You get the DNS, gateway, and all the information associated with the wireless account.

But what if you need more information that what IP Info offers? Fortunately, there's another free Android application just for that purpose.

Network Info II

The Network Info II app will display the following information:

  • Device IP and hostname (private and public)
  • Current mobile cell and any neighbors (along with their signal strength, location info, and type)
  • IMSI/ IMEI
  • Information about the current mobile provider (MCC+MNC, current connection, etc.)
  • The Android device unique ID
  • Wi-Fi connection information (MAC, current SSID and BSSID, link speed, IP/Netmask, Gateway, DNS and DHCP servers, etc.)
  • Current location, according to Android (based on your network neighbors)
  • Bluetooth status, Bluetooth connection(s), and info about past pairings
  • IPv6 device and router IP addresses for all device interfaces

Now that's more like it!

The installation of Network Info II is the same as IP Info (only search for "network info II" -- no quotes). Once installed, open your App Drawer and tap the icon for Network Into II. You'll immediately be treated to information you might not have known you could get (Figure C). Figure C

At a glance, you'll get more information from this screen than you will in the About Phone screen in Android Settings.

You'll notice five information tabs:

  • Device: Information about your device
  • WIFI: Detailed Information about wireless (Figure D)
  • BT: Detailed information about Bluetooth connections
  • Location: Information about your location (this is not GPS information)
  • IPV6: Detailed information on IPV6 networking for the device
Figure D

If you need to quickly access Wi-Fi settings, just tap the button.
One of the most useful bits of information, for some, might be the IPV6 networking info. Tap on that tab to reveal all of the IPV6 information (Figure E). Figure E

This reveals more information about your mobile than you'll probably ever need.
If you tap on the menu button (three vertical buttons on the top right of the screen), a small drop-down box will appear where you can select Export. This will open up a window (Figure F) with all of the information provided by the app. Figure F

You can share the information or save it to your SD card.

Most IT admins that I know have a strong desire to get their fingers on as much information as possible. Both of these apps are perfect for getting to that information quickly. What app(s) do you use to retrieve information about your phone? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

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