Wi-Fi switch maker Xirrus is doing a good turn to Microsoft Vista users - a tool that monitors the status and security of Wi-Fi connections.

Wi-Fi provision in Windows XP has been criticised on a number of fronts, including the security risks of its tendency to connect to any access point it can. Vista is a big improvement, giving more control and visibility of Wi-Fi networks, but Xirrus believes it could be improved still further.

The Wi-Fi Monitor Gadget gathers high level Wi-Fi network information into one location, monitoring the status of the PCs' Wi-Fi connection, and the Wi-Fi environment around it. It shows the information in a sweeping radar display and can provide details such as the identities (SSIDs) of local networks, their signal strength (RSSI values), the MAC addresses, which standards they are using and what mode they are running in, as well as statistics.

Importantly, it should help users spot rogue APs, says Glenn Fleishman of Wi-Fi Net News.

"This should be a very nice addition to Vista’s already superior control over Wi-Fi networks," he says warning that Vista still has "awkward bits" when it comes to wireless. "Xirrus should earn some nice karma points (and publicity) from this move."

Other tools in this area include WirelessMon from Passmark.