WiFi signal strength

Wi-Fi signal means a more stable and reliable connection. This is what enables you to take full advantage of the internet speeds available to you. Wi-Fi signal strength depends on a variety of factors, such as how far you are from the Router, whether it’s a 2.4 or 5GHz connection, and even the materials of the walls around you. The closer you are to the Router, the better. While 2.4ghz connections broadcast further, they might have a lot more interference issues, such as baby monitors or microwave ovens. Thicker walls made of denser materials (like concrete) will block a Wi-Fi signal. A weaker signal, on the other hand, leads to slower speeds, dropouts, and (in some cases) total disconnection.

Not every connection problem is a result of weak WiFi signal strength. If the Internet on your tablet or phone seems slow, start by rebooting your Router if you have access to it. If the problem persists, the next step is to check if Wi-Fi is the problem. Try using the internet with a device connected through Ethernet. If you still have issues, the network is the problem. If the Ethernet connection is fine and a router reset didn’t help, then it’s time to check signal strength.

To check the strength of your Wi-Fi, the first thing to do is look at the device having issues. Whether it’s using iOS, Android, Mac, or Windows, you should have a Wi-Fi connection indicator. Usually, four or five curved lines make up the Wi-Fi symbol, and the more that are filled, the stronger the connection.

Every phone, tablet, and laptop is different and may indicate a different Wi-Fi signal strength so  before diving into checking your WiFi signal strength its best to check other devices are experiencing the same issue, make sure all the devices are up to date, do you have the latest drivers installed for you laptops Wireless Card? Compare internet performance on both devices and see what they display for WiFi Signal strength. If you have similar results with both, you have an great baseline to use for future too.

If you’ve sure your Wi-Fi connection is weak in a particular spot, the next thing to do is walk around and pay attention to the Wi-Fi bars on your smartphone or tablet. Keep track of how far you are from the router, and how many walls there are between it and you. There is a nice piece of software that you can use on you laptop that will allow you to move around your rooms and report signals from each location, this is discussed more in our post Best Wi-Fi Chanel.

Pay attention to when your Wi-Fi bars increase and decrease. It’s a rudimentary check, but for most cases, it will suffice.

Looking at bars in a symbol will only give you very little information, If you want to understand the your WiFI signal strength, you’ll need to use an app or program like the AirPort Utility app on IOS devices or Wi-Fi Analyzer on Android to measure its decibels relative to a milliwatt (dBm).

You can measure a WiFi signal strength in multiple ways. The most accurate measurement is milliwatts (mW), but it’s also the hardest to read due to the number of decimal places (0.0001 mW). Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) is another option. Decibels relative to milliwatt (dBm) is the better way and many manufacturers convert RSSI to dBm anyway.

The first thing to know is measurements of dBm will display in negative numbers. The scale runs from -30 to -90. If you see -30, you have a perfect connection and your network slowness in nothing to do with wireless and likely, are standing next to the Wi-Fi router. However, if you spot a Wi-Fi signal listed at -90,  it’s weak you probably cant connect to that network. An excellent connection is -50 dBm, while -60 dBm is likely good enough to stream you Netflix movies whilst other play their on-line games.

wifi signal strength

To measure WiFi signal strength on your phone or tablet, you can use the Airport Utility App for iPhone and iPad, or Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android. Both are easy to use and show results for any wireless networks in your area. On Android devices you are are the lucky ones, you can even see how busy your connected Wi-Fi channels are and move away if need be.

For iPhone users, the Airport Utility App does require you to go into your device settings and turn on the Wi-Fi scanner. Just go to your iPhone or iPad settings, scroll down and tap Airport Utility and toggle Wi-Fi Scanner to on (Green), but remember to to toggle it back afterwards because it does put a drain on your battery. Now, go back to the Airport Utility app and click Wi-Fi scan located top-right, then scan. You’ll see a list SSID’s (wireless networks) with their respective dBm measurements expressed as RSSI. Mine shows an RSSI of -52 dBM

For Android users, Wi-Fi Analyzer is a step easier. Open the app and look for the networks found. Each entry will list strength as dBm.

Windows 10 doesn’t have a built-in way to view precise signal strength, although the netsh wlan show interface command gives you your signal strength as a percentage.
Drop to a command prompt Start and type cmd, hit enter to open the command prompt, not type without the ‘ ‘  ‘netsh wlan show interface’

Name : Wireless Network Connection
Description : Intel(R) Centrino(R) Wireless-N 1030
GUID : 04e2e80f-69de-4616-a7fd-eaccb7c5ec80
Physical address : 4c:80:93:11:e3:fb
State : connected
SSID : mobile
BSSID : 00:2c:c8:00:13:60
Network type : Infrastructure
Radio type : 802.11n
Authentication : WPA2-Personal
Cipher : CCMP
Connection mode : Auto Connect
Channel : 1
Receive rate (Mbps) : 144
Transmit rate (Mbps) : 144
Signal : 99%
Profile : mobile

There are a few application out there for Windows but we use inSSIDer, there is also MAC version which is in Beta right now, this Wi-Fi network discovery tool displays every wireless hotspot’s MAC address, encryption, signal strength and channel, and is the standard troubleshooting tool for millions of Wi-Fi users throughout the world.

RSSI, or “Received Signal Strength Indicator,” is a measurement of how well your device can hear a signal from an access point or router. It’s a value that is useful for determining if you have enough signal to get a good wireless connection.

Strong signal strength results in more reliable connections and higher speeds.
Signal strength is represented in -dBm format (0 to -100). This is the power ratio in decibels (dB) of the measured power referenced to one milliwatt.
The closer the value is to 0, the stronger the signal. For example, -41dBm is better signal strength than -61dBm.

Noise Level
The noise level indicates the amount of background noise in your environment.

If the noise level is too high, it can result in degraded strength and performance for your wireless signal strength.
Noise level is measured in -dBm format (0 to -100). This is the power ratio in decibels (dB) of the measured power referenced to one milliwatt.
The closer the value to 0, the greater the noise level.
Negative values indicate less background noise. For example, -96dBm is a lower noise level than

Signal to Noise Ratio
The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is the power ratio between the signal strength and the noise level.

This value is represented as a +dBm value.
In general, you should have a minimum of +25dBm signal-to-noise ratio. Lower values than +25dBm result in poor performance and speeds.

For example:

If you have a -41dBm signal strength, and a -50dBm noise level, this results in a poor signal-to-noise ratio of +9dBm.
If you have a -41dBm signal strength, and a -96dBm noise level, this results in an excellent signal-to-noise ratio of +55dBm.


wifi signal strength
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