How to Measure Received Signal Strength

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A strong Wi-Fi signal means you have a reliable and efficient connection. If your Wi-Fi keeps buffering, then your productivity is likely to be affected. Several factors can affect your Wi-Fi signal strength: whether 2.4 or 5ghz, distance from the router, and the wall materials separating you and the router.

A weak Wi-Fi signal means slow speeds and dropouts, and if it is extreme, you have a total disconnection. If you work close to the router, then the signal strength must be perfect. However, not all connection problems are as a result of a weak signal.

The first step to correcting a weak signal is to reboot your router. And how do you do it? Unplug the router from the power source for about ten seconds then power it back. The connection should be back after a few seconds.

What if the issue persists after resetting? Use a device connected to the same Wi-Fi through ethernet. If there is no change, then your network is the problem. If resetting the router was not helpful, and the ethernet connection is excellent, meaning you need to move and measure Wi-Fi signal strength

Check and Remove Interferences to your Wi-Fi

After measuring the Wi-Fi signal strength at a specific spot and determining it is weak, there are several things you can do to improve the signal and others that you can’t do. If your web pages are not loading, then you need to conduct a Wi-Fi site survey to uncover any underlying issues.

First, do not boost the signal you are receiving from the access point by crafting your antenna booster or anything similar. It is a risky move as you may worsen your connection, trip your neighbors’ connection, or even worse break the law while at it!

Regardless of your devices’ OS, Mac, iOS, Windows, or Android, it should have a Wi-Fi connection indicator. First, check if the device has any operational issues or whether the signal might have been mistakenly switched off. Typically, the Wi-Fi symbol is four or five curved bars. The more the bars, the stronger the signal and vice versa.

All gadgets indicate Wi-Fi strength differently. So, use another device to see if the indication of a weak signal is detected. If the results from both methods are the same, then your Wi-Fi connection is faulty.

After determining your Wi-Fi connection is weak from a particular spot, move around with the same devices, and note where the Wi-Fi bars increase or decrease. Also, keep track of the distance from the router or the walls between the router and you. It is a rudimentary check that works in most cases

Advanced Ways to Measure Wi-Fi Signal Strength

A Wi-Fi scanner app measures the Wi-Fi signal strength at a specific location and time using the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) number. If your PC runs Mac OS X, you don’t need to add any applications to get the RSSI number.

1. Long-press the Alt key as you tap on the Wi-Fi icon from your status menu.

2. All available networks will display.

3. Identify your network and all the information including the RSSI will be displayed immediately

If you measure the signal strength for an entire house or apartment, then a heat mapping tool will do a better job than a Wi-Fi scanner. A heat mapping tool will visualize coverage of the wireless signal in different parts of the apartment.

NOTE: To measure Wi-Fi signal strength on iOS, the Airport Utility App will suffice and Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android OS. Both apps are straightforward and show all results for any wireless networks in the vicinity.

However, you can dig deeper into your Wi-Fi using apps or programs such as the AirPort Utility app or Wi-Fi Analyzer. With multiple ways to measure the Wi-Fi signal strength, milliwatts (mW) is the most reliable besides RSSI. Although mW is accurate, it is also the hardest due to the many decimal points.

The RSSI option is also accurate, but vendors vary scales inconsistently. Bear in mind that dBm measurements display negative numbers that run from -30 – 90. So, stand next to the router, and if your connection is negative, it is a perfect connection. A connection at -90 is weak. A -50dBm is excellent, -60dBm is good enough to stream and make voice calls

Conclusion

Knowing the strength of your network will aid in correcting the issue. However, if your network shows most of the bars, the problem is not Wi-Fi strength. Look for interference, upgrade your router, or change the channel.

Make sure your new router supports both 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi signals. Although the 5GHz signal does not extend as far as the 2.4 GHz signal, it can comfortably bypass most interference issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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