Checking Router Signal Strength
Before you learn how to how to make a WiFi router faster, you need to know how to check on its speed in the first place. Luckily, there are many ways to do this, and most of them are on the simpler side. Once you get a full understanding of the speed of your wireless network, you can go about fixing it as necessary, such as learning how to set up range extenders and the like.
Here are ways to check on your router signal strength.
How Can You Check The Strength Of Your Wifi Signal
We are going to show you how to check your WiFi signal strength using some of the most common devices found in businesseslaptops and smart phones. In addition, we will discuss how to use heat mapping software and how to get a performance assessment if you’d rather offload the troubleshooting to us.
Checking your WiFi signal is the easiest if you’re running Mac OS.
How To Improve Wifi Signal Strength
Testing the strength of your WiFi signal is the first step towards a faster, more reliable connection. There are many things that you can do to improve your WiFi signal once you’ve measured it, including:
- Re-locating your router to a more central location in your home
- Updating your router firmware to the latest version
- Switching between the two WiFi frequency bands
- Choosing a better WiFi channel
If youve discovered that you can only travel a short distance from your router without losing signal strength, it may also be worth looking into a WiFi system for a mesh network setup to easily patch that range gap. Now that you understand how to test your WiFi signal strength, the opportunities for improvement are endless.
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How To Use The Control Panel To Know The Strength Of The Signal
Theres a more complicated way to find out the signal strength of your Wi-Fi. This method is implemented by the control panel and for this you need to
- Go to the search panel and enter control panel.
- Go to Control Panel and select Network and Internet.
- Go to the Networks and the Sharing Center
- The green sticks indicate the strength of your Wi-Fi signal, you can also click on the name of your network to get more detailed information.
- Here you can see more detailed information about the Wi-Fi network and also see the strength of the signal of this network.
How To Check Your Wi
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor-in-Chief of Review Geek. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. Hes also a smarthome enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read more…
If your internet seems slow or web pages wont load, the problem could be your Wi-Fi connection. Perhaps youre too far from the source, or thick walls are blocking the signal. Heres how to check your precise Wi-Fi signal strength.
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Using The Control Panel
The above mentioned methods are ideal for users who just wish to learn more about the signal strength of their Wi-Fi to determine if they need to relocate to receive better WiFi signals. But if you need an actual rounded figure as to how much the signal strength of your WiFi strength is then you need to use Command Prompt and Windows PowerShell as shown below.
Tip #: Reduce The Number Of Devices Using Up The Bandwidth
Low signal and strength issues can be a problem with the applications and devices using your internet connection. Activities that can be significant bandwidth hogs include:
When devices are using a large amount of your bandwidth, they can cause slow-downs for other devices that can have the appearance of poor signal strength.
Try reducing the number of devices you have eating up your internets bandwidth at any one time. If you intend to stream high-quality video or play online games, try doing so without multiple devices running as well.
You can automate this process somewhat if your router utilizes Quality of Service methods. These methods automatically prioritize operations to help reduce connectivity and bandwidth issues. Check with your router manual or device manufacturer to determine if your device utilizes Quality of Service, and if so, how to adjust the device settings to make it work.
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Open Your Wireless Adapter’s Utility Program
Some manufacturers of wireless network hardware or notebook computers provide software applications that monitor wireless signal strength. These applications report signal strength and quality based on a percentage from zero to 100 percent and additional detail tailored specifically to the hardware.
The operating system utility and the vendor hardware utility may display the same information in different formats. For example, a connection with an excellent 5-bar rating in Windows may show in the vendor software as excellent with a percentage rating anywhere between 80 and 100 percent. Vendor utilities can often tap into extra hardware instrumentation to precisely calculate radio signal levels as measured in decibels .
How To Check Wifi Signal Strength In Network Connections
If you have more than one Wi-Fi adapter, you may be better off checking WiFi strength in the Network Connections section of the Control Panel. Its a little tucked away, so heres where you can find it:
Double-click your WiFi network to view more information about your connection, including its speed, duration, and a larger signal bar.
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Tip #: Adjust Your Router Antenna
If youre like me, you dont have a high-powered wi-fi router that even has antennae. However, if youre using one of the many routers available that do have such multiple antennae, adjusting their direction could help improve your signal.
Its easy to think that pointing your wi-fi antenna straight up is the right way of doing things. But this is actually not the case in almost any situation.
Instead, if youre using a 2.4 GHz router, point them perpendicular, e.g. one antenna pointed vertically, and one horizontally, making an L shape. For 5 GHz, point them flat out or at a 45 degree angle for best results.
A former Apple wi-fi engineer shared a few tidbits on Mac Observer. You can check out more details and a few more of his tips here. Meanwhile, you can find some interesting data on DSLReports from a networking professional who did a test using both frequencies.
Tip #: Check For Equipment That Might Be Causing An Interference
As wireless networks utilize radio frequencies to send and receive data, theres a chance your wireless signal may be weak due to interference from equipment sending radio signals. All of the following devices can interfere with wireless signals:
- Cordless telephones
- Some satellite TV receivers
In general, wireless technology of various sorts is only increasing. This means that you likely have multiple forms of wireless equipment sending signals throughout your home. If any of that equipment is operating at the same frequency as your wireless router, interference is going to occur.
Youll know that youre dealing with a signal interference issue if any of the following are true:
- Your wireless devices consistently show low signal strength or the signal strength appears to go up and down even when youre not changing locations
- You experience a far slower internet connection when connected to Wi-Fi
- Your file transfer rates suffer when connected to Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth devices have difficulty pairing
- You regularly lose internet connection
If you believe there may be interference issues, turn off your other devices that are also sending out wireless signals, one by one. Check to see if there is a difference in the signal strength or range after you turn off each device. If you see a noticeable change after any device is turned off, youve found one of the culprits.
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Connectify Hotspot Gets You Much More Than A Stronger Wifi Signal
Here’s what else you can do with Connectify Hotspot besides increasing your WiFi signal strength:
- Save up to 60% of Internet bandwidth by using the built-in universal ad blocker. It even blocks in-app ads!
- Easily bridge other devices onto your home network with WiFi Bridging Mode: eliminate all game consoles and smart TV issues with your home WiFi network!
- Save Money While Traveling: Get all devices online for the price of one when being charged for Internet per device at hotels, on airplanes, etc.
- Share any Type of Internet Connection with All your Devices: share Internet from existing WiFi networks, LAN, DSL, 3G/4G, even tethered smartphones!
How to increase WiFi signal strength? Get Connectify Hotspot repeater software now on your computer!
Poor Connection Between Your Router And Your Ring Device
If your internet speeds are good, you may still have an issue with the strength of the signal between your router and the Ring device. Signal strength is just as important as speed when it comes to transmitting a video image from your Ring device to your Ring app. To check the strength of your wifi signal, do the following:
- Open your Ring app
- Tap on the three lines on the top left of the screen
- Select Devices
- Tap on the Ring device you would like to test
- Tap on the Device Health tile
- On the Device Health screen, look at your Signal Strength under the Network section.
If your signal is poor or very poor, this can be caused by the distance between the router and your Ring device, the layout of your home, or interference caused by other devices or materials in your home such as stucco, brick, metal, large mirrors or glass doors.
More Wifi Resources
If you are having wifi trouble, the following Help Center articles will help you understand more about wifi and offer possible solutions:
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Minimize Attenuation And Remove Obstacles
This is where we start getting into the strategic planning and technical side of optimizing your WiFi signal strength.
Your entire environment has a serious impact on how your WiFi signal behaves. Here’s where we need to learn about attenuation.
Attenuation is the reduction in power of a signal through open air or as it tries to move through materials metal, concrete, wood, soil, foliage, etc.. With indoor WiFi, the materials that block WiFi signals are the largest attenuators.
Here’s a graph of common materials and the amount of attenuation it creates for your WiFi signal and weakening it’s strength:
Image Source: Digi
When trying to optimize your wireless network, consider relocating furniture or moving that access point away from that hallway with reinforced concrete.
Pro Tip: Attenuation is not to be confused with interference. Interference is the obstruction of the signal by drowning it out with stronger signals in the same spectrum or disrupting it via other means EMI or RFI .
How To Measure Received Signal Strength
You can use a Wi-Fi scanner application to measure the received signal strength at a specific location and time. The number you are looking for is the RSSI, which means Received Signal Strength Indicator.
If you are on a computer running Mac OS X, you can also get the RSSI without installing any additional applications:
If what you are actually trying to do is map the signal strength for an entire house or apartment, we recommend using a heatmapping tool rather than a Wi-Fi scanner. This tool will help you visualize the wireless coverage in different parts of your home.
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Make Sure You’re Using The 5ghz Band
All enterprise-grade access points support the 5GHz band and most business WiFi networks today are being designed for both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands with the 5GHz being the priority.
The 5GHz band not only provides faster data speeds at a higher rate, but is also less vulnerable to interference since other nearby devices, such as smart speakers and keyless locks, typically use the 2.4GHz band.
Most importantly, there’s more flexibility with 5G because there’s more WiFi channels to choose from .
It’s important to note that 5GHz doesn’t have as far as a reach, so you need to make sure that you have enough APs to support the coverage that you need.
To determine which band your device is currently connected to, go into your WiFi network settings to view the list of nearby networks. Your SSID will appear two times and the name that has some version of 5GHz at the end is the one you usually want to be on.
How Do We Measure Wifi Signal Strength
As we get into the nitty-gritty of WiFi signal strength, something to keep in mind is that there are several different ways that we can measure a WiFi signal:
Firstthe most accurate measurement of WiFi signal strength is measuring in mW .
However, there ends up being a bunch of decimal places because WiFi has low transmit power, so we more commonly measure in the decibels with relation to milliwatts known as dBm .
Since WiFi signal strength is less than zero dBm, it’s measured in the negatives.
There’s also a ten-fold change in mW as it relates to decibels. Here’s a chart of the logarithm:
For the most part, dBm is the way that most network engineersincluding our teammeasure signal strength. However, many manufacturers use an additional measurement tool called RSSI to measure signal strength.
RSSI is typically notated on the WiFi devices in graphical terms or numerically, as shown below.
But RSSI is only a relative index because each manufacturer uses an arbitrary set of units. We see this unit of measurement different all the time because it’s being pulled from the client device.
For example, the Atheros WiFi chipset measures RSSI based on values 0 to 60 . While other chipsets might use different values, such as 0-100 or even 0-255.
As if trying to understand the physics of WiFi wasn’t confusing enough, the units of measurement are just as complicated.
So here’s a quick and easy breakdown of how we measure signal strength:
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