How Do You Measure Your Wi-Fi Signal Strength?
Without a good signal strength, your Wi-Fi connection will suffer or not exist at all. That is why it is important to test your connection strength when your internet starts to seem slow. There are a few things you can check first before resorting to using a signal strength meter to test your signal strength.
What to do first
There are a few things to look at first before running a signal strength test:
- Give your router a reboot
Rebooting your router can fix a lot of issues. Often, a reset will clear things up. However, if a reboot doesn’t do the trick to speed up your connection, go to the next step.
- Check your Wi-Fi network
Your Wi-Fi network could have issues. To find out if your network have an issue, use an ethernet cable connection with your device(s). If the connection is still slow or lost completely, then it’s likely your Wi-Fi signal that is bad.
If neither of the previous steps fixes your slow Wi-Fi, then it’s time to check your Wi-Fi signal strength.
Measuring your Wi-Fi signal strength and what to look for
It is easy to measure your Wi-Fi signal strength. But there is one tricky part about it is, which is understanding the results.
The first thing to understand is what the numbers and measurements mean. Wi-Fi signal strength is measured in decibel milliwatts (dBm). The measurements are displayed as negative numbers on a scale from -30 dBm to -90 dBm. A Wi-Fi signal strength of -30 dBm is considered a perfect signal. A Wi-Fi signal strength of -90 dBm is considered totally disconnected.
Generally, you are looking for a signal strength between -50 dBm and -67 dBm. At -50 dBm, your signal strength is considered excellent and you should not experience any connection troubles. At -60 dBm, your signal is at a good, reliable strength. At -67dBm, your signal is at the minimum reading that you want to see. At this measurement, you can still access online services that require a reliable connection and Wi-Fi signal strength. Anything beyond this measurement (-70, -80, -90 dBm) is cause for concern.
Measuring your signal strength can be done in two ways. There is an easy way and a more advanced way. The more advanced way will always give you more specific results.
An easy way to measure your Wi-Fi signal strength
The easiest way to measure how strong your Wi-Fi signal is, is to move throughout your space and look at the Wi-Fi symbol in the upper right corner of your device. The more solid bars, the stronger the signal. By checking your connection this way, you can note where in your space you have a weak signal or lose your signal completely.
This method will not give you specific numbers, but it will give you an idea of where the Wi-Fi signal is doing well and where it is not reaching at all.
A more advanced way to measure your Wi-Fi signal strength
The more advanced way to check your Wi-Fi signal is by using a Wi-Fi signal strength meter of some sort. There are tools like apps and management platforms out there that you can use. Some are free, but most of them you will have to pay for (and for good reason!).
These tools do all of the heavy lifting for you by running tests on your network and giving you specific numbers back. Knowing the specifics will help you or a professional figure out how to troubleshoot your weak Wi-Fi signal and get your network to a better strength.
We suggest a tool like Optim, because if you are going to pay for a tool, make sure that it works for you. Optim makes home networking a breeze by doing the work for you and then letting you know your network’s performance results in a dashboard that is easy to read and understand. You can manage all of your devices with the one tool, which keeps your home network strong, smooth and secure.
Optim™ Managed Wi-Fi solution is available through Internet Service Providers (ISP) that you can trust. Ask for it today. And, if you want to learn more about other technology news, follow along with Actiontec’s blog.