WiFi is a highly reliable source for internet access and is highly recommended for users who want uninterrupted internet access with supersonic speed. However, if WiFi signal strength becomes weak, internet speed slows down, and the web browser also starts loading very slowly.
WiFi strength may never be the same all over your office or residence. And that is why uploading and the downloading speed is fast and slow at various times and places in your location. To find the best spot with a great network, therefore, you need to check the signal strength of your WiFi.
For devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, you can observe the signal strength of the WiFi you are connected to. The lower the number of bars, the weaker the strength of your WiFi will be.
When you walk around your home with your WiFi connection to your device, you will see the signal bars going up and down as you move closer to or farther from the router. This is a casual method of checking out the signal strength of your WiFi, and so may not provide precise information or numerical digits.
What is Considered a Good WiFi Signal Strength?
The unit that is used to check the signal strength of a WiFi is decibels relative to a milliwatt (dBm). It usually ranges from -30 to -90 on the scale. At -30 on the scale is an indication that the signal strength of your WiFi is presently the best and perfect.
However, this is only possible if you’re right next to the router or source of the network. At -90, the signal strength of your WiFi is at its weakest, and you may not even find it possible to connect to the web at this stage.
However, between -50 and -60, you may enjoy a relatively good network signal while anything above will make you experience a lag while using your WiFi.
Why WiFi Signal Strength Matters
If you have a strong WiFi signal, you will enjoy a more reliable connection. And this is what renders you capable of taking full advantage of the available internet speeds.
The strength of the WiFi signal depends predominantly on several factors, which include how far away the router is from you, the materials used in constructing the walls around you, whether it’s a 5GHz or 2.4GHz connection, etc.
If you are much closer to the router, you will have a stronger WiFi signal. Although 2.4GHz connections are known to broadcast much further, they are very prone to interference issues.
Thick walls made of dense materials such as concrete can block WiFi signals. Slow signals lead to slower internet speeds, dropouts, and total disconnection in some cases.
Please take note that it is not every connection problem that culminates from weak signal strength. If, for instance, the internet on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone seems somewhat slow, you should reboot your router.
But if the problem persists and the signal remains lackluster, the next thing you should do is to check out if the WiFi is the issue. Get a device and connect to the internet via Ethernet. If you’re still experiencing the same issue, the network is the problem.
But if the Ethernet connection is excellent and resetting the router didn’t help one bit, it is time to check the strength of the signal.
How Do I Check Signal Strength?
Before going any further, it must be stated that signal strength is not the same as network bandwidth. The latter is the speed you get from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Signal strength influences the functionality of the hardware that is connected to the WiFi as well as the range of the access point throughout a region or area.
So, how do you check signal strength? The first thing that you can do to ascertain the strength of your WiFi is to check if the devices you are using have any issues. A WiFi indicator can be seen in most devices, whether it’s Android, iOS, Windows, or Mac.
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Compare internet performance between devices to see what they display when it comes to WiFi strength. If you experience similar results on both devices, it means you have an excellent criterion to use.
If you have successfully determined that your WiFi connection is somehow weak at a particular spot, walk around your home. Pay close attention to the WiFi bars on your tablet or smartphone. Take note of how far you are from the router as well as how many walls there are between the walls, you, and the router.
This WiFi signal strength test may be rudimentary, but it will suffice.
How Can I Improve My Wifi Signal Strength?
The first step is to see how far you can go when you are at home and still see a -60 dBm signal. For instance, let’s say you can go as far as the edge of your home. If you can still get a -60 dBm signal, then whatever network issues you are experiencing has nothing to do with your WiFi.
However, if you are just a few feet outside the location of your router and you have already lost your WiFi signal. You may have to consider your router.
Perhaps, your router is a bit old, which may limit its broadcast. Or its placement is the reason why you are losing your WiFi signal. The walls of your home may also be very dense and thick.
If your router is old, then consider upgrading to a new one. Be sure to be on the lookout for a router that supports 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi signals. The latter’s signal doesn’t extend as far as a 2.4 GHz. However, it has many more options to bypass problems linked with interference.
If your home is large, a mesh router will be an excellent option to consider. The device can significantly boost WiFi signal in your home. Along with other impressive features like guest networks, automatic firmware updates, etc.
Of course, if you are not sure that you need a mesh router, consider creating a WiFi heatmap using the NetSpot app. A heatmap is an excellent way to determine where your wireless is weakest and strongest, thanks to a user-friendly visual.
NetSpot is undoubtedly the best app you can acquire to check WiFi signal strength.