The lack of a good Wi-Fi signal can be a source of frustration, whether you’re trying to finish a job or play your game. A weak Wi-Fi signal not only reduces speeds, but also increases latency, making your overall connection erratic and less reliable. Therefore, in this article we will show you how to measure the signal strength (RSSI) of your Wi-Fi connection on your Mac or Windows PC. This will help you better troubleshoot any connection issues with your broadband.
Check Wi-Fi Signal Strength on Windows or Mac (2021)
There are multiple ways to check the exact signal strength of your Wi-Fi connection on your computer. On Windows, this includes the network connection panel, Command Prompt, and PowerShell. There are also third-party Wi-Fi analyzer apps in Windows that help you measure the signal strength of your Wi-Fi. On Mac, things are much simpler as you can check your Wi-Fi signal strength with one click. So, let’s take a detailed look at all these methods to check the Wi-Fi signal strength on your computer.
Check Wi-Fi Signal Strength in Windows
As mentioned earlier, there are multiple ways to check Wi-Fi signal strength in Windows. We will discuss all of these in this article today.
Method 1: Check Signal Strength Using Wi-Fi Icon in Taskbar
The easiest way to see Wi-Fi signal strength in Windows is to use the network icon in the Taskbar. Here’s how to do it:
Click the network icon in the Windows Taskbar to see a list of all available Wi-Fi signals in your location. As you can tell, the higher the number of bars next to the name of a Wi-Fi connection, the better the signal. A full set of bars is ideal, a missing bar can also be used. With just two bars you’ll be hard pressed to make a reliable connection, while one bar means your connection will be unusable.
note: The screenshot above is from Windows 11 Insider Preview, but the method works similarly on Windows 10. You can learn how to upgrade to Windows 11 using the linked guide.
While this method will give you a rough estimate of the Wi-Fi strength of available networks, it does not give you an exact scientific measurement. This is where the next few methods come in handy.
Method 2: Check Wi-Fi Signal Strength Using Command Prompt
You can check your Wi-Fi signal strength using Command Prompt for a better and more accurate result. Here’s how:
- First, open the Command Prompt window. To do this, open the “Run” dialog using the Windows keyboard shortcut Windows key + R. Now type or copy + paste “cmd.exe” (without the quotes) and press Enter.
note: You can also open Command Prompt by searching for “cmd” (without the quotes) in the Windows search box..
- Type the following command in the Command Prompt window and press Enter:
netsh wlan show interfaces. You will now see the signal quality of your current network connection.
note: You must be connected to a Wi-Fi network for this method to work..
Method 3: Check Wi-Fi Signal Strength Using PowerShell
Another way to check the Wi-Fi signal strength of your current connection is with Windows PowerShell. Like the previous method, this one only works on the current wireless connection. Here’s how you act in this regard:
- First, open Windows PowerShell on your Windows computer. To do this “power shield” (without the quotes) in the Windows search box and click on “.Windows PowerShell“.
- Now type or copy + paste the following command and hit Enter:
(netsh wlan show interfaces) -Match '^\s+Signal' -Replace '^\s+Signal\s+:\s+',''. Now you will see the signal quality of your current signal.
You can also use the bracketed snippet – the same command used in Command Prompt. Doing so will get exactly the same result as the previous method. The expanded command filters out additional information and shows you only the percentage that shows your Wi-Fi signal quality.
Method 4: Check Wi-Fi Signal Using Third-Party Apps
While you can measure your current Wi-Fi signal strength in Windows, there are no native methods in the operating system to see the full strength of all available networks in your location. For this, you need to resort to third-party applications.
To measure Wi-Fi signal strength in Windows, Fing (free), Wi-Fi Information View (free), Wi-Fi Analyzer (free), inSSIDer (free), and more. However, this is the free and open source application that we will be using for this tutorial. Vistumbler. The latest version of the app is officially available for Windows 10 and earlier, but works fine on Windows 11 as well.
To check the signal strength of all Wi-Fi networks in your area using Vistumbler, first download Latest version of the app from Github. You can download the installer (.exe) or the portable version as the ZIP file I used.
note: If you choose the latter, you will need a file archiving tool such as WinRAR, WinZip or 7Zip to extract the file.
As you can see, the app shows the exact RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) levels for each available Wi-Fi network. It is also one of the most comprehensive Wi-Fi analysis tools you can use on your computer by showing the signal strength percentage.
RSSI is measured in decibels per milliwatt (dBm) and is the most accurate measure of signal strength. An RSSI of around -30dBm offers the best quality Wi-Fi, while any signal down to -60dBm is good enough for everyday use. Anything beyond -70dBm is unusable for most purposes, while you’ll be hard pressed to connect to anything on the wrong side of -80dBm.
Check Wi-Fi Signal Strength on Mac
Checking Wi-Fi signal strength on Mac is a one-click operation. Here’s how to do it:
Hold down the option key while clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the top menu bar. You will now see the Wi-Fi signal strength (RSSI value in dBm) in a drop-down menu alongside a range of other network-related information.
Easily Check How Strong Your Wi-Fi Signal Is
Checking the signal strength of Wi-Fi networks is easy regardless of whether you’re on Windows or Mac. However, for the best information you should consult third-party utilities on Windows, while Mac offers a one-click native solution. Either way, now that you know how to check the signal strength of available Wi-Fi networks in your location, check out how to find saved Wi-Fi passwords on your Windows PC. Plus, learn more about Wi-Fi calling and the best Wi-Fi 6E features while you’re at it.