WiFi strength isn't just numbers and strength bars, it has a very real effect on your experience with WiFi connected devices. It can be the difference between being completely immersed in a movie you're streaming on Netflix, or groaning in frustration when it has to buffer every few minutes. It can mean unexpectedly disconnecting from that important video call for work. If you're an online gamer, it can cost you a win and see you fall down the leaderboard.

WiFi connected devices are nothing new, but our reliance on them has been steadily increasing over the last few decades. With so many devices reliant on strong WiFi to work optimally, getting to the bottom of WiFi strength issues is a must. That is why so many people are choosing to perform a WiFi strength test and use the results to increase their WiFi strength.

How to Measure WiFi Strength

Before you start trying to increase the strength of your WiFi, first you need to find the baseline by measuring your WiFi strength. This WiFi analysis is done through a WiFi strength test. Many websites offer WiFi strength test services, but we'll be focusing on how to conduct a test with NetSpot. NetSpot is a popular WiFi strength test app and has a range of powerful features that help you perform in-depth WiFi analysis, including WiFi heat mapping.

how to increase wifi strength

illustration by Kristyna Stastna

Perform a WiFi Strength Test With NetSpot

With NetSpot, you can perform a wireless site survey from your Mac or Windows device. First, you need to download the NetSpot app and install it. Next, you open the app and find the Discover option in the top right corner. NetSpot will then find all of the WiFi networks in your location and tell you their signal strength.

How to Tell If Your Wifi Strength Is Good or Bad

WiFi signal strength is expressed in dBm, and always as a negative value. This may sound confusing, but it all comes together when you understand what the values represent in relation to each other.

The maximum signal strength is -30 dBm. This essentially means that your wireless signal cannot be any stronger and that you and the WiFi access point are in an optimal location. To reach -30 dBm in your WiFi strength test, you would have to be standing directly next to the router and the area would have to be clear of any WiFi inhibiting materials or conditions (no interference from other devices and no obstacles in the way). Achieving this number is unrealistic for most environments.

However, that doesn't mean you can't have excellent WiFi. A dBm of -50 is considered extremely good signal strength. A dBm of -60 is considered a good and reliable signal strength. You would be able to complete most activities, such as video streaming, browsing, and gaming, without any issue at this strength.

When the WiFi signal strength is at -70 dBm, it's no longer a strong signal. This strength would be sufficient for light browsing or sending and receiving emails, but you would struggle with more intensive tasks. At -80 dBm, you would just be able to connect to the network, but the connection might drop entirely. You'd be unlikely to do anything on the internet at this strength.

How to Increase WiFi Strength

Below are the best solutions for tackling slow WiFi and boosting your wireless signal strength. If your WiFi strength test showed weak signal, you might want to try these tips.

Router Position - It can be challenging for your router to distribute the WiFi signal if it is in a poor location. If your router is located on the ground or behind an object, this could be the source of the problem. Ideally, your router should be located in a higher position, for example, on a shelf. It should also be centrally located so that the signal can reach all areas of the building as equally as possible.

Distance from Router - You will likely experience poorer signal strength the further your device is from the router. Ideally, you should have your device as close to the router as possible when using it. However, this isn't always practical in the modern world where we want to use our devices in every room of our house. This is why a good router position is so important. If you have a particularly large area to cover, then a WiFi extender might be a good idea.

Interference - The frequency of other radio wave devices in your home may interfere with your signal. For example, Microwaves use a similar frequency to WiFi waves. Modern microwaves do have robust shielding to stop microwaves leaving the appliance, but placing your router next to the microwave isn't ideal. Bluetooth also operates at 2.4 GHz (the same as default WiFi settings). Modern Bluetooth devices are adept at channel management to combat any interference, but problems can still occur, especially with older Bluetooth devices. To address this, try and keep your router away from older Bluetooth devices.


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