Diagnosing Problems and Improving Wireless Network Signals at Home

On January 28, 2015, Posted by , In Uncategorized, With No Comments

Wireless networks in your home or office can be a pain. Dead spots and signal problems are all too common and can lead to a serious loss of productivity. While working on some WebTO™ website designs today I was troubleshooting some issues in my own home and ran across this wonderful article that explains how to diagnose and address signal problems with your Mac and the Airport Utility application.

Here are the take-home points:

Diagnosing Signal Quality with the S/N ratio

  • Hold Option and press the Airport icon in your Mac’s toolbar to see the wireless status of your computer. Specifically look for the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) and Noise level. Subtract these numbers to get a sort of signal strength rating for your computer in its current location. This is referred to as the Signal to Noise ratio (S/N)
  • Lets say your RSSI is -40 and your Noise is -80. This is excellent. Your S/N ratio is (-40) – (-80) = +40. Yay! You probably have a great connection right now.
  • Lets say your RSSI is -40 and your Noise is -40. This is bad. Your S/N ration is (-40) – (-40) = 0. Not good. There is as much noise in your network as signal. You probably don’t have a good connection right now.

Fixing your Network

There are lots of solutions, and the article outlines how to decide which one will work for you based on your diagnosis you’ve just done. But here are some of the possible tricks to get your Internet signal faster and more consistent.

  • Move your router to a more central location
  • Add another router to extend your network
  • Position your router to avoid walls/ceilings if possible.
  • Sometimes simpler is better. If you’ve set up a bunch of extenders you’re probably just making the network confused and causing interference with your own signal.
  • Check other devices in your home and see if they may be operating on the same frequency (cordless phones are notorious for this)

I encourage you to check our the full article (found here) for help

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