What is WiFi?
Most of the people are familiar with the word WiFi but don’t actually know what the word stands for. WiFi stands for Wireless Fidelity. The use of radio waves to provide network connectivity for different uses like internet and data transfer involves a technology known to us as WiFi.
We use wireless adapters to host hotspot servers, which allows us to establish a wireless connection between the devices, which include mobile phones, laptops, computers, or tablets. Devices connected to the wireless network allows us access to the internet services.
The connection itself requires configurations, and after configuring the WiFi hotspot provides the connected devices an amount of internet data by emitting a range of frequency between 2.4GHz – 5Ghz.
1] How does WiFi work?
Like a cellular reception, the WiFi works on the same principle of transmitting data in the form of radio waves from a transmitter (i.e. the router), to the receiver (i.e. the device). The router is a passive source which decodes the originally transmitted data transmitted by an antenna or an Ethernet cable and sends it to the receiver. It works like a two-way traffic. The networking standard frequency is 802.11 and has different variants depending on the users need.
- 11a transmits data at 5GHz using OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) and can transmit at 54mb/sec.
- 11b transmits data at 2.4GHz, is relatively slow and can transmit data at 11mb/sec.
- 11g transmits data at 2.4GHz using OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) and can transmit at 54mb/sec.
- 11ac transmits data at 5GHz and can transmit data at 140mb/sec.
2] Benefits of Wi-Fi
It eliminates the worries of cables and is very easy to operate. It allows the user access to the internet on their mobile devices, and nearly every place nowadays has a WiFi connection, so your devices stay connected to the web 24/7. also It is more convenient for end users, and everyone can take full advantage of the internet.
3] What is Wi-Fi Signal Strength?
To explain this, we need to know the roots and that it the units to represent this and how does it affect our WiFi. Only after knowing this, we can understand why it is necessary to monitor it.
The best way to represent would have been in milliwatts, but due to the very low power transmission, the decimals can cause confusion, so we use other units for our convenience. WiFi signal strength is measured in dBm or percentile usually.
A level of 100% is normally equal to -35 dBm or higher while the level of 1% is -95 dBm, the 50% mark is at 65 dBm. (-40dBm = 0.0001mW). RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) is also a common measurement, but it isn’t standardized.
The most common of the ones discussed is dBm (decibels relative to milliwatt), and an ideal would be somewhere near -35dBm but is very difficult to achieve, and it isn’t a requirement either so the most common apps use the signal strength near -65dBm which is much easier to achieve comparative to -35dBm. Anything about -80dBm is like a dead connection and is hardly workable.
Our next target is to track the WiFi signal speed, and for that, the best recommendable app is NetSpot. It’s a professional WiFi signal strength meter and is absolutely free.
4] How to improve our Signal Strength?
For this, we need to keep tracking the signal strength and keep the following things in check.
- Router Location: The router should be placed as high as possible and should be in a central position to provide signal in all directions equally. Things like furniture and shelves should be kept in mind and shouldn’t be placed in between the router and the antenna signals. Same goes for walls and other interferences. Minimize all metallic surfaces and mirrors that can reflect Wifi signals.
- Update: Keep the firmware up to date.
- Distance from the router: For high requirements, the distance is always a crucial factor and shouldn’t be ignored in any cause.
- Change from WEP to WPA/WPA2: WEP (“Wired Equivalent Privacy”) and WPA/WPA2 (“Wireless Protected Access”) are security algorithms that keep hackers from breaking into the network. The only problem is that WEP is a lot less secure than WPA/WPA2. So if you’re running your internet through WEP instead of WPA/WPA2, consider changing so that hackers don’t get access to your network.
- Use MAC addresses to filter the number of devices operating on your network at a time. You’ll get a stronger signal strength depending on the number of devices connected. Limiting the number of devices that are accessing the network by using MAC address filters are becoming a normal routine for everyone nowadays. MAC address is a “Media Access Control” identifier for devices that people you know, can access and use.
- Publicizing your local internet access is also a big issue regarding signal strength. Don’t tell others about your internet connection to avoid your signal strength being divided into other devices. In most of the case, it is your neighbors and friends. One possible solution to this is to make your connection hidden so others don’t ask about it, but other people using computers can still view a hidden connection.
5] How to test your WiFi Signal Strength?
In order to determine our WiFi signal strength, our best course of action is to use a WiFi signal strength app like NetSpot. Installing this excellent WiFi analyzer on a device will allow us to test the strength of the WiFi signal throughout our coverage area.
The first – and quickest – way is to use Discover Mode. If you just need to measure your wireless network signal strength in one location, then Discover Mode is all you need.
6] What is the difference between Wifi Signal Strength and Signal Quality?
This is one tricky question and is one of the most frequently asked one too. To explain this, consider standing in front of a very loud speaker in a concert. You can’t hear or understand much, but the volume itself is very high.
This is an example of strength vs quality. For the signal strength parameter, we observe the decibels with reference to milliwatts, but for quality, we check out the noise levels (also in decibels).