Wi-Fi signal strength

In Googling about how devices classify the signal strength to the number of bars on a Wi-Fi icon, I came across this wonderful page from Dong Knows Tech. I think that I might clip this to my notes for ease of sharing, as it gives a nice balance between what someone may want to know without going to deep into the maths. Which over the years, I’ve mostly learned to just pay attention to as doubling and halving of power, because smarter people than me created radio stuff. That page also gives good re-enforcements for the less savvy, that while more dBm is better the difference between two values in dBm isn’t a straight line: it’s curvy. I especially like how it explains the difference between broadcast power and received signal, because most normal people don’t use negative numbers as often as us code monkeys do.

Also was helpful for me since I’ve now learned how to bring up the data on my Mac without having to pop over to system information. Sitting in my dining area off the kitchen, Shion gets a respectable enough -74 to -77 dBm — now consider, my 10 year old Asus is literally across the house and on the second floor. Making me at the furthest point from my router that doesn’t involve sitting in front of the fire place or stepping outside onto the patio. My dining area is actually the worst point inside despite the fireplace being further from the router, because the stairs and kitchen cabinets lay in between: that is to say, my fireplace has better line of sight but worse distance to my router; my dining area has shorter distance but more obstacles in terms of pipes, studs, and drywall, and you know an actual floor/ceiling instead of just looking over the upstairs railing. The dBm value is a good read of this, as standing in front of my fireplace, Shion reads about -62 to -67 dBm.

For me, I’m finding that the 5 Ghz Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) from my old RT-AC68 is good enough that I am getting usable signal virtually everywhere in my home. On the 2.4 Ghz band, devices show full Wi-Fi bars pretty much everywhere when scanning for networks. Most of my devices are on 5 Ghz, so I’m finding a lack of reason to shift. I was a little concerned about what the modem’s location would do to signal if my router is next to it.

And then I remembered, I used to have to put an entire apartment building between me and my Asus before my phone’s Wi-Fi crapped out 😂