How to check your WiFi signal strength: Test in under 5 minutes

How to check your WiFi signal strength: Test in under 5 minutes

Date: 19/09/23

Author: Anthony Harrison

Struggling to get a strong or reliable WiFi signal? Learn how to check your WiFi signal strength with a precise test on iPhones, Android devices, Windows 10 or 11 computers, and Macs.

First off, take a glance at your WiFi indicator symbol — those bars are the initial strength test. More bars mean stronger signals, while error messages might be a sign of trouble.

Here’s another thing with internet 'speed' and 'signal strength' — they aren’t the same. Speed is about how fast your internet can run, like how quickly you can download.

Try a quick speed test now.

Signal strength is about how strong the connection is, like how many bars you get on your phone or in a specific room. We’ll cover how to test and boost signal strength in our guide.

How do you measure WiFi signal strength?

For a precise reading of your WiFi strength, you need to check the "decibels relative to a milliwatt" or dBm. The scale goes from -30 (strong) to -90 (weak), so -50 to -60 dBm is the sweet spot for reliable broadband.

Want to make weak signal a thing of the past? Learn more about Mesh WiFi and how it works.

Why WiFi signal strength matters

Signal strength can mess with your work and home life. When the signal is weak, brace yourself for disappointing moments. Poor WiFi signal strength leads to these common issues:

  • Unreliable connections and dropouts
  • Not getting the full broadband speed you pay for
  • Hassle, frustration, and inconvenience

Concrete walls can block WiFi signals. If you’re far away from the router, the signal may get weak too. Learn more about what blocks WiFi signals.

And don't forget about other gadgets hogging the signal and causing a jam!

A strong signal will give you the smoothest experience. Otherwise, you might be joining the 8 in 10 Brits who experience WiFi rage.

Now that we’ve cleared up why WiFi signal strength matters, let’s review how to check it.

How to check your WiFi signal strength on iPhone

To check WiFi signal strength on your iPhone, you’ll need an app that can scan WiFi signals, like the AirPort Utility app. To test your signal, do the following:

  1. Go to ‘Settings’ > ‘AirPort Utility
  2. Toggle ‘WiFi Scanner
  3. Open the app and tap ‘WiFi Scan
  4. Tap ‘Scan’ and select your network
  5. Look for the ‘RSSI -XX dBm’ result

Check the dBm for a precise reading. Remember, -50 to -60 dBm is a good strength. If the iPhone is still giving you an unreliable connection, it might be another issue.

How to check your WiFi signal strength on Android

First things first, head to the Google Play Store and grab a WiFi scanning app, like WiFi Analyzer or an alternative, if you prefer — install it, then use the following steps to test your signal strength:

  1. Scroll down and connect to the network you want to check
  2. The dBm reading will be right at your fingertips!

Make a note of your reading for an accurate gauge of signal strength. The lower the dBm goes, the stronger the signal–and the higher it goes the weaker the signal.

How to check your WiFi signal strength on Windows 10 or 11

On a Windows computer, you’ll need to grab an application to scan your WiFi, like the free inSSIDer app. Install it and then use the following steps to find your WiFi signal reading:

  1. Open it up and the dashboard will have all the dBm details
  2. Simply take the reading to confirm your signal strength–you know the drill!

Check WiFi signal with a command prompt

For the tech wizards out there, we’ve got a slightly more advanced way to check your WiFi signal strength for Windows 10 or 11 users too.

Open ‘Command prompt’ and type “netsh wlan show interfaces”, you’ll see a signal strength % and many other details–great if you want a quick test with no downloads.

How to check your WiFi signal strength on a Mac

For the Mac maestros out there, good news — your device already has all it needs to check WiFi signal strength. Your Mac’s WiFi signal bar symbol can show you details about your WiFi without installing anything:

  1. Just hold down the 'Option key (⌥)'
  2. Click the WiFi symbol on the top of your screen in the menu bar
  3. You’ll see the hidden WiFi menu — with the dBm, IP address, and other details

You’ll have all you need in a few clicks on a Mac computer and make a note of your dBm to confirm the WiFi’s signal strength.

How to boost your WiFi signal strength

It’s not much help just confirming your signal strength is bad! Try the following tips for an extra WiFi boost:

  • Find your router’s best position, which is a central and open spot where the signal can spread out.
  • Give your router some space — keep it away from other gadgets and obstacles that might block or jam the signal.
  • Update your router's firmware for more reliable performance, and consider changing the settings so it can automatically update the firmware.
  • Limit the devices on your network, so you’re not overloading the router — you can also plug in devices to reduce strain on the WiFi.
  • Try WiFi extenders or Mesh systems for a coverage boost, such as the high-quality, Dual or Tri-Band Mesh routers we offer.
  • Adjust the antenna position, keeping them upright and pointing away from obstacles for maximum signal.
  • Regularly restart your router to clear any frustrating technical glitches and improve performance

The above tips can help enhance dBm readings, so try them out and re-test the WiFi signal strength on your device to see what works best.

Learn how to boost your WiFi signal through walls. 


Here are some quick answers to common questions that come up when you check your WiFi signal strength:

What does mW mean?

mW means milliwatts —  it's a unit of power for measuring WiFi signal strength.

What does RSSI mean?

RSSI stands for Received Signal Strength Indicator — it's a value that shows your WiFi signal's strength.

What does dBm mean?

dBm is a signal strength measurement, which gives you a more precise way of saying how strong or weak your WiFi is.

How do I check my WiFi signal strength for free?

You can check your WiFi strength for free by using your device's built-in signal indicators or advanced network settings.

Is there an app to test WiFi signal strength?

Yes. You can use apps like Airport Utility (iPhone), WiFi Analyzer (Android), inSSIDer (Windows 10 or 11), and many other paid or free apps to test your WiFi signal strength. 

How to get a strong WiFi signal

Checking the signal strength and trying to boost your WiFi signal can help performance, but it’s meaningless without a fast internet speed.

Our unbeatable Premium WiFi service guarantee allows for reliable connections throughout the home for smooth internet surfing and less frustration. Your WiFi will be at your side wherever you roam throughout your home, which offers London’s highest speeds as part of our 1Gpbs and 3Gpbs service packages. Put us to the test.  

If you live in London, check your postcode to see if Community Fibre’s broadband is available in your area. And come back to our blog for more news, updates, and tips.

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