[Visualization] What is the Noise Level?

The Noise level is the amount of outside interference detected at each measurement point. Noise negatively affects your Wi-Fi signal. Sources of noise can include microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, wireless video cameras, wireless game controllers, fluorescent lights, and more.

Your noise level is best understood in comparison to your signal strength (see What is the signal-to-noise ratio?). Other Wi-Fi networks are not counted as noise — they are counted as interference (see the Signal-to-Interference Ratio). If you hover over the measurement markers on the map and look at the AP names on the left, you can see the exact noise levels for each location.

The Noise Level visualization is one of the PRO visualizations available only for the Pro and Enterprise versions of NetSpot on macOS.

If your noise levels are too high, see Troubleshooting High Noise Level for strategies to correct it. NetSpot PRO users also have access to Automated Troubleshooting, to help identify and fix noise issues.

There are several ways you can adjust this heatmap view:

  • Wi-Fi Network: Each Wi-Fi network detected can be mapped individually. Simply check the box next to the network(s) you wish to view on the left-hand side of the NetSpot window.
  • Wi-Fi Channel: By clicking on the Project Configuration gear icon (on the bottom-left), you can also view the noise level by channel.

    settings gear icon

    Project Configuration icon

  • View: By clicking on the Project Configuration gear icon and selecting Toggle, you can choose whether to show your path, sampling points, and AP titles on the map.
  • AP Detection Proximity: By clicking the Visualization Configuration gear icon (next to the visualization drop-down menu), you can filter out weaker access points (APs) by adjusting the AP detection proximity slider. The default is -60dBm.

    visualization gear icon

    Visualization Configuration icon

  • Min/Max Signal Level: By clicking the Visualization Configuration gear icon, the colors assigned to the noise level range can be adjusted by changing the Min Signal Level and Max Signal Level sliders. The default range is set to -96dBm (minimum) and -10dBm (maximum).

NetSpot WiFi scanner for macOS is available

updated: October 9, 2023 author: nsjill
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