There are not many things more frustrating than using a computer with a weak WiFi signal. When websites take ages to load and online video and audio streaming is interrupted every few seconds, then anger and frustration are quick to set in.
The good news is that measuring WiFi signal strength is easy, and you definitely don’t need to be an expert or own specialized equipment. All you need to do is pick one of the methods described in this article and follow our detailed step-by-step instructions.
The quickest way to check WiFi signal strength on Windows 10 is to open the action center and look at the WiFi status icon. Here’s what you need to do:
If you see three bars (and one small dot), then your WiFi signal strength is excellent. If you see only the dot, then your signal is far too weak to be usable. Anything in between is acceptable for email and other forms of text-only communication, but you should definitely check WiFi signal strength further to get to the bottom of the issue.
Windows 10 comes with a new settings menu, called simply Settings. There, you can control all aspects of your operating system and, among other things, see check your WiFi signal strength.
Alternatively, you can also go to the Wi-Fi section, where you can also access your Wi-Fi adapter’s hardware properties and other useful settings.
This method is for those Windows 10 users who prefer to use the traditional Control Panel instead of the new Settings app. Because the WiFi signal strength meter in the Control Panel is very basic, don’t expect to see detailed information about your WiFi.
From the Network and Sharing Center, you can also troubleshoot network problems or set up a new connection.
Believe it or not, but you can check the status of your WiFi network using the might Command Prompt, a command line interpreter application available in Windows 10 and older. Learning how to check WiFi signal strength using Command Prompt is surprisingly simple since the whole process involves just one command:
You should see a bunch of information about your WiFi interface, including the current signal strength (displayed as a percentage near the bottom).
You can think of PowerShell as a supercharged version of the Command Prompt. It consists of a command-line shell and a powerful scripting language, enabling sophisticated task automation and configuration management. But don’t worry: checking WiFi signal using PowerShell doesn’t require any scripting.
Your signal strength will be displayed near the bottom. Ideally, you want it to be between 80 and 100 percent. Anything less than that and tasks such as web browsing or video chatting are guaranteed to become less than satisfying.
All the above-described methods on how to check WiFi signal strength provide only very basic information. That may be fine if all you need is to quickly determine if a weak WiFi signal is the source of your connectivity issues, but real troubleshooting requires a different approach: a comprehensive WiFi signal strength app like NetSpot.
Besides being our go-to Windows WiFi signal strength meter, NetSpot is also one of the best apps to measure WiFi signal strength on Mac, making it incredibly easy to visualize, manage, troubleshoot, audit, plan, and deploy your wireless networks.
There are two ways to check WiFi signal using NetSpot: you can collect every detail about surrounding WiFi networks using Discover Mode, or you can outline your real-life WiFi data on a map using Survey Mode.
NetSpot’s Discover Mode is perfect for quickly and easily obtaining a comprehensive view of all wireless activity in your local area, which is essential when troubleshooting issues with WiFi signal interference and other problems.
You should now have a detailed heatmap of your local area.
NetSpot offers more than 15 heatmap visualizations to help troubleshoot just about any WiFi-related problem. The app can, for example, visualize signal-to-noise ratio, signal level, noise level, frequency band coverage, wireless transmit rate, and more.
You can download NetSpot for free from its official website and purchase a Home, Pro, or Enterprise license only when you’ve spent enough time evaluating the app to know that it can meet your needs and requirements. Organizations can purchase a discounted company-wide license, and there’s also an Android version of NetSpot that comes in handy whenever you don’t have access to a laptop.