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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

Wifi signal strength indicator


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nickyr

 
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I've noticed lately that the wifi signal strength indicator in the menu bar is either constantly seeking or (as it is at the moment) showing no bars at all.

Airport Utility shows that my iMac is connected to my extreme and the signal strength is excellent (it sits about a foot away from the router).

I'm obviously connected to it and the internet as I can read and post to this forum.

Any ideas?

what have the Roman's ever done for us?

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pendlewitch

 
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Hello nickyr,

Hold down the 'alt' key and click on the wireless indicator. What is the RSSI on the frequency band that your machine is using?

Also have you moved anything metallic close to the router recently?

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harryb2448

 
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Go into System Preferences > Network and check the show in Menu Bar box is selected.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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nickyr

 
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Thanks both

Just for clarification, the wifi bars are there but are greyed out, not black. On my macbook, iPad and iPhone (connected to othe same network), the signal strength meter display is fine.

Pendlewitch: it's -32, and no change to the physical set up at all.

HarryB: yes, that's checked

Nick

what have the Roman's ever done for us?

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pendlewitch

 
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Ok Nick,
That RSSI looks fine..the closer to 0 the better your Received Signal Strength should be.
It's perhaps not the best thing to look at in isolation though. Can you do the following please ?

About this Mac > More info > System Report > Network > Wi-Fi and report back with your Signal/Noise figures under your current network information in the same order that they appear.

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RadDave

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pendlewitch View Post
Ok Nick,
That RSSI looks fine..the closer to 0 the better your Received Signal Strength should be.
It's perhaps not the best thing to look at in isolation though. Can you do the following please ?

About this Mac > More info > System Report > Network > Wi-Fi and report back with your Signal/Noise figures under your current network information in the same order that they appear.
Hi Pendlewitch - thanks for the posts; I knew a little about RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) but just started to look at my own laptop; from my understanding, dBm is a decibel power ratio referenced to 1 mWatt, i.e. 0 dBm = 1.0 mW, so that the negative numbers indicated signal strengths below that level (and of course these are logarithmic, so a 3 dB change is a doubling or halving of the signal power). Thus, for signal strength the better values approach 0, while for noise, values heading toward -100 are desirable for a better S/N difference.

SO, I'm getting about -62 RSSI in my den (one room away from my router); next to the router, -42, i.e. 100x the signal power which is quite an increase; my Signal/Noise numbers are -68 dBm/-88 dBm, thus a 20 difference - probably OK but not great - would of course be much better near the router.

Now for those going through this same analysis, the quoted listing below (from HERE) might be of use. I'm in the middle in my den, so distance from my router (which is an AirPort Extreme on 802.11n) and likely RF interference accounts for the difference. But hope this helps others better understand these acronyms - Dave

Quote:
> 40dB SNR = Excellent signal (5 bars); always associated; lightening fast.

25dB to 40dB SNR = Very good signal (3 - 4 bars); always associated; very fast.

15dB to 25dB SNR = Low signal (2 bars); always associated; usually fast.

10dB - 15dB SNR = Very low signal (1 bar); mostly associated; mostly slow.

5dB to 10dB SNR = No signal; not associated; no go.
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pendlewitch

 
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Hello RadDave,

I hope that you are wearing the badge well and yes your information is welcome.

What I'm trying to do is eliminate SNR from Nick's problem but if it does appear to be an issue, for example if he had reported figures which gave an SNR of less than 15db then we could make a start correcting things.

That said I'm coming to the conclusion that he may be better of with an SMC reset or similar. getting closer to the router is only part of the scenario and channel hogging, frequency hogging and interference from RF and foreign objects etc etc etc can all come into play.

Let's see what Nick reports.

Regards,

Liam

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nickyr

 
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Copied from system information:

Signal / Noise: -41 dBm / -89 dBm

To confirm - I have no problem connecting to my network, just that the signal strength meter shows no bars.

what have the Roman's ever done for us?

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RadDave

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickyr View Post
Copied from system information:

Signal / Noise: -41 dBm / -89 dBm

To confirm - I have no problem connecting to my network, just that the signal strength meter shows no bars.
Hi Nick... - I'm probably not going to add much here, but the topic has stimulated my interest - just check my iMac's Wi-Fi w/ the results below:

Signal/Noise: -33 dBm / -89 dBm - quite a different SNR from my laptop in another room.

BUT just curious since you have an excellent SNR and remain connected to the internet, why your menu icon seems to be' greyed out' - maybe the problem is a *.plist in your users account? Not certain still being a 'newbie' on this site - I'd probably logout of my present account and then enter another (I have a 'test' account setup on my Macs) - see if you have the same problem in another user account - won't hurt? Dave
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pendlewitch

 
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Location: Nelson,UK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickyr View Post
Copied from system information:

Signal / Noise: -41 dBm / -89 dBm

To confirm - I have no problem connecting to my network, just that the signal strength meter shows no bars.
Yes I understand your issue nickyr. There are lots of extraneous variables involved with w-fi signal and I needed to ascertain as to whether your connection was actually hanging over the cliff but it appears to be sound, giving an SNR of 48db. It's always a good idea to check the pulse first and at least you know that everything else is stable.

So there a number of things that you can try initially before you start digging inside.

1. Click the icon- turn wi-fi off- then turn it back on again
2. Do a reboot
3 Reset the router (unplug it from the mains and leave the capacitors to drain for half an hour or so)
4. Do an SMC reset which appertains to 'unusual system behaviour' like yours Intel-based Macs: Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC)
5. There is some advice on plists here https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4149916 but it concerns an aberration post-Mavericks install with regards to the presence of an exclamation mark on the icon. Apple hid the library a couple of upgrades ago so if you want to go this route eventually then hold the alt key down whilst clicking Go on the Finder menu bar.

iMac 27-inch Mid 2010 (wow....that old...eeeks!), WD My Book 1TB Firewire,WD My Passport Air 500GB, Magic Mouse,Magic Trackpad,
iPhone 5C, iPod Nano 4GB 3rd Gen, ATV2.
MOTM October 2012. These days normally happy with an occasional grumble.
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nickyr

 
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Member Since: Nov 01, 2007
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cheers guys - logging out and back in has cured the problem

what have the Roman's ever done for us?

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