With the Signal Strength Over Time graph in inSSIDer Office, you can detect wireless coverage gaps, and make sure you have strong signal strength network-wide. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to make sure that you have good wireless coverage all over the desired coverage area.
Understanding Signal Strength
WiFi signal strength is tricky. The most common way to measure it is with dBm, which stands for decibels relative to a milliwatt. The numbers are in the negatives, which means that -30 is a higher signal than -80 dBm. It's also a logarithmic scale instead of being linear, so a boost in 3 dB actually doubles the signal strength.
Yeah, we know that's probably confusing, but you can learn more about how to understand WiFi signal strength here.
Setting a Signal Strength Threshold
So what signal strength should you shoot for? For simple, low-throughput tasks like sending emails, browsing the web, or scanning barcodes, -70 dBm is a good signal strength. For higher-throughput applications like voice over IP or streaming video, -65 dBm is a good starting point. More on that here.
Once you've decided what signal strength you want to achieve in the desired coverage area, you can configure inSSIDer's Signal Strength Threshold, and check your network for signal strength.
Checking Coverage and Signal Strength with inSSIDer Office
1. Configure the desired signal strength threshold by clicking Settings > Signal Threshold...
2. Set the desired threshold, and click Done.
3. To measure the signal strength of all access point radios on your network, select Logical mode, and select your network name from the list.
4. Each access point radio will receive a unique color, so you can tell them apart. The horizontal dotted line is the signal strength threshold.
5. Walk the desired coverage area while watching the signal strength graph. If all of the access point signal strengths drop below the threshold, then there is a dead spot in your desired coverage area. Move existing access points, adjust transmit power levels, or add additional access points to address the dead spot.
Note: inSSIDer Office will also show a Signal Strength Warning in the Analysis section.
The signal strength of access points that do not meet the minimum threshold requirement will be colored in red.
6. Repeat step 5 until there one signal strength line or more in all desired coverage areas.
Tip: There is a such thing as too much coverage! Try to create clean coverage "cells", where one AP provides coverage to an area at a time, with -65 to -70 dBm of coverage from each access point where their cells transition from one to the next. This will encourage good roaming behavior, and it will keep same-channel AP's from having to take turns talking.