Is your Wi-Fi performing poorly or inconsistently? You’re not alone. The frustration goes beyond customer service complaints of slow service—it could impact your business performance, especially if your point of sale tools depend on a strong wireless connection. You may be tempted to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and hope they sort out the connection issues, but since they have a vested interest in saying everything is functioning as expected, the problem likely won’t be resolved.
Before you scramble to find a solution, let’s take a look at three easy tips you can follow to improve your Wi-Fi performance without needing to engage your ISP.
1. Checking Your Signal Strength
Begin by surveying the locations where your users most often utilize your Wi-Fi. In those specific locations, you’ll want to measure the signal strength and Wi-Fi performance at least twice a day—once during a quiet period and once during a busy period—using a measurement tool or application. The values below indicate how well your Wi-Fi performs:
- < -30 dBm: as good as it gets
- -31 to -50 dBm: excellent/very strong
- -51 to -60 dBm: good, reliable
- -61 to -67 dBm: minimum for voice and video
- -68 to -80 dBm: limited browsing and email
- -81 to -90 dBm: unreliable connection
- > -90 dBm: unlikely to connect
If your signal strength is below -70 dBm, reposition your router so it’s either closer to your users or unobstructed by masonry walls or metallic objects.
2. Checking Your Signal Quality
In addition to checking signal strength, you’ll also want to measure the Wi-Fi’s signal quality. Although these two factors sound similar, they measure very different aspects of wireless performance. Signal quality indicates the signal-to-noise ratio observed at the sensor’s location. Here’s how you should interpret the numbers:
- < 0 dB: very poor quality/may not reliably connect
- < 0-5 dB: poor signal quality/connection limited to lower data rates 5-10 dB: usable signal, likely throughput restrictions at > 10 Mbps
- 10-15 dB: reasonable signal, may impact throughput at > 20 Mbps
- 15-20 dB: good signal, throughput only limited at very high rates
- > 20 dB: very clean signal, maximum system throughput
If your signal-to-noise ratio is below 10 dB, consider changing the channel of your Wi-Fi router or adding a 5 GHz channel capability. To do this, you’ll need a router that supports 802.11ac.
For both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks, the trick is to set your router to use a channel that is different (where possible) than other wireless networks within range and one that doesn’t overlap.
3. Utilizing Remote Speed Test
Although there are a variety of tools you can use to measure Wi-Fi signal parameters, we recommend using a turnkey solution called Remote Speed Test. In addition to providing comprehensive network performance information, the Remote Speed Test mobile app offers a Wi-Fi signal performance display that indicates the signal strength as well as the signal-to-noise ratio observed at the sensor’s location. Remote Speed Test automatically runs network and app performance tests all day, every day. Performance results collected by all your sensors are delivered conveniently to your smartphone.
Beyond the basics, the Remote Speed Test app shows the number of Wi-Fi transmitters that overlap with the channel your access point is using—giving you full information on your wireless performance without needing to double-check data across various platforms.
Contact us today for more information on how to easily improve your Wi-Fi performance.