Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

How are the wifi connectivity bars determined?

  1. #1

    Posts : 40
    Windows 8

    How are the wifi connectivity bars determined?

    There seems to be almost no correlation to performance - 5 bars could be a 100+ Mbps connection, or it could be < 5 Mbps... On the other hand, 4, 3, 2, and 1 bars all mean that the connection is going to be flaky and unstable

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  2. #2

    Covington, La
    Posts : 1,181
    Windows 7 HP 64bit, Windows 8.1 Pro w/Media Center 64BIT

    I may be wrong but I think the bars are for the signal strength and not the speed of the connection.

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  3. #3

    The bars show signal strength which has no direct relationship with performance. But a weak signal is usually of poor quality and even a strong one may also be and that will effect performance. Signal quality is more difficult to quantify so is not shown.
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  4. #4

    Southern California
    Posts : 788
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center x64

    You can, however, measure the Ethernet throughput using the task manager performance tab in real time. And file downloads are a good way to tell how fast your download speed is on average

    But yes, the bars are measuring signal strength, and I imagine that a percentage is used to measure how well it is receiving.
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  5. #5

    Posts : 1,875
    Windows 10 Pro Prieview x64

    It is the signal strength but not just from your connection - what this means is here. What the Signal Strength Bars mean in Wireless hardware?

    The signal strength is a combination of the actual 802.11x signal + Phone + Microwaves + other sources that might generate 2.4GHz “Noise” + Brain emissions of the user’s anxiety state (j/k), in other words it is visual representation of all the 2.4GHz in the atmosphere around the your Wireless hardware.
    I.e. you might see High Signal Strength that Shows: Excellent (5 bars), but it is actually 30% signal + 70% noise.
    Such a signal would be the reason for low bandwidth, and or frequent disconnection of the Wireless Network.
    In contrast, a medium level Signal (3 Bars) that does not contains any noise would provide a match better connection.
    Netstumbler is a free windows tool to see the signal to noise ratio.
    If your router is not supported by Netstumbler, then try Kitz - DMT Tool
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How are the wifi connectivity bars determined?

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