How to Test Wireless Signal Strength

By Erin McManaway

When your computer connects to a wireless network for file sharing or Internet services, it must detect a router that emits a wireless signal. Depending on how far away the router is from your computer and the solid objects between the computer and router, the wireless signal strength can vary. Low signal strength can cause connectivity issues and loss of network connection completely while a higher strength signal usually provides a more stable network and Internet connection. You can determine the signal strength by using the networking icon on the Windows taskbar.

Step 1

Locate the networking icon in the bottom-right corner of your computer's taskbar, near the clock. Depending on your signal strength, this will be a set of white bars. If you are not connected to a wireless network, your icon will display a yellow symbol.

Step 2

Click the networking icon to display a list of wireless connections in a pop-up window. If you are currently connected to a wireless network, it will be displayed at the top of this pop-up.

Step 3

Hover your mouse pointer over the networking icon for the wireless router you would like information about. A tool tip will appear next to your mouse with information about the wireless signal, including the strength of the signal. The networking icon will also display green bars based on the strength of the signal, with five green bars signifying the best connection.

Step 4

Double-click the name of the wireless connection to connect or change to a network with a stronger signal. If it is a secured network, you will need a password to make the connection.