Check Wireless Signal Strength using 10.7 Lion

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Wi-Fi Diagnostics is an incredibly useful utility to troubleshoot and optimize any wireless networkand the signal strength of computers that are connecting to it. This utility comes bundled in Mac OS X Lion and works with all wireless routers and not only the Apple branded ones, meaning you can improve the performance of just about any wifi network by using it and making some adjustments along the way. It’s easy to use and we’ll walk you through the process of getting the best wireless signal using the app, but first we have to uncover the tool itself.
The Wi-Fi Diagnostics app is buried within
Mac OS X 10.7, here’s how to access it:
  • From the OS X desktop, hit Command+Shift+G and enter the following path:
  • /System/Library/CoreServices/
  • Sort alphabetically and find “Wi-Fi Diagnostics”, if you plan to use the app even somewhat frequently it’s recommended to drag Wi-Fi Diagnostics into Launchpad for easy access
With Wi-Fi Diagnostics now in the easier to access Launchpad… wpen Wi-Fi and check the radiobox next to “Monitor wireless performance” then click on the “Continue” button.

Now is when the fun begins. The chart you see is a live wireless signal strength and noise meter,you want the yellow signal strength bar to be as high as possible. Pay attention to the green line of noise as well, you want that to be as low as possible in relation to the yellow line of signal strength.

If the signal strength is high and noise is low, you’re already good and you don’t need to change much. For most of us, signal will be lower than we want it to be, depending on where the wireless router is stored in relation to our computer gear.
Here are some tips to try out and to improve signal strength, keep an eye on the signal as you make adjustments:
  • Tweak the physical antennas on the wireless router and aim them in different directions
  • Move the wireless router away from walls, fireplaces, etc – even just a foot or two of space can make a big difference
  • Move the wifi router away from TV’s, microwaves, refrigerators, and other electronics that may interfere with signal
  • Relocate the Mac in relation to the router, this is obviously easiest with a MacBook Air or Pro
Once you have arrived at a reasonable compromise to how your hardware is physically configured and signal strength, enjoy your newly optmized wifi network.

Some important things to remember here: not all internet connections are capable of transferring data at optimum wireless speeds, so you may not notice much of a difference in internet connectivity speed if any at all with these adjustments. This basically means that a weaker wireless signal may be more than adequate to transfer data at your ISP’s maximum bandwidth. Regardless, you’ll want the noise level to be as low as possible, since large amounts of wifi network noise can result in lost packets, reduced speeds, quirky behavior, random wireless connection dropping, and a variety of other problems.
Comments (1)

The gear never ends...

While at a clients house the other day, she asked me to install a new wireless printer. I grabbed the box and said, "Wow, this looks incredible." She said she thought so too and that's one of the reasons she purchased it. It is one sexy HP printer - The Envy100.
Not only did it look good, but it has a touch screen that works well and a configuration "wizard" that made it a snap to attach to her network. I haven't had much time using it, and I will have to go over all of the features with my client on our next visit, because - of course - after learning that it existed, I had to learn ALL about it. It can print from you iPad and iPhone, it can print from your online SnapFish account, it can print movie tickets and it can print via the web from where ever you are. I can't wait to get back over there and get all of the features flowing.
Learn more about it here:
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