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How to determine Wi-Fi signal strength on Windows 10

Windows 10 Wi-Fi signal quality
Windows 10 Wi-Fi signal quality (Image credit: Windows Central)

On Windows 10, when you connect a device to the internet to work from home or office using a Wi-Fi adapter, the quality of the signal will dictate the overall performance of the connection. In part, it's because wireless technology uses radio waves to connect a device to the access point, and similar to other radio signals, it has limited range and problems with interference as well as traveling through solid objects (such as walls).

Understanding the signal strength of the Wi-Fi connection on your laptop or desktop PC can help to determine if the slow connectivity is a signal problem and not an issue with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or wireless access point (usually, your router).

You may be able to find many third-party tools, but Windows 10 includes several ways to check the signal strength of a wireless connection from the taskbar and using the Settings app, Control Panel, taskbar, Command Prompt, and even using PowerShell.

In this Windows 10 guide, you'll learn five ways to determine the signal strength of your Wi-Fi connection.

How to check Wi-Fi signal strength using taskbar

To determine the signal strength of a Wi-Fi connection on Windows 10, use these steps:

  1. Click the network icon in the notification area of the taskbar.
  2. See the wireless icon next to the network. (The higher the number of solid bars means the stronger the signal.)

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

When looking at the wireless icon, one solid bar indicates that the signal is weak, two bars mean the signal is acceptable, and three and four bars represent the best signal you can get.

How to check Wi-Fi signal strength using Settings

To find out the wireless signal strength using Settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Network & Internet.
  3. Click on Status.
  4. Under the "Network status" section, the wireless icon will indicate the current signal strength. (The higher the number of solid bars, the stronger the signal.)

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Alternatively, you can also check the signal strength from the Wi-Fi settings page.

Check signal quality from Wi-Fi settings

To check the wireless signal from the Wi-Fi settings, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Wi-Fi.
  3. Under the Wi-Fi section, the signal strength will be represented on the wireless icon. (The higher the number of solid bars, the stronger the signal.)

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, you'll have a better understanding of wireless connection quality to the access point.

How to check Wi-Fi signal strength using Control Panel

To find out the signal quality of a wireless connection using Control Panel, use these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Click on Network and Internet.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Click on Network and Sharing Center.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Under the "View your active networks" section, the wireless icon next to "Connections" will indicate the signal quality.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. (Optional) Click the connection name to check the signal quality as well as speed, SSID, and other information.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

After you complete the steps, you'll know if you have a strong or weak Wi-Fi connection.

How to check Wi-Fi signal strength using Command Prompt

To check the signal strength of a Wi-Fi connection using Command Prompt, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Command Prompt and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Type the following command to view the Wi-Fi signal strength and press Enter:netsh wlan show interfaces
  4. See the Signal field to determine the signal quality. (If the output number is equal or higher than 80, then the strength of the signal is good.)

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, you'll quickly find out the quality of the Wi-Fi signal.

How to check Wi-Fi signal strength using PowerShell

To view the signal strength of a Wi-Fi connection using PowerShell, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for PowerShell and click the top result to open the app.
  3. Type the following command to view the Wi-Fi signal strength and press Enter:(netsh wlan show interfaces) -Match '^\s+Signal' -Replace '^\s+Signal\s+:\s+',''Quick tip: Similar to Command Prompt, in PowerShell, you can also run the netsh wlan show interfaces command to view signal quality.
  4. See the signal quality output. (The percentage goes from 0 to 100, where 100 percent indicates excellent signal quality.)

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Once you complete the steps, if you see a signal quality between 80 and 100 percent, then the connection is reliable. If you see a signal above 70 percent, it's still good for light web browsing and managing emails. Anything below 60 percent means that you have a weak signal, and you should consider moving the device closer to the access point or relocating the access point to the middle of the house or office.

If you're trying to determine the perfect placement on the house or office for the best signal, run the above command where you typically use your computer, then move around to another place or room, and re-run the command to find out the signal strength in the new location.

In the case that you're viewing the Wi-Fi icon to find out the performance of the connection, consider that each bar (including the dot) represents around 25 percent of signal strength. This means that three and four bars indicate a good signal quality and anything below indicates a weak signal.

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

8 Comments
  • @Mauro Good article! Thanks!
  • Please no, stop telling people it's all about signal strength, the number one cause of WiFi issues I have to deal with, in customer warehouses, is nothing to do with signal strength, all to do with too much strength, there are many factors that affect signals. You can have a 100% signal strength and zero wireless. This is why people do Wi-Fi surveys looking at signal strength, signal to noise ratio and signal to interference ratio. The last two jobs I worked on, we had to reduce the signal strength to make the Wi-Fi devices work correctly. In both cases the theory the client had was, up the signal strength, because my Wi-Fi isn't working, but that's great until your neighbor does the same, until everyone is interfering with everyone else. It's a great idea if you live in the middle of a 100 acre farm, but probably not the solution if you have 8 neighbors within a short distance. Better install a package that tells you all the WiFi networks nearby and see what could be interfering before worrying about strength, a simple channel change could potentially improve the Wi-Fi way more.
  • As mr. Buckhurst had pointed out the Wi-Fi signal strength does not tell the whole story of internet connectivity, when the icon showed two bars. It merely shows that the computer device had a rap connection to the router. But this doesn't automatically translate to an internet connection. If the modem doesn't work they're good still be a connection with the router. You can also see this in the connection footnotes in the Wi-Fi center on the taskbar. In such circumstances it reads, "connected, no internet". Showing two to three bars, when radio connection is good.
  • Thanks for the article! I love learning these neat Powershell tricks!
  • How to see if you run 2.4 ghz or 5 ghz ?
  • Go to your wifi connection properties and scroll to bottom and their you'll see all info about WiFi including band you're connected to.
  • I bought WiFi Analyzer from the windows store and it was very helpful to see signal strength and what other networks might be interfering with my signal. It turns out there are about 50 other wifi networks that it's sensing. Most of the 2.4G ones were on channels 1, 6, and 11, switching it to another channel, like 8, gave it a huge boost.
  • Great information! Always helpful to know these sort of things.