Windows 10 Wi-Fi signal qualitySource: 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).

Best VPN providers 2020: Learn about ExpressVPN, NordVPN & more

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.)

    Wi-Fi signal strength view from network flyoutSource: 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.)

    Wireless signal quality in Status settingsSource: 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.)

    Wi-Fi settings signal quality on Windows 10Source: 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.

    Control Panel Network and Inernet optionSource: Windows Central

  3. Click on Network and Sharing Center.

    Control Panel Network Sharing Center optionSource: Windows Central

  4. Under the "View your active networks" section, the wireless icon next to "Connections" will indicate the signal quality.

    Control Panel wireless signal strengthSource: Windows Central

  5. (Optional) Click the connection name to check the signal quality as well as speed, SSID, and other information.

    Wireless adapter signal quality view 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.)

    Command Prompt see wireless signal qualitySource: 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.)

    PowerShell check wireless signal commandSource: 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.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources: