macOS Hints: Improving WiFi Reception On Mac For Your Home Office
What to do when Wi-Fi browsing is not working optimally? On the Mac, there are hidden options in the operating system to check the quality of the Wi-Fi. A small database of technical terms and abbreviations related to networking can be found at Speedcheck Wiki.
Check The Quality Of Wi-Fi Reception On Your Mac
Hold down the option (alt) key on the keyboard while clicking on the Wi-Fi icon in the upper right corner of the menu bar. This will cause more options to appear in the drop-down menu. These show various information about the Wi-Fi your Mac is connected to.
Among others you will find the following information:
- The IP address of your Mac
- The IP address of the Wi-Fi router
- Security of the Wi-Fi router (e.g. WPA3)
- Channel and the corresponding radio frequency (2.4GHz or 5GHz)
- Tx Rate (speed in MBit/s)
- PHY Mode i.e. the Wi-Fi standard (e.g. 802.11n)
Improve The Wi-Fi Reception
If the reception is very good, the RSSI value is below -60 dBm. If the value is for example -75 dBm, the reception is worse. Various factors play a role here that weaken a Wi-Fi connection:
- Objects that are located between the Wi-Fi router and your Mac (including especially massive concrete walls, steel and metal structures, aquariums, and flat screens).
- Other devices using or interfering with the Wifi (cell phones, iPads, microwaves, etc. and especially other routers in the vicinity).
In case of a bad RSSI value, try to exclude the above mentioned source of interference. When there are many other Wi-Fi routers in the vicinity, the value of the noise will be higher. In this case, setting the option for automatic channel selection in the router might improve the situation.
Also try to find out where in the home office your Mac has the best reception, paying attention to the RSSI value (the higher than e.g. -40 dBm the better) and low noise (-100 is perfect!).
In case of massive problems, you might want to use WLAN repeaters in a mesh network or even LAN cables (Ethernet) for data transmission.
Once you've done that, you'll definitely be able to surf the Internet from your home office, and you'll finally be able to concentrate on working with Merlin Project.