If the WiFi on your Mac is sub-par and you're experiencing intermittent dropouts, it's important to test the practical speed of the WiFi signal between the router and the Mac. At first I thought you had to use a special tool on the Mac for this, but luckily macOS already has a function built in that allows you to see the current Wifi transmission rate with one click.
Chapter in this post:
- 1 Check Wifi speed
- 2 information in the Wifi data
- 3 Improve WiFi transmission
- 4 1. Avoid shielding between Mac and router
- 5 2. Activate automatic channel selection in the router
- 6 3. Test different locations for router and Mac
- 7 4. Turn off all peripherals for a test
- 8 5. Switch between 2,4 and 5,8 GHz
- 9 Conclusion
- 10 Similar posts
Check wifi speed
To check the quality of Wi-Fi reception on Mac, just hold the option button (also "ALT" or "Option") on your keyboard while clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the upper-right corner of the menu bar. This will bring up additional data in the drop-down menu, providing information about the Wi-Fi network you're currently connected to.
Information in the Wifi data
- IP address: Here you can see the IP address of your computer.
- Router: With the IP address of your router you can use your Browser access the web interface.
- Safety: Most routers have WPA2 Personal as a security measure to encrypt and protect your network.
- BSSID: Your router's MAC or hardware address is a unique identifier that allows it to communicate with other devices on the network.
- Channel: Your router's WiFi channel determines the frequency on which it transmits data.
- RSSI: The Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) provides information about how strong the router's signal is being received by your device. With this information you can determine whether you have sufficient signal strength for a stable WiFi connection.
- interfering signal: The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) provides information about how badly the RSSI signal is affected by radio interference. SNR is a technical measure that compares the level of the desired signal to background noise. It is defined as the ratio of signal power to noise power and is usually given in decibels.
- Tx rate: The transfer rate is the speed of data being transferred between your router and your computer.
- PHY mode: This is the radio protocol that the router uses according to the radio standard.
- MCS index: The MCS index is an indicator of which protocols are used to encrypt the radio signal.
- SNS: NSS is an acronym and stands for Number of Spatial Streams. This is a value that indicates how many "paths" the Wifi signal has to transmit data.
Improving WiFi transmission
To improve Wi-Fi reception, it is important to pay attention to the RSSI value. A value above -60 dBm indicates good reception, while a value of -75 dBm or lower indicates poor reception.
1. Avoid shielding between Mac and router
There are several factors that can weaken a Wi-Fi connection. This includes obstacles such as concrete walls, metal structures, fish tanks, and flat screens that may be between the router and your Mac, as well as other devices that use or interfere with the Wi-Fi signal, such as phones, iPads, microwave ovens, and routers nearby.
In my case, an iPad was wrong near the MacBook Pro and caused the WLAN to keep crashing. So you have to be really creative when you go troubleshooting.
2. Activate automatic channel selection in the router
If you notice a bad RSSI value, try to eliminate the sources of interference mentioned above. If there are many Wi-Fi routers nearby, the level of interference may be higher, but setting the router to automatically select less busy channels may improve the situation.
3. Test different locations for router and Mac
You can also determine the location in your home or office where your Mac has the best reception by measuring the RSSI value (higher values are better, with -40 dBm being ideal) and the interference signal (a perfect value is - 100) watch.
For severe problems, consider using WiFi repeaters in a mesh network or LAN (Ethernet) cables for data transfer.
4. Turn off all peripherals for a test
There have been reports of USB 3 devices, such as hubs, appearing to be interfering with the Wifi signal. This occurs particularly when the devices or the connection cables are poorly shielded.
To check whether your poor WiFi signal might be the cause of your poor WiFi signal, you should unplug everything from the Mac that isn't absolutely necessary for a test.
5. Switch between 2,4 and 5,8 GHz
I've had feedback from a few readers that they got a better connection after locking the router to 2,4GHz. As far as I know, this frequency is more suitable when you have to penetrate many walls or other obstacles. However, some smart home devices only want to run at 2,4 GHz... so if you notice that something isn't working after the switch to 5,8 GHz, that could be the cause.
To sum up, measuring and optimizing WiFi speed on Mac plays an important role to ensure smooth internet connection. The post shows that there are various factors that can affect the transmission rate, such as obstacles and other devices interfering with the WiFi signal.
I hope with the tips and methods described here it is possible to increase WiFi speed and offer you fast surfing on Sir Apfelot and other websites.
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.
7 Responses to “Test WiFi speed on Mac – with one click”
In addition, you can also test the Internet speed on the Mac. Simply enter the command "networkQuality" (without the quotation marks) in the terminal and press Enter. The Mac then measures the upload and download speeds. You can get more help by typing "man networkQuality" in the terminal window. Unfortunately, the help is in English.
I automated the "networkQuality" command by creating a corresponding shortcut via the Shortcuts app. 😀
Hello Timewalkers! Thanks for the tip. Would be worth an extra article! I did not know it yet. 😊 And the trick with the shortcut is great.
I would recommend making the networkquality -s call with the -s option. This means that up/down speeds are measured one after the other and not simultaneously.
In addition, more measured values are then output.
==== SUMMARY ====
Uplink capacity: 98.152 Mbps
Downlink capacity: 95.097 Mbps
Uplink Responsiveness: Medium (616RPM)
Downlink Responsiveness: Low (56 RPM)
Idle Latency: 46.333 milliseconds
If you just call networkquality without the "-s" parameter, you don't get separate up/down responsiveness. In reality, it is rather unlikely that one downloads and one uploads on one computer at the same time...
On the other hand, this can of course also show possible weak points in the WLAN/LAN interface, the router or access point, the provider interface.
Hope this helps you a little.
Hello Jörg! Thanks to you too for the tip. It just keeps getting better here. Lots of pro tips that I didn't expect! Can one also measure the speed up to the router with networkquality?
No, unfortunately this is not possible with the tool. Please refer:
USAGE: networkQuality [-C ] [-c] [-h] [-I ] [-k] [-r host] [-s] [-v]
-C: override Configuration URL or path (with scheme file://)
-c: Produce computer-readable output
-h: Show help (this message)
-I: Bind test to interface (eg, en0, pdp_ip0,...)
-k: Disable certificate validation
-r: Connect to host or IP, overriding DNS for initial config request
-s: Run tests sequentially instead of parallel upload/download
-v: Verbose output
-r is limited here to hosts that can actually be reached on the Internet..
You can test individual interfaces with -I
Troubleshooting in the network area is unfortunately always very individual :) Do you test W-Lan or wired, do you have your own or a provider access point? .. Do you have control over all settings? .. What comes after your ProviderAccessPoint? ..
You always have to analyze it individually.
But to answer your question specifically, a trace route already provides basic data:
traceroute to http://www.sir-apfelot.de (188.8.131.52), 64 hops max, 52 byte packets
1 10.0.0.1 (10.0.0.1) 63.924 ms 3.736 ms 1.418 ms
2 10.153.0.1 (10.153.0.1) 5.881 ms 6.114 ms 5.486 ms
3 asr1001x-vlan21.upsi.xy(xxx.abc.cdf.xyz) 4.537ms 5.158ms 5.144ms
4 c4900m-ix-vlan23.upsi.xy (xxx.abc.cdf.xyz) 5.131ms 5.195ms 4.901ms
5 ge-0-0-28.r23.inx.vie.at.nextlayer.net (xxx.abc.cdf.xyz) 17.600 ms 16.999 ms 17.053 ms
6 ae12-0-r04.inx.vie.nextlayer.net (184.108.40.206) 94.694 ms
ae12-0-r03.inx.vie.nextlayer.net (220.127.116.11) 94.351ms
ae12-0-r04.inx.vie.nextlayer.net (18.104.22.168) 289.762ms
7 * * *
8 ae1-0-r60.inx.vie.nextlayer.net (22.214.171.124) 394.116 ms 4.230 ms 13.729 ms
9 ae1-0-r60.inx.fra.nextlayer.net (126.96.36.199) 18.401ms 17.744ms 16.540ms
10 ipv4.de-cix.fra.de.as34788.all-inkl.com (188.8.131.52) 36.403 ms 33.432 ms 50.390 ms
11 dd17738.kasserver.com (184.108.40.206) 49.365ms 34.765ms 41.398ms
Here it is noticeable that an "ÖHA" value occurs with the first hop... 63 ms... doesn't sound good at first glance, it's faster than the second value with 3 ms, the son is actually streaming a Netflix series... the router groans maybe right now. At the same time, my wife might be checking her e-mails...
But that's all still "coffee mess reading" because it's only about the ICMP protocol ...
Just so much for the individuality of any problems :)
Ok, thanks for the tips! And enjoy your son on Netflix. 😊
You can also output more data:
networkQuality -v -s
Measurements are always made via the standard internet connection.
But you can also specify an interface:
Bind test to interface (eg, en0, pdp_ip0,…)
If not specified, the default interface will be used.
Result for: networkQuality -v -s (measured against my private Internet access)
Uplink capacity: 4.740 Mbps (Accuracy: High)
Downlink capacity: 61.342 Mbps (Accuracy: High)
Uplink Responsiveness: Low (93 RPM) (Accuracy: High)
Downlink Responsiveness: Low (94 RPM) (Accuracy: High)
Idle Latency: 36.500 milliseconds (Accuracy: High)
Uplink bytes transferred: 5.562 MB
Downlink bytes transferred: 69.006 MB
Uplink flow count: 12
Downlink flow count: 12
Start: 04.03.2023/08/37, 26:XNUMX:XNUMX
End: 04.03.2023/08/37 45:XNUMX:XNUMX
OS Version: Version 13.2.1 (Build 22D68)