If you’re home, you likely only have one WiFi network that you can connect to i.e., the one you paid for. On the off chance your neighbor has an unprotected network, you could connect to it but that’s unethical if not illegal. If you do happen to have a choice between which network to connect to, you should definitely connect to the strongest one. Here’s how you view WiFi signal strength on Windows 10.
Available networks list
If you click the WiFi icon in the system tray, you’ll see a list of the nearby networks in a pop-up. The WiFi symbol next to each network will indicate its strength. The more filled out the symbol is, the stronger it will be. Of course, this isn’t a very accurate measurement and two networks may have the same strength.
Signal strength values
If you want a more accurate way to tell which network is transmitting a stronger signal, download Nirsoft’s free app WiFiInfoView, and run it.
The app gives you information about nearby networks but since we’re interested in signal strength, only the Signal Quality column is relevant.
To make things quick and simple, the higher the number in the Signal Quality column, the stronger is the signal being transmitted from it. You should also take a look at the Average signal strength column to check if the network can consistently deliver the strength is is transmitting at the moment. It’s a good idea to allow the app to run for a few minutes so it can gather this information for some time.
All this information can be obtained regardless if you’re connected to a network or if it’s password protected or not.
This method only works for the network you’re connected to. Open Command Prompt and run the following command;
netsh wlan show interfaces
Scroll to the end of the output and you will see a ‘Signal’ entry telling you how strong the signal of the network you’re connected to is. In the screenshot above, it’s 80% which more or less is the same that the WiFiInfoView app reported.
The trick again only works for the network you’re currently connected to. If you don’t like using Command Prompt, you can use PowerShell instead.
Open PowerShell and run the following command;
(netsh wlan show interfaces) -Match '^\s+Signal' -Replace '^\s+Signal\s+:\s+',''
The command will return the signal strength as a percentage. In my test, PowerShell’s value doesn’t match with Command Prompt and WiFiInfoView but it may be because the signal tends to fluctuate from time to time.
If you need more information about a WiFi network, check out our list of the best WiFi analyzers available for Windows 10.