Is there a way to get WiFi NOISE levels for a mobile device?

Discussion in 'Wireless Internet' started by Paul B. Andersen, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. I don't want to dig up the figures (because I probably can't find
    them) but I ran a test using these tools about six months or so
    ago, because the wife kept complaining that her Android phone had
    no problem connecting to the WiFi extender when she was in her
    study, but that the iPad wouldn't connect but that it did connect
    when she was closer to the WiFi extender.

    She kept insisting that the WiFi extender I set up was not

    I used these tools to prove to her what the problem was, and,
    she has learned to live with it.

    But the point of telling this story is that I agree with you
    that the tools are wonderful for showing what is really going
    on and making good decisions instead of just guessing and
    assuming the equipment is "broken" (there's nothing wrong with
    any of the equipment - I've proven that in other ways). It's
    just the way it works and is designed, and there's nothing you
    can do about it.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
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  2. With the WiFi Analyzer or with InSSIDer, you can easily see
    both SSIDs on the graphs, so, if one is stopped, it would
    drop out of sight.

    Piece of cake, with the right tools. :)
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
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  3. I get my home WiFi from about 3 or 4 miles away, so, I'm *very*
    familiar with sending WiFi long distances.

    It helps *greatly* to use the same equipment on both sides of the
    link. The stuff I use is something like 28 decibels (IIRC) which is
    at the legal limit of power in the USA (which is higher than in most

    By way of reference, a typical home router is an absolutely dismal
    18 decibels (or so), which they do on purpose, to limit noise.

    The difference between 18 and 28 decibels is about ten times the
    power for the exact same price! (I think people are crazy for using
    routers as wifi extenders *if* they buy the routers.) I used my
    old router as a wifi extender because I had it lying around.

    But, if I were gonna extend my wifi and buy equipment, I'd *never*
    use a home router because, as an extender, they're not worth
    the money (far better extenders are available for the same cost).

    If you ever need advice, I can recommend the best cheapest equipment,
    as can anyone on alt.internet.wireless who is on a WISP like I am.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  4. You were right Chris!

    When my boy with the Moto G came home, I grabbed his phone from
    him (he thought he was in trouble again!), and I tested it out.

    You are correct that the Moto G does NOT have a page for
    the 5GHz results. Since it doesn't even have 5GHz results,
    you don't see the 5G button at the top left either, when
    you press on the graph.

    On my S3, I get both 5G and 2.4G buttons, when I press on
    the corresponding graphs.

    So, you've explained a lot, and I appreciate the technical
    acumen you've exhibited.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  5. I think I know why now, that Chris has clued me in.

    On my S3, there is both a 5G and a 2G graph of the
    local WiFi Access Points, and the buttons show up to
    switch between the graphs because they use the same

    However, on my kid's Moto G, there is only the 2.5Ghz
    graph, so there are no buttons at all.

    To confirm, on the Moto G, I pressed the graph, and the
    buttons I said existed never showed up.

    As Chris said, if the phone can't handle 5G, you get only
    one graph; but if the phone can handle both, then the buttons
    allow you to switch between the graphs because the use the
    same page.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  6. Yup. That's what I saw on the Moto G, for the same reason.

    So, I only saw the buttons because my Samsung Galaxy S3 has
    both 2.4GHz and 5GHz capabilities.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  7. Are you sure?

    I have two routers, one hooked up as an extender of the first.
    Both have the same SSID, but of course, they're on different
    frequencies and they have a different MAC address so the BSSID
    for each is different.

    On all three tools, I can *see* both in action, although differently.

    On inSSIDer, I can see both parabolas, both named the same thing,
    but with different BSSIDs, and, best of all, I see an asterisk
    next to the one SSId that I'm connected to.

    On WiFi Analyzer, I see almost the same thing, except there is no
    asterisk and BSSID easily seen on that particular graph (it's on
    other pages I think).

    On WiFI SNR, I see the FREQUENCY and the SSID, and, since the
    frequency is different between the two SSIDs, I can tell which
    is which, but I have to kill and restart the app for that to
    show up (so it doesn't switch on its own automatically).
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  8. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    Turns out I am completely wrong. The wifi extender isn't
    actually working at all. The neighbour has gone away and
    I didn't notice that the wifi extender isn't working until I
    ran WiFi Analyser to see if I got the same detail you said
    you saw with it and discovered its been turned off. It gets
    its power from a long extension cord which she normally
    has plugged into a power point in the laundry which has
    a door to the outside. I've just been there and discovered
    that she has unplugged that end so she can lock the door.
    She usually tells me when she is going away to get me to
    keep an eye on her place while she is away but must have
    forgotten to tell me or is out of credit on her phone or
    something. She's got pretty bad arthritis so she normally
    rings me rather than walking round to tell me when going

    That brings up another problem with WiFi SNR tho. WiFi
    Analyser shows me 5-6 of the neighbours'' wifis, WiFi SNR
    has only ever shown me just the one, my router which is
    only a couple of feet away from the tablet.
    Yeah, that's what I use for a quick check if the wifi extender is still
    You can't see that on mine, because the setting
    don't work so you can't turn that text display on.
    And mine are on the same frequency.
    Yeah, that was quite handy when working out where to put the
    wifi extender. I'd normally prefer to not have it outside, but she
    doesn't get a good enough signal inside her house to put the
    wifi extender there, that's why I use a wifi extender at all.

    The signal isn't too bad with the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 that she uses,
    but not good enough for more than very intermittent use.
    I don't use InSSIDer because it isn't free anymore and doesn't
    provide enough extra functionality to make it worth paying for.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  9. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    Yeah, I have always used that one, may well have got it from you.
    Yeah, quite handy for me because of the metal fence between
    me and my neighbour and between the two neighbours that
    both use my wifi.
    Yeah, very useful.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  10. I had noticed something funny also about WiFi SNR not
    showing all the local polluting WiFi from the neighbors.

    I didn't think much of it, until you just said that.

    Both WiFi Analyzer and inSSIDer showed all the surrounding
    access points.

    So, it seems that, while WiFi SNR is a great tool for
    getting the SNR, you need all three:

    1. WiFi SNR (tells you SNR, nothing else will)
    2. WiFi Analyzer (tells you signal strengths well)
    3. InSSIDer (puts an asterisk next to the connected AP)
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  11. I see you're a detail person, as I am. That's good.
    I understand exactly what you said.

    I had not realized that the frequency didn't show up
    in WiFi SNR if you can't get into the SETTINGS to set
    the text output on.

    But, I just tested that on my S3, and I confirm exactly
    what you said.

    a. If the text output is off (default), you do NOT see
    the frequency. You just see the SSID.

    b. If the text output is on, then you do see the fequency.

    Of course, if you can't get into the settings, you can't
    turn on the text output, so you won't see the frequency.

    And, since your frequencies are the same, it wouldn't

    Worse yet, since WiFi SNR doesn't seem to let you know
    exactly which BSSID you're connected to, it probably
    would not help.

    InSSIDer (which is now $10) is the only one that I have
    on my system that will do all of that.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  12. I agree. InSSIDer was great when it was free, but it's not worth
    ten bucks over something like Fritz! App Wlan.

    Did you try Fritz!App WLAN yet?

    I just ran it on my S3 and it seems to tell me the channel and
    frequency and BSSID of the router access point that the phone
    is using.

    And, it puts *two asterisks* next to the SSID graph that you
    are connected to (I'm not sure why it needs two asterisks when
    one would suffice).

    I didn't walk around (am in bed and don't want to wake up the
    kids by turning off the alarm system) to see if it switches when
    it sees the WiFi extender, but I'd bet it does.

    So, in effect, the freeware Fritz!App Wlan app seems to be
    a one-to-one replacement for inSSIDer.

    Try it out. I think you'll like it for what you need.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  13. For me, it was absolutely shocking how much the glass
    attenuated the radio signal. It's like a sheet of aluminum

    The *walls* attenuated the radio signal *less* than the
    window and door glass did!

    It's really nice to be able to walk around the house and
    yard to find where the signal drops off.

    Now that I have WiFi SNR, I can also see where the SNR
    drops to below 10 decibels, which is pretty much probably
    going to equate to the cutoff point for the WiFI signal
    for devices with decent antennas.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  14. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    Yeah, I remember you mentioning that before.

    I use adsl2+ myself and so do most of the neighbours.
    I do have quite a few of them, picked them up at garage sales for
    peanuts and managed to get quite a few that aren't adsl2+ modems,
    because I managed to not check that carefully, pure routers.

    But the wifi extender I got, a medion, was dirt cheap, very
    easy to configure and much smaller so its more practical
    to just plug it into one of the 4 mains sockets on the reel
    on the end of the long extension cord and put that under
    an inverted picking bucket up on a bench in the garden etc.
    The medion works fine for the moment. That might change if one
    of the turks moves into the flat at the back of the other neighbours''
    place when they come back from Turkey. That flat has a metal wall
    on my side of the flat, but I should be able to put the wifi extender
    on the top of the brick wall between the flat and the house. They
    are diagonally across the small park between our houses, basically
    the park is just a couple of house blocks which don't have houses
    on them and provide a walkway for the high school at the end
    across the street on the neighbour's end.

    It remains to be seen if the flat will be available any time soon.
    The previous tenant was kicked out for being a druggy and his
    brother moved in and has been months behind on the rent
    at times. Not clear where he works, may well be at the biggest
    chicken producing operation in the southern hemisphere from
    the fact that the car goes thru the park quite regularly at 5am or so.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  15. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    Yeah, but only because the wifi extender isn't running.
    My wifi extender is on the same frequency and that's
    no big deal because she only uses it for net radio and
    her grandson for a bit of minor browsing when he's
    there so the half thruput is of no consequence at all.

    I can set it up the other way and can run a CAT5
    cable to it too but haven't bothered because I'd
    rather not have the small lightning strike risk.
    Yeah, that's true in my case too since WiFi Analyser can see them both.
    Yeah, I presume I will be able to once she returns and plugs it in again.
    I haven't bothered to power it from my place just for a test.
    I haven't bothered to check it, its obvious which
    is which from the very different signal strength.
    I can't because I can't get into the setting to turn that on.
    There is a restart in the WiFi SNR menu, presumably for that reason.

    Bit crude but good enough.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  16. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    Just after you asked, and noticed that one of the neighbour's grandkids
    appears to have just showed up since another wifi with a name of
    Yeah, rather more of that sort of detail than WiFi Analyser, a keeper.
    I don't get any asterisks on mine, just on the text display and just
    one on there. Maybe you have two because of the two routers.
    Looks like it.
    Yeah, I do. Thanks for that.
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
  17. Over time, I've had cable, and DSL, and WISP, and in the
    end, they all work. :)

    Anyway, since you don't use InSSIDer, here's a screen shot
    of Fritz!App WLAN freeware that I just tested for you as
    a 1-to-1 replacement for inSSIDer, especially when working
    with multiple access points with the same SSID.

    Notice that the three signals shown are
    1. My main router (asterisks indicate the connection)
    2. My WiFi extender (which is just another router)
    3. A bounce of the incoming WISP signal

    I didn't test it by walking around, but it seems pretty
    robust, so I'd assume those two asterisks would switch
    to the middle signal when the phone switches from one
    router to the other.

    The first two signals have the same SSID, but different
    frequencies. In your case, the SSID is the same, and the
    frequency is the same, so you'll have two overlapping
    parabolas of different colors, one of which (the taller
    one generally) will have the two asterisks.

    Let me know what you think of the app (as it has more
    stuff than this); but I think it replaces inSSIDer as
    far as I can tell from a quick look here today.

    NOTE: I get to re-install inSSIDer as many times as I want
    because I have the freeware App Backup & Restore installed.

    It's really nice because it saves all your APK files, so
    you can save them off the phone, and re-install them
    whenever you want at your leisure without having to worry
    that they'll get overwritten (it increments them if the app
    is updated, I think).
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  18. Correction.

    It seems that "Fritz!App WLAN" does what inSSIDer did,
    which is show all the SSIDs as separate signals (even
    when the SSID is the same) and then it puts an asterisk
    (actually two asterisks, for some odd reason) on the one
    AP parabola that you're currently connected to.

    Here's a screenshot taken just now from kind of far away
    (I don't want to walk about the house as the alarm system
    is on and it wakes the kids to unset it and reset it).
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  19. Jeff Liebermann knows more about this than anyone, but,
    I generally call your setup a "repeater" while I call
    my setup an "extender".

    The way I understand it, my "wired" extender gets me
    the same signal speeds (give or take) as the original
    router, while your "wireless" repeater halves the

    Of course, it's a *lot easier* to set up the repeater
    because you don't have to run wires (except for power).

    I have no idea about the lightning risk though, but I
    have antennas all over the place, so I guess I should
    be crossing my fingers.
    Paul B. Andersen, Jul 3, 2015
  20. Paul B. Andersen

    Rod Speed Guest

    Interesting, just do some tests. My house has massive patio
    doors instead of windows in all but the bathrooms and toilets
    and kitchens, 13 of the patio doors.
    What sort of walls ? Mine are concrete block but because
    of the patio doors, most of the time my router sends thru
    the glass. Not with the wifi extender tho, its got a block
    wall between the router and the wifi extender.

    I did try using just a router at another place where a mate
    of mine has the house next door to his son's place with the
    son having an adsl service and wifi router and my mate
    has nothing but couldn't get a useable service even with
    the router just inside the wall closest to his house. I assume
    that that was because the house has that aluminium on
    plastic sheet insulation in the wall. That was before I got
    started on wifi extenders and I haven't got around to
    having another go at that with another wifi extender
    because there was a real possibility of him getting his
    own adsl service.
    True. I didn't have the tablet then, I must get back to
    him and see what he wants to do about that now and
    have another go at it. Get complicated tho, he's dying
    of diabetes and we didn't expect him to last this long.
    He's had one leg chopped off and even just going to
    the toilet really takes it out of him due to his very bad
    Rod Speed, Jul 3, 2015
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