How to check the state of your WiFi connection from within macOS

Built into macOS is a hidden tool that will help us to measure the quality of a Wireless signal. So in this video we will demonstrate how you access this tool, and try to explain what the information being displayed actually means.

Note: The advanced WiFi information provided by macOS, is very useful when troubleshooting or checking the quality of a wireless signal. While the bars in the WiFi icon do show how strong a wireless signal is. The WiFi icon does not show, type of WiFi signal or how much data can be transferred through it.

Quick reference notes:

  • From the macOS desktop, place the mouse pointer over the WiFi icon.
  • Now holding down the Option key, click on the WiFi icon.
  • The advanced WiFi menu will be displayed.

Note: We explain the following pieces of information: the PHY Mode, BSSID, the WiFi channel being used by the router, the encryption method, the RSSI signal and the transmit rate.

  • To close the advanced menu, simply click away from the advanced menu.

Note: MCS Index is an industry standard for measuring the WiFi connection between a client device and a wireless access point. MCS stands for Modulation Coding Scheme, and works in conjunction with a table to help determine the data transfer speeds of a wireless network. The table seems to be based on modulation type, coding rate, spatial streams, channel width and guard interval. However as the MCS Index is really for WiFi LAN professionals, we do not know enough about how it works, so did not mention it in the video.

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