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MacOS X – Determine WiFi Connection Speed

MacOS X – Determine WiFi Connection Speed
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While working on my DD-WRT project for my NetGear R7000 router, I ran some tests to see what the ideal connection setup for my router would be.

During the testing you’d typically want to see the speed of your WiFi connection, possibly including noise, RSSI, channel, country code, used frequency, etc. and initially it can be a bit daunting where to find this information. But … surprise: this info is readily available on your Mac, no extra software is needed, you just need to know where it’s hidden …

Therefor in this article 4 methods to figure this out on your Mac, without the need to install specific software for the task.




Determining WiFi speed on your Mac

Below I’ll show you 4 methods to determine some of the characteristics of your current WiFi connection.
For this we will use build-in tools that come with your MacOS X.

I highly recommend the first method, since it’s easy to access, fast and provides a lot of good information.

Method 1: Through the WiFi icon in the Menu Bar

To examine the speed of your WiFi connection, you can use the WiFi icon in the menu bar of your Mac.
Simply clicking it though will not provide you this information. You’ll have the press the OPTION (or ALT) key and keep it pressed while clicking the WiFi icon.

When you do so, a list will be presented with additional data:

  • WiFi network name (SSID)
  • IP Address of your computer
  • IP Address of the router or modem
  • If Internet is reachable
  • What type of security is used
  • BSSID
  • Channel
  • Country Code (each country has it’s own set of regulations)
  • RSSI (Received signal strength indication)
  • Noise (signal disruption)
  • TX Rate (tansmission speed)
  • PHY Mode (Radio mode)
  • MCS Index (index number for modulation and coding the signal)

 

MacOS X - WiFi info with ALT+Click on WiFi icon

MacOS X – WiFi info with ALT+Click on WiFi icon

Method 2: System Information Report

This method is a little bit more limited, yet provides good info.

Go to the  icon in the upper left corner of your screen, select “About this Mac System Report…“.

(you can find this also through Spotlight by typing “System Information”)

MacOS X - Wifi info in the System Report

MacOS X – Wifi info in the System Report

Method 3: Network Utility

Network Utility is a little harder, as it seems to have the habit of changing location with each MacOS X version.

The easiest way to find Network Utility is through Spotlight.

Open Spotlight, type “Network Utility“, and press ENTER.

Select under the “Info” tab, select your WiFi device from the dropdown list, and you’ll see your speed under “Link Speed“.

 Note: Sometimes Network Utility does not show your WiFi connection. Close the application and try again.

MacOS X - WiFi Speed through Network Utility

MacOS X – WiFi Speed through Network Utility

Method 4: Terminal (Command Line)

This is more for those folks that prefer the Terminal, and honestly, it took me a while to find this one.

Open a Terminal (Applications   Utilities   Terminal) and type:


/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I

The output should show something like this, where you see “lastTXRate” and “maxRate” indicating speed values for your WiFi.


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/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I
     agrCtlRSSI: -49
     agrExtRSSI: 0
    agrCtlNoise: -95
    agrExtNoise: 0
          state: running
        op mode: station
     lastTxRate: 130
        maxRate: 144
lastAssocStatus: 0
    802.11 auth: open
      link auth: wpa2-psk
          BSSID: 2c:85:7e:4a:b3:ca
           SSID: ChristelWIFI
            MCS: 15
        channel: 1

If you tend to use this command line statement more often, please consider making a symbolic link, so you can simply type “airport” on the command line without having to type the full path.

This can be done as such:


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cd /usr/sbin
sudo ln -s /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport

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Comments


There are 4 comments. You can read them below.
You can post your own comments by using the form below, or reply to existing comments by using the "Reply" button.

  • Jan 21, 2016 - 6:22 AM - aldwada Comment Link

    thank youu!  terminal command was the best way i think.

    Reply

    aldwada

    • Jan 21, 2016 - 6:26 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

      I agree,… I use method 1 for a quick look, and command line for a more accurate way of looking at things. 

      Reply

      hans

      • Oct 31, 2016 - 12:08 AM - noname Comment Link

        How can I get this extra information about my wifi connection on Windows OS?

        Reply

        noname

        • Oct 31, 2016 - 8:58 AM - hans - Author: Comment Link

          Not sure which Windows version you’re running, and what info specifically you’re looking for.

          Under Windows 10 (I believe this works under Windows 7 and up, but I could only test Windows 10), you could try the following in a DOS box:

          Netsh WLAN show all

          You could also consider something like WiFi Analyzer (free), or NirSoft WiFiInfoView (I believe that’s free as well).

          Reply

          hans



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