What do the bars represent in the Windows 7 wireless network status icon?

Drsunil V March 12, 2014
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What do the pictorial bars of WiFi icon imply as seen when WiFi is active on a Windows 7 laptop? Do they imply ‘signal strength’ or ‘data transfer rates’? In other words, can internet speed be same even if few bars are highlighted out of all bars in WiFi icon?

  1. Oron J
    March 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    Yes, they indicate signal strength (or more accurate, communication speed). 5 bars= best signal, 1 bar=worst signal which can be detected. If you get 1 bar, the signal is usually so weak/poor that communication is not only slow but unreliable.

  2. Rajaa C
    March 13, 2014 at 3:11 am

    The strength of the Wifi signal and connection, similar to the bar indication of the mobile network in a mobile phone indicates the strength of the mobile network you are receiving currently.

  3. Jan F
    March 12, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    They give you an estimate of the signal strength you are receiving.

    They don't give an indication to the speed and transfer rates as they can't factor in interference. So a 5 bar signal doesn't necessarily mean you will get the maximum speed. It just means the signal is strong, it doesn't mean the signal is "good".

    http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/wireless/spectrum-expert-wi-fi/prod_white_paper0900aecd807395a9.html
    http://www.juniper.net/techpubs/en_US/junos-space-apps12.3/network-director/topics/concept/wireless-interference.html

    • Drsunil V
      March 13, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Thanks. Please tell 1) that lesser bars can give equal speed than for full bars? , 2) Does lesser bars imply increased probability of signal interruption?

    • Drsunil V
      March 13, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      Corrected : Thanks. Please tell 1) that lesser bars can give equal speed AS THE SPEED for full bars? , 2) Does lesser bars imply increased probability of signal interruption?

    • Bruce E
      March 13, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      1) Yes. The various signal strengths CAN still give you the same speeds but it isn't likely.
      2) Yes. The fewer bars you have, the more likely it is the connection can end up being dropped.
      Because of both of these conditions, your up/download speeds will normally be adversely affected by poor signal strength. If you have 5 bars, the connection should not drop entirely nor should individual packets be dropped, so your speeds will reflect this. If you only have 1 bar, it is likely the the connection itself may drop and need to be reestablished and more individual packets can be dropped requiring retransmission if using a guaranteed delivery protocol (TCP) or problems with streaming protocols (usually UDP). So with a single bar, transfer speeds do tend to suffer to some extent.

    • Drsunil V
      March 14, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks Bruce. Your answer deserves "Best" answer. Please copy and paste your answer as 'new response' so that you can be chosen as 'best respondent' on this topic

  4. Dalsan M
    March 12, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    The bars show signal strength, which has a better chance of receiving higher transfer speeds and higher quality and stable connection. This, however, is not usually the case, except when the signal strength is very low.

  5. Hovsep A
    March 12, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Checking the wireless connection speed of your computer
    http://kb.linksys.com/Linksys/GetArticle.aspx?docid=810e021f443a43779294b05bd6b5bedc_3967.xml&pid=80&converted=0

    Bars = Wireless connection status (signal strength from 1 - 5, quality scale Excellent, Very good, Good, Low and very low), represents the signal quality meter.
    Bars with yellow triangle with ! = Connect (limited Connectivity/no internet connectivity)
    Bars with a gold dot = Wireless connections available (not currently connected)

    • Drsunil V
      March 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks. I have viewed the weblink. The webpage does bring out salient points on this topic

    • Drsunil V
      March 16, 2014 at 3:06 am

      Please tell whether a new Wi-Fi router can be configured on a different workstation and thereafter plugged into the required workstation to directly enable internet via the router on a required workstation?

    • Hovsep A
      March 16, 2014 at 11:26 am

      How to Set Up a Wireless Bridge With a Belkin Wireless G Router?
      http://smallbusiness.chron.com/set-up-wireless-bridge-belkin-wireless-g-router-55114.html

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