dBm to Internet Speed

In this post we show how Internet Speed (Mbps) varies with the received signal strength or RSSI (dBm), using measurements.

Wi-Fi Network Planning

When planning your Wi-Fi network, use this calculator to estimate the RSSI. The tool uses your location relative to the access point and tells you what the signal strength will be.

A home requires one Wi-Fi network (unless it is a large mansion). For larger spaces use this tool to plan your network.

RSSI to Speed

The table below shows the internet speed as a function of RSSI.

Measurements were done under the following conditions:

  • Internet service with 1 Gbps Upload and 1 Gbps Download speeds
  • Phone with 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) technology

The limiting factor is the speed of Wi-Fi 802.11ac which is 866 Mbps on both the uplink and downlink. The older the Wi-Fi technology the slower the speed. For instance Wi-Fi 802.11n would be limited to 600 Mbps. Earlier generations of Wi-Fi such as 802.11b/g would be even slower.

RSSI (dBm)Download (Mbps)Upload (Mbps)

What does this mean?

From the table above we can see that as the RSSI drops to -70 dBm and lower the speed drops to less than one-tenth of its value at -37 dBm. From 506 Mbps down to 39 Mbps.

If your internet bandwidth is lower e.g. 50 Mbps, the speed of your connection would be proportionately lower at around 3 Mbps.

Importance of RSSI

For bandwidth intensive applications like conference calling, it’s important to keep your RSSI levels higher than -60 dBm for a stable connection. On this page you can find the bandwidth requirements for different applications.

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