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.

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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