Ring RSSI – what does it mean?

In this post, we discuss RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) and what it means for a Ring device.

What is RSSI?

It is the strength of the Wi-Fi signal received by the Ring doorbell. The lower the RSSI value, the weaker the signal. If the signal level is too low, Ring won’t be able to connect to your home network.

What is a good RSSI level for Ring?

A signal that is -50 dBm and higher (as reported by the Ring app) is a good RSSI value.

Ring RSSI Chart

As the signal level drops below -65 dBm, it gets closer to the noise floor of the receiver. At -90 dBm it’s almost at the noise floor (calculator here) and at that point the signal cannot be differentiated from the noise.

Why are RSSI values negative?

A Wireless LAN access point transmits signals that are at a level of +20 dBm. The further you move away from it, the lower the value. So the value gets more negative with increasing distance away from the router.

What is the range of a Ring doorbell?

A Ring doorbell has a range of around 160 feet or less.

Ring RSSI Range Calculator

Use this tool to calculate RSSI.

It provides an estimate based on distance of the Ring device from the Wi-Fi router. It also accounts for walls or floors that are in between.

Use the value of RSSI computed above to understand the quality of the signal.

The table below shows how they are related. The scale is split into three main regions.

RSSI Value (dBm)Quality
-66 to -90Too Low / Poor Quality
-65 to -51Okay but might have issues
Greater than -50 Strong signal / Good Quality

Ideally you want to position the Ring doorbell such that the RSSI level greater than -50 dBm.

Is RSSI measured in dB or dBm?

RSSI is measured in dBm.

dBm stands for dB relative to one milliwatt. It is an absolute number.

dB on the other hand, is a relative number and has no units. dB can be used to indicate the difference between two numbers. So if your RSSI yesterday was -70 dBm and today it’s -50 dBm, you could say that it improved by the difference or by 20 dB.

What impacts RSSI?

RSSI is impacted by

  • The distance between the Wi-Fi router and Ring – the greater the distance the lower the signal
  • Objects, walls and other barriers between the router and Ring result in lower received signal strength

Is higher or lower RSSI better?

In general, a higher RSSI is always better than a lower RSSI. In the context of Ring, the closer the value is to 0 the better. The more negative the value, the worse.

However as shown in the chart above, there are three main RSSI performance score regions. You won’t notice significant differences in quality if you’re at -40 relative to -30 (even though -40 is lower).

Why does Ring RSSI keep changing?

RSSI changes continuously due to many factors including but not limited to:

  • Changes in the environment such as the movement of people in the house
  • Radio (RF) interference
  • Obstructions

An indoor radio environment is always changing. Therefore RSSI will always fluctuate.

Does a high RSSI value mean better Ring performance?

Not necessarily. Even though you have a high RSSI value there are two other things that can impact performance of Ring:

  • Received signal level at the Wi-Fi Access Point (i.e. in the reverse direction). If this level is too low, it will result in poor video quality. In general you would expect that if the signal from the router to Ring is strong then it should be the same in the reverse direction – however this is not always the case.
  • Radio Frequency Interference. If there are many other neighboring access points, they will interfere with your device. This results in poor performance.

Is an RSSI level of 53 good?

RSSI level of 53 means the signal level is adequate or acceptable for Ring to work. For a good signal level, the RSSI value would have to be lower than 50. An RSSI level of 47 is good while a level of 57, 58 and lower are trending toward poor.

How to improve Ring RSSI?

Here are four things you can do to improve or increase the signal strength

Reduce the distance between Ring and Wi-Fi router

While this can be challenging at times, move the router closer to the Ring. Also where possible reduce the number of obstacles between the router and the Ring.

Improve RSSI without moving router

A Wi-Fi extender can be used to extend the range of your Wi-Fi network by up to 2000 feet.

Pick a different Wi-Fi channel

Get a Wi-Fi analyzer app for your phone to show what 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi channels are being used around you. Find a channel that’s used the least, and set your 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi to that. Don’t use the Auto setting on your router.

Channels 1, 6 and 11 are non-overlapping so it’s best to pick one of them. Most routers are set to channel 6. Try changing it to 11.

Use 5 GHz Wi-Fi

The Ring Doorbell 3 and 4 support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi. In general 5 GHz Wi-Fi has shorter range but faster data rates and lower levels of RF interference.

Summary

In this post we discussed RSSI – what it means and how important a good signal level of at least -50 dBm is. This ensures that your Ring doorbell functions properly. We provided some tips and tricks to improve the performance of the device.