I'm connecting my MacBook to the internet via a current generation Apple Airport Extreme (late 2013). When I'm standing next to the Airport, my Mac's wifi indicator shows full signal strength (duh!) and I get excellent download speeds (30-50mbps). When I'm on the other side of the house, my MacBook still shows full signal strength but I can barely load anything (.25mbps... if I'm lucky)!

What gives? Why would the signal be strong but I can't download anything?


1 Answer 1


WiFi signal strength only tells just that, the strength of the signal.

It is a prerequisite to have a good connection.

How ever that does not tell you about the Quality.

If you have high interference (from devices or Neighboring networks) then your RSSI will be high. It should be <70 or better (the lower the better).

Then there is the Transmit Rate value that will tell you the actual data transmit rate.

To look up all those values hold the option (alt) key while clicking on the WiFi Icon.

  • Thanks! I'll try that as soon as I get home. What's confusing to me is what the interference could be. There are no neighboring networks and I can't think of any devices that would be interfering... there's hardly any electronics in the house (no phones or tv). What else could be causing interference? Can/Should I change the channel on my Airport Extreme?
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 15:36
  • My RSSI clocks in at -82 dBm. The transmit rate (Tx Rate?) says 7 mbps. I'd be lucky to actually get 7 mbps though. Anyway, I live in a fairly typical house. What kind of things might be causing such interference?
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 13:18
  • 82dBm is to high (to much interference). Try changing the channel. That transmit rate is only between you and the router, not to Internet.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 16:07

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