How to Improve Wi-Fi Connectivity in OS X Using Wireless Network Scanner

Posted on August 30, 2012 by Nikhil P Naik

A powerful tool for diagnosing Wi-Fi connections has got an update in new Mountain Lion release in the form of expanded version that offers you some really good options. One of the most functional peculiarities of the program is a built-in Wi-Fi scanner for complex monitoring of wireless networks. Here is a post that will guide to Improve Wi-Fi Connectivity in OS X.

If your Mac is already connected to a wireless network then press the “ALT” button and simultaneously press the “Wi-Fi icon” in the top right corner. Apart from the usual options of the connected network you’ll see some other important information about the current connection, such as the level of signal, channel, security, data transfer speed, etc.

Without releasing ALT button click on “Open Wi-Fi diagnostics”. Now, if you’re working in Mountain Lion, skip the Setup Wizard using keys Cmd+N. In Lion OS you just need to click “Forward”. You will see a new window called “Network utilities”. Another way of launching the Wi-Fi diagnostics is to open Finder, press Shift+Cmd+G and copypaste this line:


Then you need to find a hidden program in the list of files.

On the tab “Wi-Fi search” of this network utility you may scan the networks. The information of the level of signal of the points of access is in the column “Signal”. This indicator goes with a “minus” sign, for example, -30 or -75. The closer a number to zero the stronger the signal is. With -80 indicator it is almost impossible to connect to a network. Column “Noise” also has negative values.

If you know the above mentioned indicators then it is possible to determine relation between signal and noise (SNR) for any wireless network in the list.

For example, if the signal level is -60 and the noise level is -91, then the difference between them (SNR) is 31.

The higher the SNR value the better Wi-Fi productivity is. In reality SNR value of 25 or above means the maximum speed of data transfer in a wireless network.

There’s also a “Channel” column in the “Wi-Fi search”  section. This column will help you to solve the problem of channel interference, which is typical of wireless networks with high areal density of routers. The number of channels in the 2.4 GHz range is limited, and access points have to work on the same radio channels close to each other. The more Wi-Fi access points on a channel, the more they interfere with each other, and the lesser is the speed. That’s why it is recommended to choose less loaded channel.

Also Read: How To Delete Preloaded Apps in Mac OS X

Author’s bio: Eugene Rudenko is a tech writer at His main interests and topics for writing are Apple and Android apps and services.

About Nikhil P Naik

Nikhil Naik has a Master's Degree in Information Systems, and is currently working as a Software Engineer at Microsoft. He also loves playing cricket, listening to music, and traveling. Twitter Handle - @buzz_nikhil.