Here’s a handy tip so you can quickly access information about your router, and see if your network is performing well. See your BSSID, signal-to-noise ratio, and even the transmit rate between your router and computer. All it takes is a press of a button and a click of your trackpad/mouse.
If you hold down the Option key and click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar, it will give you details about the network, and a place to create a diagnostics report.
As you can see below, this provides you with details about your router and the network you’re using. The items in gray—except for “Wi-Fi On” and “Personal Hotspots”—are all pieces of additional information seen only in this mode. They’re mostly esoteric settings and whatnot, but below we have an explanation of what each setting is.
- IP Address: This is your computer’s IP address.
- Router: Your router’s IP address. You can type this into your browser to access your router’s web interface.
- Internet: This tells you if you are able to access the internet or not. If not, open Wireless Diagnostics.
- Security: Your router’s security. Most routers on the market offer WPA2 Personal, and it keeps your network encrypted.
- BSSID: This is your router’s MAC, or hardware address. It acts as an identifier for your router that lets it talk to other network-connected devices.
- Channel: This is your WLAN channel, and it determines which radio frequency the router uses to transmit information. My router uses channel 153 on 5GHz bandwidth.
- RSSI: Received Signal Strength Indicator measures how well a device “hears” a signal from the router. It’s useful for determining if you have enough signal to get a good wireless connection.
- Noise: This measures how much radio noise is interfering with the RSSI signal. Signal-to-noise ratio is a measure used in science and engineering that compares the level of a desired signal to the level of background noise. It is defined as the ratio of signal power to the noise power, often expressed in decibels (via Wikipedia).
- TX Rate: The transmit rate is the speed of the data that is transmitted between your router and your computer. Right now I have a speed of 450 Mbps.
- PHY Mode: This is the wireless protocol that the router uses, according to the IEEE 802.11 wireless standard.
- MCS Index: This number corresponds to the protocols uses to encode the radio signal.
With this tip you’ll be a network pro in no time, and saves you from navigation through System Preferences.