Bars and Signal Strength

Are bars a true indicxation of signal strength?

You're at the airport, twenty minutes before boarding and notice the WiFi bar icon is full — this is great news, you can send that presentation to your boss or client before the meeting, just in time for them to review it as you get there.

    One last piece of information you need is within reach on your browser… you log on, attach and hit send, and start your search. Ten minutes later you're halfway to nowhere and realize the bars might be high, but the signal is just not there.

    This is a scenario we've experienced often enough at conferences, in office buildings, train stations, and many other public and private places. It would be an easy fix, show a combination of bars and signal and people can see the real connection.

    But there's one more piece of evidence we need to complete the picture — how many people are trying to log on at the same time? Did the system account for them?

    WiFi connection bars rarely represent the quality of the connection, they only indicate distance from it. How can we get a better idea of the health of a network and its integrity? A new low power method to detect transmission strength? New standards? 

    Something to think about when evaluating collaborations, making hiring decisions, and placing trust — the bars look full, what about signal strength?