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I want to know if there exists any command line option or GUI tool (Ubuntu 11.10) so that I can measure the strength of wireless signal at a given location. I have a house where the wireless is not easily accessible at all corners I want to know at which corners or rooms the signal is weak.

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It might be easier to use a smartphone/tablet and an app like Wifi Analyzer rather than wandering round holding a laptop open. –  gmatht Sep 28 at 10:54

4 Answers 4

up vote 34 down vote accepted

On the command line you can use iwconfig and look for "Link Quality" and "Signal level" values.

When walking around with a netbook I often use this command which updates the output of iwconfig every second:

watch -n1 iwconfig

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you need to run it with sudo –  Ramon Suarez Aug 20 '14 at 15:14
@RamonSuarez Why run it with sudo? It works without. Tested on Ubuntu 14.04 –  Юнгвирт Тони Nov 8 '14 at 12:54
Doesn't show Link Quality or Signal level on Lubuntu 14.04 unless I run it with sudo. –  gmatht Sep 21 at 5:55
I can confirm @gmatht's claim. Doesn't show Link Quality or Signal level until run with sudo. Ubuntu 14.04. –  CEP Sep 28 at 10:22

wavemon -- Console app with color display and lots of easy to read information.

wavemon in action

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this one rocks! thanks! –  ubuntico Mar 22 '13 at 15:47

A prettier one:

watch -n1 "awk 'NR==3 {print \"WiFi Signal Strength = \" \$3 \"00 %\"}''' /proc/net/wireless"


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You need to run it with sudo –  Ramon Suarez Aug 20 '14 at 15:00
This is not the true percentage of wifi signal strength. So I did a small fix: watch -n1 "awk 'NR==3 {printf(\"WiFi Signal Strength = %.0f%%\\n\",\$3*10/7)}' /proc/net/wireless" –  gummiflummi Oct 2 '14 at 13:14
Mine shows me 70/70 on iwconfig which mean 100%, so with awk its shows me 70% signal strenght, which is untrue. You need divide the two numbers times 100 to get the real percantage. using rtl8198. But still a neat one liner i can use on OSD –  ppumkin Oct 31 '14 at 21:45

wavemon has a really nice interface:

wavemon is a ncurses-based monitor for wireless devices. It allows you to watch the signal and noise levels, packet statistics, device configuration, and network parameters of your wireless network hardware. It has currently only been tested with the Lucent Orinoco series of cards, although it should work (with varying features) with all devices supported by the wireless kernel extensions written by Jean Tourrilhes.

To use it type sudo wavemon in a terminal.

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