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.


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

  • 3
    @RamonSuarez Why run it with sudo? It works without. Tested on Ubuntu 14.04 – malisokan Nov 8 '14 at 12:54
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    Doesn't show Link Quality or Signal level on Lubuntu 14.04 unless I run it with sudo. – gmatht Sep 21 '15 at 5:55
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    I can confirm @gmatht's claim. Doesn't show Link Quality or Signal level until run with sudo. Ubuntu 14.04. – pradeepcep Sep 28 '15 at 10:22
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    Worked just fine for me in Kubuntu 14.04 without sudo. Link quality and signal level are displayed. – Fred Larson Oct 11 '15 at 2:37
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    It shows them on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS without sudo. Good answer. – SDsolar Jul 24 '17 at 1:18


A console app with color display and lots of easy to read information.

To install it enter the following commands:

 sudo apt-get update
 sudo apt-get install wavemon

To run it enter:


wavemon in action

  • Requires deprecated wireless extensions, doesn't work with modern cfg80211 – lkraav Jun 10 '16 at 20:03
  • worked for me! (16.04, with a one year old Thinkpad) – nickf Aug 15 '16 at 20:26
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    wavemon stopped working for me in Ubuntu 16.04. I guess the problem is now in unique names of adapters which are 15 characters long in my case. It detects the adapter but it says "NO INTERFACE DATA" in Levels. Statistics and Info are also empty. It only shows Interface and Network data correctly. – nobody Dec 1 '16 at 8:04
  • This is working fine for me on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. I am using a rt2800usb adapter. This is the one I was looking for. TNX – SDsolar Jul 24 '17 at 1:21
  • Here is a tip: In order to use the F3 Scan function, you need to run wavemon with sudo. – SDsolar Jul 24 '17 at 3:55

A prettier one:

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

Source: http://www.upubuntu.com/2012/06/display-wifi-signal-strength-in-real.html

  • 1
    You need to run it with sudo – Ramon Suarez Aug 20 '14 at 15:00
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    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" – mamiu Oct 2 '14 at 13:14
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    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 – Piotr Kula Oct 31 '14 at 21:45

With a small modification to measure the quality of the link (Link quality) and the signal level (Signal level).

   watch -n1 -d "awk '{print NR == 3 \" WiFi Link Quality = \ "int (\ $ 3 * 1.428571429) \"% (\ "\ $ 3 \" 00 / 70.00) \ "; print \" level WiFi = \ "\ $ 4 \" 00 dBm \ "} '' '/ proc / net / wireless" signal

Note: The -d switch to watch highlights values ​​when they change (highlight Changes Between updates).


A command line option that does not require installation of additional software is the iwconfig command. To get quality of a connection simply run

iwconfig wls8 | grep -i --color quality
  • Output:

      Link Quality=56/70  Signal level=-54 dBm  

wls8 may not be applicable to you, so replace it with whatever option you need. Or simply, run iwconfig to see all output.

Here is a blog post that describes plenty of other options 8 Linux Commands: To Find Out Wireless Network Speed, Signal Strength And Other Information

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