How to Measure Signal to Noise Ratio

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Internet access requires the use of routers. Some people may encounter various challenges while accessing the network due to improper connections between the gadgets they use and the routers. Most often, the problem may not necessarily lie in the strength of the signals, the network range or even the connection issues. When such incidences occur, it is worth the while to investigate an issue called signal to noise. This problem arises due to the interference of the desired signal by other unimportant elements or waves termed as noise. This article examines in details the concept behind SNR and the solutions of the issue.

What does SNR mean?

May people might be asking themselves what does SNR mean? The term SNR is an abbreviation used to refer to Signal to Noise Ratio. The name is commonly used in science to compare the amount desired signal to the amount of the noise in the background. In other words, the term also refers to the signal power ratio to that of noise power. It is merely the measurement of the relevant Wi-Fi signal in comparison to other less critical waves that may come in the way. Although SNR is common in electrical signals, it applies to other signal forms like in isotope levels, biochemical signals, and financial trading. It is also taken lightly to mean the ratio of relevant information to false data in communication.

Two problems encountered when dealing with issues related to Wi-Fi. The first one is dead spots. This issue arises when the desired signals don’t reach their intended location. They make it hard for signals to travel from the routers to other places. The other major problem, which is our center of interest is the signal to noise ratio. With this issue, the desired Wi-Fi signals may reach their intended destination well, but when accompanied by other irrelevant messages which make it hard to pick out.

To get a clearer picture of what signal to noise ratio means, we take an example of a big hall full of people. If two people try to talk to each other in the same building, the noises from other people will hinder proper conversation. The problem worsens when the room happens to have other people with similar voices to that of those people trying to communicate, the competition of their noises with that of other people will make it difficult for them to identify the real intended voices. In online platforms, the off-topics and spam messages are noise that interferes with the signals of the discussion.

How to measure Signal to Noise Ratio

Signal to noise ratio gets measured by subtracting the unwanted waves (noise) from the signal strength. Decibels commonly measure the SNR. Wi-Fi decibels measurements consist of negative calibrations. In other words, the higher the number, the weaker the signal. For example, we can take a room to measure the signal to noise. If we take the average signal strength to be -10, and the unwanted sound around -70, the SNR calculations takes place by subtracting the noise from the signal strength. In this case, we get the average snr as 60 in that room. Communication becomes worse when there is a low signal to noise ratio.

How to measure Signal to Noise Ratio

The term SNR is used to refer to the difference between the signal and noise. It doesn’t necessarily mean a specific “rate.” That is to say that the bigger the number the better the desired output. Scientists recommend an SNR of 20 for uses like surfing the web. Streaming of high-quality videos requires the SNR to be higher. Small range ratios mean that the noise is so high such that it can’t get distinguished from the primary signal.

There is a recommendable signal to noise ratios that one can follow. SNR of between 5dB to 10dB means that the noise is too much and one need to stop everything else to solve the issue. Between 10dB to 15dB, one can do basic jobs like sending emails, even though it is prolonged. The average web browsing and downloading of files requires the range between 15dB to 25dB. This range is, however, not suitable for high-quality video streaming. High-quality video streaming and video conferencing require from 25dB to 40dB.

How to measure Signal to Noise Ratio with NetSpot

NetSpot is a very reliable tool that is used to calculate the signal to noise ratio in macOS. The app is handy in visualizing, planning, auditing, and deploying Wi-Fi site surveys and other wireless networks. The users of Mac follow a process with few steps to arrive at the results. The process begins with the launching of the NetSpot. Then, the users select discover command. After that, one may choose the desired Wi-Fi. The fourth step is finding the signal and noise levels. The noise level gets subtracted from the waves to get the SNR. For example, if the message is -29, and a noise of 50, these signals are run through the calculator to get (-29) -(-50) =21. Alternatively, one can get the results by just looking at the level settings. Green color indicates that the signal is clean.

How to fix Signal to Noise Ratio issues

Fixing issues related to SNR can take a variety of methods. The first step is to take NetSpot, which is an essential Wi-Fi analyzer. This tool displays all the networks it identifies. After identifying the list of Wi-Fi signals, one can carry out several activities to increase the SNR. The first step is to remove the other Wi-Fi networks. NetSpot helps to locate the waves together with their strengths. The second step is to check the noisy devices. One can take a look at the gadgets around the router then try moving it away from them. When all the gadgets that might act as distractors get removed from the router, the noise signals get eliminated. The other method of fixing the SNR issues is through turning off the unwanted waves. The unneeded signals in the routers that support multiple bands of messages might be turned off to reduce the overcrowding.