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# Understanding SNR Signal to Noise Ratio on Netstumbler.

Posted on 2006-06-25
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I would like someone to explain to me how SNR can tell me which AP provides the best signal strength.  Ex.  I have to AP's.
AP1 has:  SNR: 36 Signal -52 Noise -100 SNR+ 48
AP2 has:  SNR: 36 Signal -62 Noise -100 SNR+ 38

I would like to understand what is the optimal state I am looking for.

Thanks
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Question by:kapara

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fredshovel earned 75 total points
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I can only relate this to SNR in audio, which is a similar principal -- and the most simplistic explanation is that a higher number represents how much higher the signal stands out from the noise -- thus the higher the number the better. It's a ratio based on a reference level between clean signal and the noise -- you want your signal to climb as high as it can above the noise floor.
You don't want noise 'up there' with your signal. You want to bury your noise as low as you can.

Cheers.
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Rob Williams earned 50 total points
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http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia_term/0,2542,t=signal-to-noise+ratio&i=51330,00.asp
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XY_GT earned 50 total points
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AP1 has the best signal strength.

The better signal is shown by the signal value. When the signal value is lower it is better. This is also indicated by the signal to noise ratio, higher is better.

A good resource for this is WikiPedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snr
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skaap2k earned 75 total points
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SNR = Signal to Noise ratio,

It is generally the difference between Noise and Signal,

The less noise you have, and more signal, the higher the SNR.

ie, you could have a signal of -63dbm and a noise level of -82dbm, giving you a SNR of 19.
SNR is only an indicator of the quality of the link, and does not guarantee a good connection.

Kind Regards,
Rob
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ID: 16985211
The reason I want to know is I have to get 2 wireless bridges pointing at each other from 1 mile away.  They are currently working but I have a feeling that they are not positioned for the best possible reception.  I was thinking of taking a wifi card with an external antenna and position it in front of Bridge 1 and tring to change the position to find the best reception.

Thanks
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If you can actually measure, it is well worth doing. Some commercial wi-fi units have built-in diagnostics to do this.
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Hi,

Theoretically, you should have equal signal levels on each end (that is the -52 and -62 bit) - All is not fair with wireless though, most cards have a sensitivity of up to -90dbm (-95dbm if you have a good chipset!) so you have plenty of headroom for weather factors to come into play.

Any signal level between -50 and -70 is good, anything lower and you'd want to either look at alignment / antenna size.

Rgds,
Rob
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Thanks kapara,
--Rob
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