Can You Hear Me Now?

Written by Gayle Wooster

We’re all used to seeing the Wi-Fi signal status bars on our mobile phones to the left of our carrier names. The shaded five dots or ascending blocks are what we look for just after the person we’re talking to breaks up and we move closer to the window asking, “Can you hear me now?” We’ve all experienced a dead zone and gone looking for a better signal. Some of us have even tried putting our phones in an empty glass to improve reception, but I digress.

Those status bars are simply a visualization of the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI), a measurement of the power present in a received radio signal, often displayed in decibel-milliwatts (dBm). These values are on a logarithmic scale, from zero (an excellent RSSI value) to -100 (barely detectable). Because signal strength can vary greatly and impact functionality in wireless sensor networking, many devices – including Buddy Ohm’s installer application – often make the measure available to users in an easy-to-read icon based on dBm levels.

Additionally, at Buddy, we color-code the icons to give at-a-glance actionable guidance when installing. Our red-yellow-green colors tell installers whether or not they should reposition devices for more reliable connectivity, without having to remember which logarithmic RSSI values mean what. We’ll also adjust the mapping of RSSI values to actionable colors as we get feedback on their accuracy, and will deliver these mappings automatically in subsequent app updates.

So when you’re setting up your new Buddy Ohm and related monitoring devices (Links, Senses) in your building, you can easily compare the RSSI levels to find the most optimal placement for the best possible conditions for radio wave propagation between the Ohm and other Buddy monitoring devices. Buddy’s visual signal status indicators provide the path for you to confidently install your devices. No empty glass necessary.