How to check your WiFi connection speed in Mac OS X

How to check your WiFi connection speed in Mac OS X How to check your WiFi connection speed in Mac OS X

Determining what is the actual speed of your Mac's Wi-Fi (WiFi) connection might not be as easy as it is for Windows users who can simply hover the mouse cursor over the network icon in the system tray. So, a question that some Mac users ask themselves is "How can I see what is the speed of my WiFi link?".  Well, you should know that Mac OS X offers several ways in which you can do that.

Keep in mind that the speed of your network connection is usually displayed using Mbit/s. If you want Mb/s, then all you have to do is divide the values by 8.


Using the Airport icon from menu bar

The simplest way to verify the transfer speed of your wireless connection is by using the Airport icon located on your menu bar. All you have to do is hold down the Option key and click on the icon. Once you have done that, an extended window will appear with information about your WiFi connection. You can find the actual values of your wireless connection speed under "Transmit Rate".

Option-click AirportOption-click Airport

Using the System Information tool

Another way to check the transfer speed of your wireless connection is by accessing the System Information utility on your Mac. To do that, you can simply use Spotlight (Cmd + Space) and perform a search, or you can access the "Utilities" folder under "Applications".

System Information ToolSystem Information Tool

After launching the System Information app, navigate to the "Network" and click on the "Wi-Fi" tab. Now you can view extended information about your wireless connection, as well as the data about other local networks in your area. Same as when option-clicking on the Airport icons from the menu bar, the speed of your WiFi link, that is, the speed of your wireless network when connected to your current router, can be found under "Transmit Rate".

Using the Network Utility

Your Mac OS X's Network Utility also provides you with a way to check the speed of your current wireless network. Just like accessing the System Information tool, launching Network Utility can be done either by performing a Spotlight search or by going to "Applications" -> "Utility" and finding the app there.

Once you have launched it, select your wireless network from the drop-down menu (if it's not already selected) and check the value next to "Link Speed".

Network UtilityNetwork Utility

Using the Terminal

If you are a fan or writing command lines instead of clicking around on your Mac and want more accurate information about your WiFi network, then you might want to know that you can use Terminal to achieve this goal. In order to do that, simply launch it (again, you can perform a Spotlight search or go to "Applications" -> "Utilities") and write the following command:

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I

After writing this command, you should be able to view detailed information about your current network status. It should look something like this:

/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -I
     agrCtlRSSI: -49
     agrExtRSSI: 0
    agrCtlNoise: -95
    agrExtNoise: 0
          state: running
        op mode: station
     lastTxRate: 130
        maxRate: 144
lastAssocStatus: 0
    802.11 auth: open
      link auth: wpa2-psk
          BSSID: 2c:85:7e:4a:b3:ca
           SSID: MyWIFI
            MCS: 15
        channel: 1

The speed of your wireless network can be determined by looking at the "lastTxRate" and "maxRate" values.

Using online tools

Finally, there are various online tools you can use in order to determine the speed of your WiFi link. Utilities such as, Broadband Internet Speed Test or Xfinity Speed Test offer some viable choices for finding out the download and upload speeds of your network connection. A nice thing about these tools is that most of them display the speed in Mb/s, so you won't have to perform the conversion from Mbit/s.

Online Speed TestOnline Speed Test


As you can see, there are several ways in which you can learn the speed of your WiFi connection. Choose the one that fits your needs (a quick view using the option-click method on Airport icon or a highly detailed view using  Terminal) and, if you, by any chance, discover that your current speed doesn't match the one stated in your contract, make sure that your router is correctly configured (802.11n standard is set instead of 802.11g, password encryption mode, etc), and you're not too far away from it, as distance affects your wireless link speed.