How to show Wireless Network Connection Speed in OS X

It took me a while to find out how to do this on our iMac, so I thought I would blog it for future reference. If you want to find out what speed your wireless network is connected at on a Mac, you can do this with the “Network Utility”.

  1. Go to Finder
  2. Press CMD + SHIFT + U to open the Utilities Folder (or navigate there through Applications)
  3. Open Network Utility
  4. From the info tab, select the network you are interested in.
  5. The link speed will be shown in the interface information window.

The link connection speed is highlighted

16 thoughts on “How to show Wireless Network Connection Speed in OS X”

  1. Thanks – knew there was going to be a way. Slightly embarrassed I couldn’t find this without a google!

  2. Nice tip – but the reported figure appears to be the theoretical connection speed in use, not the actual speed achieved. e.g. I am using an 802.11g router that has a theoretical maximum speed of 54mbps, and the network utility shows 54mbps. I don’t believe this for one moment, as I am some distance from the router. All this is telling me is that I am connected using 802.11g rather than b or n.

  3. Hi Paul,

    You’re incorrect. It’s showing your current data rate that you are connected at. Try going further away, you’ll see it step down to other 11g rates.

    If you’re on 11n, on 40mhz wide 5ghz channels with a short-guard interval of 400ns, you’ll see a 300 Mbit/sec connection when your signal is solid. As you get further away, you’ll see it step down to other rates, and eventually will switch bands to 2.4ghz.

    Anyway, you’re incorrect, you should do more testing!

  4. Thanks for the info!

    For a quick look at the speed, you can hold “option” and right-click the wireless icon in the menu bar. Not nearly as detailed, but good for when you are at a hotspot and want to see what your wireless speed is.

  5. @Paul – I believe you are correct. When I log in to my router the speed is much lower than the speed displayed by the Network Utility. Also, if I boot into Windows XP via Boot Camp it shows the same speed as the router so this has to be the theoretical max.

  6. @Paul – Bill is either wrong, or Apple changed the way this works since his comment 18 months ago. The theoretical speed is displayed in Network Utility. However, Tige’s suggestion (to hold option key when clicking on the airport icon in the menubar) does get you closer to the answer you’re looking for, in that it lets you know what the negotiated transmit speed is, but I’m not certain that is 100% accurate either… obviously after hitting some threshold, it drops down or jumps up to a new negotiated speed, but before that happens, there are probably packet losses that reduce the actual speed from the negotiated speed.

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