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Will Wifi throughput be affected by RSSI (attenuation) in my setup?

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Jun 27, 2022
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This question is very specific to my setup and test.

My setup is like this:
Screen Shot 2022-06-26 at 22.46.12.png

Note that in the left shield box, wifi AP send its signals to the antenna over the air. While in the right shield box, the wifi STA pulls its antenna out and directly connects to the attenuator. The Wifi AP only works in 2.4Ghz band.

Then I run iperf to test the maximum throughput from Wifi STA to Wifi AP. (Iperf server on AP, Iperf client on STA).

My question is, if I increase the attenuation value (assume we always keep the connection the attenuation won't be extremely big), will the maximum throughput affected. If so, why is that?

Yes, definitely, signal strength will effect your throughput.
Because each receiver has minimum input sensitivity (which defines how low power signal can be captured and decoded).
Must satisfy signal levels defined by ieee 802.11 spec. Have a look table in this page. However your device receiver may be better than given figures. That means better tput performance.

Let say you have -50 dBm signal, receiver can sense 1024QAM signal which is good throughput.
When you increase attenuation, signal level decreases and (let say so that signal level is -62 now), receiver couldn't sense 1024QAM signal any more then modulation rate is adaptevely decreases so that both radios can communicate correctly, which will be 64QAM. This is 16 times lower throughput.

Given figures just to make it clear. Actual tput depend many parameters (antenna, noise coming from nearby circuits, signal strength, bandwidth, transmitter quality etc etc)

Hope help.
Good luck!

PS: Given setup is well known setup for RvR (rate vs range) tests, it is used to simulate AP-STA physical distance (which will happen in real world) in a controlled test environment.
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