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What does link quality mean in WLAN ?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It's dependent on several factors, from the Federal Standard 1037C for Telecommunications:

link quality analysis (LQA): In adaptive high-frequency (HF) radio, the overall process by which measurements of signal quality are made, assessed, and analyzed.
Note 1: In LQA, signal quality is determined by measuring, assessing, and analyzing link parameters, such as bit error ratio (BER), and the levels of the ratio of signal-plus-noise-plus-distortion to noise-plus-distortion (SINAD). Measurements are stored at--and exchanged between--stations, for use in making decisions about link establishment.
Note 2: For adaptive HF radio, LQA is automatically performed and is usually based on analyses of pseudo-BERs and SINAD readings.

Bit error rate (BER): In digital transmission, the number of bit errors is the number of received bits of a data stream over a communication channel that have been altered due to noise, interference, distortion or bit synchronization errors.

Signal-to-noise and distortion ratio (SINAD): Is calculated with power output/input from the radio waves.

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I think there are a few types of link quality, but in simple terms, it means how much of the data you send and receive will make it to the destination in good condition.

High link quality means the requests you send will make it there intact, and the responses should be in good condition as well. Low quality will give you oddities. You may see corrupt images (twisted strangely, funny colors, etc), random text, or the pages might not load at all. Obviously you want to get the highest quality you can, as low quality can slow down or break your internet.

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TCP is checksummed and 'reliable'. Data corruption is extremely unlikely, even for a horrible link quality. On the other hand, dropped or slow connections are typical of poor link quality. – Slartibartfast Oct 26 '10 at 5:46
Terms like Link Quality are defined by Standards. – Tom Wijsman Sep 3 '11 at 6:46

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