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I have 5 bars - what is in a number?

I have two Apple Macs sitting side by side on my desk. They are connected to my Airport Express on the other side of my house and they are showing 5-bars in the AT&T vernacular. I find that extremely curious because my Nexus 6, Samsung Chromebook both show 2-bars. And while you might say something about the quality of hardware or the vendor... I also have a Chromebook Pixel 2 i7 and as Google describes it, the Pixel 2 is all premium hardware meant to be bar that all other CBs are meant to reach for.  My P2 is also showing 2 bars. What does this say about Apple? Is their hardware tuned differently than everyone else or do that physics of WiFi radio transmission and reception not apply to Apple engineers. Or is it possible that their "computation" of WiFi strength is optimistic and everyone else pessimistic?

I'm not one for regulation but when faced with a sub-par WiFi environment, like a house constructed with iron rebar and aluminium studs, and when faced with purchasing decisions based on empirical data like WiFi bars... It's hard not to be a little bitter.

If faced with a new WiFi purchase I'm not certain which vendor I'd buy from except that Apple is at the bottom of the list now.

PS: as a reminder I had a Sonic Wall problem about 6 months ago. Since then I tried a d-Link model that worked and then I heard that there was an AirPort Express that also worked. I spent the $100 and it worked. Even though the version of the device was identical in Firmware with the model I already had (which did not work).

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