KBA-01812: Meaning of the Wi-Fi Signal Indicator


In V2020, we are noticing a little red wireless symbol that appears and then disappears when we are in a Spitfire document.  What does this symbol mean?


We added this symbol in V2020 to indicate when a document is unable to communicate with the web server (or has not yet been able to communicate with the web server).  It is common for this symbol to show up for 10 seconds or less when a document is first opened.  It may blink on and off at other times. However, it if remains present for 3 or more minutes, this is indicative of a problem that will likely lead to a “session lost” message.  In such a situation, contact your IT help desk and let them know that there is an issue with the web server or network connectivity.

For IT Professionals:

While this icon is traditionally used to indicate the presence and strength of a Wi-Fi signal, in this context, Wi-Fi has nothing to do with the issue. The red indicator means the signal between the client browser tab displaying the document and the web server is weak or has failed.

While a document tab is open, a web socket connection is maintained with the web server. This connection allows the server to inform the client of other users’ related activity. The client also sends heartbeats to the webserver every 30-45 seconds (randomly distributed).  These heartbeats maintain the “document session” and preserve the users’ exclusive lock on the document.  After about 3 minutes with no heartbeat, the exclusive lock is released and all server side resources related to the document session are freed.

Occasionally, a web socket connection will naturally close. In such cases the indicator may appear briefly, for 3 – 10 seconds.  Conditions permitting, the web socket connection is automatically reestablished.

If a given user is having tabs display the “signal lost” indicator for more than 10 seconds, you might check for the following:

  • Is the user losing their Internet connection (legit weak Wi-Fi, bad cable, etc.)
  • Does the user have many, many tabs open (more than 10?  more than 20)?
  • Does the user have power saving or other management software that might be regulating “idle” tabs or throttling the Internet connection?
  • If all or many users are effected: Is there a firewall blocking the web sockets protocol?

For Music Enthusiasts (who notice our KBA number):

Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture was written in 1880 to commemorate Russia’s successful defense (in 1812) against Napoléon’s invading army.

KBA-01812; Last updated: March 29, 2021 at 15:45 pm