Can't establish a good connection between xbees

Hello All,
I am having the worst luck getting my xbees to establish a reliable connection. I’m using a 2 XBee pro s1’s one connected to my computer with a SparkFun XBee Explorer Dongle and the other attached to an arduino using a SparkFun XBee Shield which is being powered by an external battery. I’ve gotten them on their own channel and they’re able to connect. But in Network working mode in xctu it says the signal quality is unknown. When I go into console working mode and try to use the connection it only works some of the time. I can’t find any pattern or reason it may not be connecting properly it just randomly doesn’t respond. I’m mainly just trying to get an RSSI value from it but when I type +++ it only sometime responds and when it does its a pretty random amount of time later. And when I try to get the RSSI value using atdb most of the time it just gives me 0 regardless of weather the arduino is across the room or right next to my computer. I also can’t get radio range test in xctu to work. The window comes up but it just stays blank.
I’ve tried updating the firmware, checking connections, and everything else I could think of or found in other people’s posts.
Does anyone know what I need to do to get a good consistent connection? This is the first time I’ve used this sort of thing so please spell things out for me.

Please help!

Hi Raxius,
I also had the same problem , where the connection was being shown as unknown, but as long as they are on same channel and the address( DH+DL or MY )of receiver and transmitter are matching you can communicate happily! I have tried using range test too, where my window opened but stayed blank, I have no idea about that.