WiFi network installation is often a more complex and involved process than imagined. Unlike a wired network, it’s often difficult to predict the number of access points required for a WiFi network and serious problems could arise if a guesstimate goes wrong. That’s why a site survey is such an essential part of the process when it comes to WiFi network installation, helping to avoid issues such as over provisioning or co-channel interference from access points that are too close.
The necessity of a site survey
Before you go to the expense and effort of WiFi network installation, it makes sense to ensure you have an accurate picture of the site landscape and requirements. The WiFi network, when established, will consist of a number of different components, including access points, the wireless controller, wireless clients and the various elements that connect them to the LAN skeleton. There are many different variables involved in determining how many access points are required and how the set up should be established. For example, the distance from an access point may have an impact, as well as factors such as bandwidth per user, any potential interference and the wireless technology that you’re using. The only true way to ensure that WiFi network installation is effective for an individual site is to begin with a site survey.
The 3 key objectives of a site survey
- Establish what the coverage areas are, as well as any gaps in that coverage
- Highlight anything that could interfere with coverage, such as cordless phones or nearby access points that are too close
- Identify the best locations for the various components of the WiFi set up
Site surveys can be carried out in a number of different ways, including working from a floor plan or using site survey software, as well as manually surveying a space. Often, the most effective way to complete an accurate site survey is to use a battery powered, movable access point and place it in the various locations that are being considered as WiFi access points. This should reveal whether there are any potential problems with those choices and enable various other measures to be taken, such as what the power levels are.
What is the outcome of a site survey?
If you opt for a site survey then you’ll receive a report that prepares the ground for WiFi network installation in depth. This should reveal key information, such as the optimum number of access points for the location that you’re looking at, as well as the positions in which to place them. You should also be able to see the coverage pattern for each of the suggested access points to give you an idea of why those locations have been chosen. The report may also include estimates as to the cost of the suggested implementation.
A site survey is an essential first step if you’re looking at WiFi network installation – contact us to find out more about how this could benefit your business.