Wireless Network Design and Outdoor Site Surveys – FAQ
What is an outdoor site survey?
An outdoor site survey is a survey of the exterior / outdoors of your facility or campus for wireless coverage. An outdoor site survey can happen in two forms; a predictive site survey and a physical site survey. Because of the complexity of an outdoor site survey due to requirements such as mesh or bridge links, we suggest doing a predictive survey first and then conduct a physical survey to verify coverage or mesh/bridge links of the access points.
The predictive portion of an outdoor site survey using planning tools will tell us where the access points should be located for proper coverage and whether the mesh or bridge links we have designed will work with the distance, the antennas and access points we are using to create the links. A physical outdoor survey is performed similar to an indoor physical survey with an access point being installed at a particular point and then the coverage is measured by walking the area with a laptop running survey software.
What information is needed for an outdoor site survey?
To perform the predictive site survey we will need to know the following;
- Campus or facility areas needed to be covered (Google Earth markups are great for this)
- Buildings that needed to be linked by a wireless bridge
- Height of any of the buildings, light poles, etc… that are to host an access point for bridging
- Indicate any areas where trees, foliage, hills or other obstacles may interfere with the line of sight (LOS) between the access points.
- The types of applications or the desired bandwidth to be carried over the bridge or by the access points. (What kind of traffic will be traversing the network between buildings or from outdoors to indoors?)
- Availability of power at each building, light pole, outbuilding to power the access points
- Availability of data connectivity at each building, light pole or outbuilding to connect the access points to.
What can I expect to receive from an outdoor site survey?
The predictive outdoor site survey will provide the following;
- A map layout of the facility or campus with locations where the access points or bridge links will be installed.
- A list of which locations will need power and data or just power.
- A proposal with predicted costs, materials and labor.
The physical outdoor site survey will provide the following;
- A map layout of the facility or campus with confirmations or adjustments of the locations for where the access points or bridge links will be located.
- A spreadsheet listing the intended installation locations and what will be needed at each location; power & data or just power.
- A proposal with firm costs, materials and labor.
- A statement of work detailing what will be delivered and how.
- Project plan process showing the steps from analysis, design, deployment to support.
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How is an outdoor site survey performed?