When it comes to mobility and wireless network designs we get a lot of questions regarding our process and more specifically how we do wireless site surveys for clients that are not close to Charlotte, NC. Our answer is always simple, predictive wireless site surveys. Predictive means just that -- predictive, or a virtual survey of your school, hospital or facility.
Here’s basically how it works. We gather a bunch of data from various sources ranging from building materials, number of wireless users, the types of applications being run, different antennas and more. We take this data and run it through our site survey software (which is amazingly accurate now a days) and there you go.
You now have the basics for your access point layouts and expected speeds.
However, there are some big questions and misconceptions that still exist out there regarding predictive site surveys. Below are answers to the 3 things people are always getting wrong when it comes to predictive site surveys.
1.) Predictive Site Survey’s aren’t as good as a Physical Site Survey
This one is a major misconception and it doesn’t come down to which one is better than the other, it’s which one is right for the situation. In a lot of cases a predictive site survey is actually preferred. They can be quicker in most cases, and cost far less because they require less man hours than a physical survey.
In addition to these factors proper predictive site surveys are extremely efficient, especially when predicting channel assignments, access point placement and power settings.
2.) Predictive Site Surveys are not Accurate
This couldn’t be farther from the truth. A good predictive site survey is incredibly accurate with margin for error rates hovering right around 5 to 8 percent, however, we have the ability to adjust for this during deployment.
One of the main ways we allow for adjustments is by designing our systems with AP’s at a 50% power level. This allows us to have some flexibility when onsite so we can increase power if need be to overcome any real environment obstacles. Ultimately a good predictive site survey comes down to details and what we found its not only the amount of details you gather but the quality as well.
3.) A Predictive Site Survey can Never Replace a Physical Site Survey
Most of the time a predictive site survey can replace a physical one. If you are on a tight budget or need to produce a solid plan quickly then a predictive site survey is perfect. Sometimes wireless vendors will use physical site surveys to show off their gear to wow their clients with a very high tech performance. In this case a physical site survey is a complete waste of time, offering nothing more than “smoke and mirrors”.
Every wireless design is unique and requires its own specific solutions to ensure proper mobility and a high-quality wireless network design. In today’s wireless landscape there are many more options available than before and understanding your clients needs, goals and environment is the most important factors to mobility and predictive site surveys are just one important part of an extremely important process.
If you have any questions regarding wireless site surveys or your next wireless design you can connect with us here or if you want to simply leave a comment just use the box below, we are always available to chat!