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How to Build a Wireless Network: The Science of a Wireless Site Survey and Why They're a Must

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How to Build a Wireless Network: The Science of a Wireless Site Survey and Why They're a Must

Typically when we first begin helping anyone with a wireless network design we ask for the ability to create a wireless site survey for them. Most of the time we can create a predictive site survey and save the company loads on our engineers’ costly hours of coming on site. But I think it’s an important topic to tackle WHY we always start with a site survey?Why begin there? If a school or business needs mobility why is that so important?

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It’s important because mobility has brought along with it the PROLIFERATION of devices! 2 and 3 to a person! All the time! Wanting to connect! So, the days of an access point hitting a certain size of geographic space is as irrelevant as contacting someone on a pager circa 1991. It’s antiquated. It’s no longer appropriate. Today, what we need is capacity. “We need more capacity to support more devices, more applications and more bandwidth consumption at shorter ranges.”

A common misconception with the new 802.11 ac technology is that because the AP’s can handle more clients with their amazing throughput capabilities one can get the devices to work farther away from the access point. These devices with low transmit power (to save battery life) still need to be within a certain range of the access point. Check out our blog, “How do I Install My Wireless Access Points.” There’s a science of where to place access points that can affect your network either very positively or very negatively. Getting a wireless site survey can make sure, from the beginning, you have the most functioning network available based on your access point placement.

There are many factors that can affect the functionality of a wireless network and having the proper tools from an IT professional will allow you to get a wireless design with correct RF propagation throughout the entire building as well as a heat map to show the signal to noise ratio. As written about earlier, when designing it’s best to design with the lowest powered devices in mind. CAPACITY is the word!

There are three key elements in creating a wireless site survey:

1.) Knowing your users and applications: First, find out what issues are being experienced by end users currently and what applications will run on the devices wanting to connect. This will help to prioritize your plan, as well as bring your current network better into focus. The goal is to design a network that is best suited for your current and future environment, one that is built for your specific needs.

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2.) Assigning security roles based on users: The specificity at which a network can be designed for you is mind boggling. As wireless experts we can map out for you how to properly assign roles based on users and devices. This will allow you to rate limit certain applications on devices based on the role placed on that device and user. Bandwidth consumption is a fear on everyone’s mind. Having the ability to build these roles will allow you to limit packets and control bandwidth for the different classes of users.

3.) Having visualization of the RF propagation throughout the space: Have a proper design completed that shows you the RF propagation through your building can really help ease your mind when thinking of having “holes” in your network or “dead zones” where people may be unable to connect.

These elements should lead you to having a proper design completed but make sure it includes a list of materials to deploy as well as a projected cost for the project! We’ve created thousands of designs in our 9 years in business. Let us help take you through the right steps in the beginning to have a headache free wireless network deployment at the end. Contact us here for further insight.