If you’re designing a new wireless network (and since you’re reading this I’m assuming you are) then you’ve likely heard of an rf site survey or a wireless site survey. However, even though many people have heard of it, doesn’t mean they understand the impact it can have.
We get asked a lot of questions, especially about wireless network design and site surveys, and its surprising how many businesses and organizations undervalue them or flat out don’t really know what they are.
It’s critical that you understand the importance and the impact an accurate site survey will have on your new wireless network’s performance.
To make sure you get the most out of your new WLAN design we’ve put together a short list of four of the most frequently asked questions about site surveys and had our senior network engineer Michael McNamee explain answer them.
Question 1: What is a wifi or wireless site survey?
A wifi site survey is an assessment performed on-site or at the physical location of the business using several RF measuring tools. We use these tools to analyze the propagation of the RF signals throughout the entire layout of the business.
It’s performed in real-time under real-world conditions which gives us the ability to analyze both RF interference and perform simulations of the devices and applications our customers are planning on using.
Question 2: Is performing an on-site or physical site survey superior to a predictive site survey?
Most of the time, yes, because that type of assessment is done in a live environment instead of in a virtual environment. However, it’s not always superior because it’s not always needed in some simpler or basic carpet and drywall environments.
However, in more complex and larger environments like in healthcare, manufacturing, warehousing or education, performing a site survey is critical to a successful WLAN design.
Every business or environment is different and has different needs or goals so we recommend starting with a predictive site survey to get the discussion going regarding what applications and devices have to be supported and a preliminary assessment of the environment in question.
Question 3: What do customers have to provide to start the wireless site survey process?
When we prepare to do an assessment or rf site survey we ask that our customers provide floor plans or blue prints of the building or buildings.
We also like to have a design meeting where we discuss how the customer is planning on using the wireless network or in other words what they’re trying to accomplish, as well as having a detailed conversation about the environment we will be working in.
Finally, we also require the customer to set-up access to the facility and an escort or point of contact that can assist us when on-site.
Question 4: What’s included in a completed wireless site survey?
We use 3rd party design software that gives us a lot of advantages and a lot of data. It’s our goal to provide each customer with an extremely transparent and detailed report of our results.
This includes a detailed report of our walk through and an analysis of each access point location, including RF coverage maps.
If we do a spectrum analysis we’ll provide data on all non wifi related interference as well as channel and frequency utilization.
We conclude with a full proposal and statement of work for their new wireless network. This includes total cost, the materials and labor needed, and what will be delivered to the customer and how we will do it.
At SecurEdge we’re experts in wireless network design, with well over 300 deployments in some of the most challenging environments anywhere. If you have any questions about your current or new wireless network design, please contact us here, we’d love to help.