WiFi Site Survey
Site survey is a very crucial stage process for the design and optimisation within any infrastructure, especially when it comes to LAN networks and WiFi. There are a variety of surveying tools and techniques at the engineer’s disposal which allow him or her to conduct wifi site surveys with precision. Heat map pictures are commonly used and overlaid into site plans which provide information about signal strength. They can be achieved using a number of different ways.
What is a WiFi Site Survey?
WiFi site survey is a process of designing and planning a wireless network such that it offers an effective wireless coverage, network capacity, data rate, quality of service and roaming capability.
It is needed to lay out a proper WiFi network which offers full coverage and doesn’t require over-investment in the hardware. Surveys are a key part of the planning process. Without them, you will not be able to set up an effective WiFi network at your organization.
Why Are They Needed?
Thanks to these WiFi site surveys, you will be able to know the WiFi access points that are going to effectively cover your organization without having to spend too much money on the hardware and other such things. With a properly planned WiFi network at your organization, you will be able to deliver the reliability and speed for both your employees, as well as the guests that come to your organization.
What If It Is Not Done?
If the survey is not done or if it’s done in an ineffective manner, you will not be able to get expected WiFi performance. It can lead to a poor wireless network and can give rise to issues like lack of throughput due to interference, dark spots for coverage, not enough access points to take care of all the users at the same time or too many access points, which can lead to self-interference. All these problems will have to be solved and you will have to spend more time and money in doing so. Not only will it cause monetary loss, it will also lead to reputational damage for your company.
Types of Surveys
Passive Survey: In this type, the survey is performed with just 1 to 2 access points in operation. Signal test readings are taken through a special planning and site survey software. It provides information like Signal Strength charts, AP locations, detailed interference analysis, photographs of AP mount locations, and descriptions of cable installations.
Active Survey: This is conducted after a wireless network has been deployed. It is also done to check the health of an existing network. It measures signal coverage and is done to find out if the wireless network is operating at its maximum level or not.
Predictive Survey: While this is not recommended as a survey tool, it is often done by inserting a site plan into a program that simulates floors and walls. It cannot take into consideration the density, thickness, interference and material type. It can lead to wrong information which will result in inferior network coverage.