Wireless Site Surveys - Our Guide & Six Step Roadmap
Feb 15, 2022
Have you ever wondered how to improve your wifi coverage and performance in your business? You might think that having great wifi coverage in your office is enough but there are many factors that can affect its performance.
A wireless site survey will help identify any issues with connectivity before they become problems for employees or customers.
This way you can fix these issues before they cause any downtime on your network which could lead to lost revenue opportunities as well as unhappy staff members and customers!
By the end of this guide, you will have all the information necessary to make an informed decision about why a wireless site survey can help save you money and improve performance
What is a wireless site survey?
A Wireless Site Survey (Wireless Survey) analyses an existing wireless network to determine how well it meets specific business goals.
A Wireless site survey examines multiple factors, including cost, access, performance and security, to identify potential connectivity problems. Depending on the objective of the WLAN project, some parameters may be more important than others.
Why is a wifi site survey important?
A successful wireless site survey provides businesses with essential information for creating a comprehensive IT plan. Every company has different needs, and a wireless site survey is the only way to determine which equipment is needed and where accurately
Some of the questions that a site survey can answer include:
- What equipment is required?
- Is additional equipment necessary, such as an access point or antenna?
- Where should the equipment be placed to ensure the most optimal performance?
- What is the expected coverage area?
- What areas of the business have strong and weak coverage?
- Do we need multiple access points and, if so, how many will be required?
What are the three types of wireless site surveys?
The three types of site surveys typically performed while installing a wireless network are:
A coverage survey is required when a company needs to ensure their WLAN provides excellent signal strength and quality for as many users as possible, covering the largest possible area.
Because this type of assessment prioritises the number of users supported over data throughput, it is most often used to determine where additional wireless access points are required.
Building obstructions such as elevators, steel beams and concrete walls can create dead spots in your coverage area. These can be fixed by adding access points or using a wireless network extender.
A capacity survey determines how many users can connect to a single access point and expect decent throughput and data rates.
If clients cannot connect to your WLAN at an acceptable data rate, they will quickly give up trying, which could potentially impact productivity if the problem goes unresolved.
It is essential not to overload the wireless access points in your common areas with too many clients, as that can significantly decrease data rates.
Interference identification selects a device known to cause issues for your wireless network and moves it closer to the wireless APs within the facility until problems arise.
How much does it cost?
Costs for a wifi site survey depend on a number of factors such as the size of premises, the type of environment/building and location. Depending on the type of survey you require (active, passive or predictive), on-site prices can start from £1500 and can sometimes go up to £5,000-6,000
How long does it take?
The larger the building, the longer a survey will take. As a rule of thumb, a building or office with 2 floors and 5-8 rooms will take around 4 hours. For a larger warehouse or hotel – this can take a full day of around 6-8 hours.
Whats the difference between active and passive site survey?
A passive survey collects information about the signals within the environment itself. According to Wikipedia, a site survey application passively listens to WLAN traffic to detect active access points, measure signal strength and noise level.
An active survey (also referred to as a ‘live’ survey) collects information around specific signals within the environment when it’s in full working order. It uses an active/live access point to measure wifi signal strength, coverage and general performance.
What is a predictive wireless survey?
A predictive site survey is based on layouts and drawings of the location or building. This information is then fed into a predictive survey software which then provides estimates based on the information provided.
This is a more cost-effective option if you are looking for a quick turnaround for estimated pricing for a wifi installation but won’t be as accurate as an on-location survey.
The six steps for a wifi site survey
Here’s our quick six-step checklist for a site survey and how we would come to our estimates when quoting for new business.
- Review of floor plans and layouts
- Review access points based on power and current cabling in the premises. If you’re looking at upgrading your structured cabling or need a complete network, please view our network installations cost example page to see whats involved.
- Our design engineers will estimate how many access points your building/location will need based on steps 1 and 2.
- Once we’ve completed all of the above steps, we’ll put our estimates through our survey software
- We’ll then review the recommendations as provided in our software and adjust access points as required based on locations, blackspots and any other variables that we find.
- You’ll then receive a report with our findings and our recommendations
What are wifi site survey heatmaps?
Site survey heatmaps provide a visual representation of the building or location you are surveying. They show areas of both good and bad coverage and test access points and is easier to understand visually.
Heat maps show current capacity, bandwidth, number of access points, interference, signal strength and lots more information.