What is a Wi-Fi survey and why you need one?
In today’s modern world, companies are consistently relying on wireless technology in the day-to-day running of business operations. And there’s no wondering why—thanks to tech advancements we are now capable of obtaining wireless Wi-Fi speeds that we could once only achieve through a hardwired connection.
But if your wireless network isn’t performing to its optimal capacity, it could be affecting your business by costing you valuable time and money.
If you’re moving into new premises or if you’re experiencing connectivity issues, then a full on-site Wi-Fi survey can identify any problems and help you plan a stable wireless environment. Here’s everything you need to know about Wi-Fi surveys.
What is a Wi-Fi survey?
A wireless site survey often called a Wi-Fi survey or wireless survey, is the process of auditing, planning and designing a wireless network, to provide optimal wireless coverage. This is typically carried out using an analysis of building floor plans, inspection of the facility, and use of site survey tools to reveal places of signal interferences, weak signals and dead zones. A wireless survey also helps to avoid interference due to existing radio sources and interferences caused by physical building structures.
To deploy a wireless network on the site and understand the required capabilities of the network and the range boundaries, the surveyor will need to know the number of devices likely to connect to the Wi-Fi, the type of traffic expected on the network, the number of access points needed and where to mount them for optimal coverage.
The types of Wi-Fi survey
There are three types of wireless surveys: passive, active and predictive
Passive Survey— An onsite survey tool is used to capture and take a measurement of RF information. This information is then mapped to a Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) level on a floor map and displayed in the form of a heat map. It can also show SNR, Noise, and CCI values for comparison with the predictive survey.
Active Survey—Another onsite survey, this time in an active survey, the survey Wi-Fi adapter is associated to the AP(s). This allows the gathering of detailed information such as network traffic, throughput packet loss, jitter, delay and data rates. It is often performed in conjunction with a passive site survey at the start of a new wireless network deployment.
Predictive Survey—This type of survey uses RF planning software tools to predict wireless coverage of the access points (APs) and can be done off-site. The floor map is imported and calibrated in the survey tool with the scale information, and building boundaries such as walls or lift shafts causing Radio Frequency (RF) attenuation are drawn. APs are placed on the map based on the application types (data, voice, RTLS), client type, throughput requirements, power, channel and frequency bands in scope.
It is recommended that surveys of the scope area are checked regularly to confirm network health and identify any problem areas or areas where signal strength could be improved. Next Systems can carry out a full on-site survey to identify and provide solutions to these issues.