Site Survey

Site Survey

WiFi Site Survey Check List

by

Gary McCauley

|

May 28, 2019

Site surveys play an important role in modern business, and checking the state of your wireless network through a WiFi site survey is an increasingly popular solution for companies across the globe.

Therefore, a WiFi site survey checklist is vital for network technicians and businesses alike. Here’s all you need to know.


The benefits of conducting a WiFi Site survey

Before investing in any proposed site survey, businesses should equip themselves with an understanding of the reasons for having this process completed. A WiFi site survey shouldn't be any different.

The WiFi site survey is an integral part of the planning and design process prior to the installation of a new wireless network, although it can also be used to check and improve existing infrastructures. Here are just some of the benefits of having a WiFi site survey;

  • Identify and overcome potential issues before the installation rather than needing an equipment overhaul further down the line.
  • Design a tailored network system build to satisfy the specific WiFi needs of the company.
  • Save money by avoiding poor decisions that could have otherwise been made through a lack of valuable data.
  • Choose the most efficient WiFi equipment for the size of the project.
  • Provide companies with peace of mind in knowing that the right option has been used to maintain an optimal wireless network and maximize performance levels.


The ultimate WiFi site survey checklist

Given the importance and advanced nature of wireless network facilities in modern business, the WiFi site survey needs to be comprehensive. As such, it must cover each of the following steps:


Coverage vs capacity

The increased use of the ‘bring your own device’ strategy means that many companies must focus on capacity more than coverage. When this is the case, there will be a requirement for more access points than a wireless network that simply focuses on coverage. However, it’s possible that licensing agreements on software can become more expensive.

No two companies are the same, and understanding the intended use is a vital step before designing a new network or altering an existing one.


Point of contact

The wireless network is built to aid communication between a business and the outside digital world. However, communication is equally important before, during, and after the project. The link between technician and client is of huge significance at every step of the process, especially in terms of stability.

Establishing the point of contact is an assignment should be completed at the earliest possible stage.


Ensure that necessary Special Access is granted

When building a wireless network in a commercial setting, users may utilize several types of connection to the access point. This includes public access (usually for customers) as well as special access for the administrator. Ensuring that the administrator has the power to control the WiFi network in difficult moments is key.

Without these checks, any existing or prospective WiFi network could have its security compromised due to the advanced nature of modern hackers.


Deciding on type of Access Points

A wireless access point (WAP) is what allows devices to connect to the local area network (LAN). There are several option to choose from including single radio, dual radio, external antennas, and in-built antennas among others. Meanwhile, the decision between controller based and stand-alone access points is vital too.

The right choice is an integral feature on designing and building the most efficient WiFi network, making it a key element of the survey.


Knowledge of wireless devices

Building a WiFi network that covers the full premises is one thing, but it counts for very little if it doesn’t allow the people on site to actively use it. Therefore, any preparations should be sure to appreciate the capabilities and limitations of any computers, tablets, smartphones or POS terminals that could be connected at any given time.

A wireless network that requires various other items to be replaced is not an option.


Assess cabling situation

The introduction of a wireless network significantly reduces eh need for cabling, but some will remain. Access points will need to be connected to the world at a power source as well as a network source. Therefore, assessing the situation is vital for identifying any areas where cabling facilities could potentially cause problems.

Persisting with faulty cables could seriously harm performance levels, which is why all projects of this ilk should cover this factor.


Mark up floor plan

Ensuring that the coverage reaches to all necessary areas within the business premises is one of the most significant aspects of all. Before worrying too much about the location of access points, it’s vital to mark up a floor plan to produce the most accurate results. The size and layout of the building is crucial.

Completing this challenge ensures that the right types and quantities of equipment are installed to ensure the smoothest performance for all.


Consider outside interference

A wireless survey is primarily designed to maximize the network performance of the company’s internal WiFi facilities. However, outside interference from airtime pollution and other buildings can cause problems. Worse still, even when the installation is handled correctly, changes to the local area may harm the network.

Therefore, this can be considered a crucial aspect of predevelopment plans as well as an ongoing maintenance task.


Record Data

Predicting and planning how a network will perform through virtualization is one thing, but its performance in reality is another. Recording data is an integral step that should take place immediately after the systems are up and running. Data should include checking the coverage, LAN speed, and admin access security.

Recording data helps confirm that the infrastructure is in good working order, and can pinpoint any areas that may need further attention.


Determine new access point locations

A WiFi site survey shouldn't only focus on the immediate requirements. If the company is likely to evolve over the coming years (which is probably given how quickly technology progresses), it’s vital to think about the future too. In addition to the type of access points, the locations can have a huge impact on reliability and performance.

Selecting the right locations for proposed future access points, as well as those that are needed immediately, will be crucial.

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