To say that we have come to the point where we expect strong wireless connectivity in our places of work, conference centers, hotels, and even when we stop for a quick coffee to check our emails is an understatement. Our high expectations mean frustration levels also rise when wireless connections are unreliable or bandwidth does not meet these high expectations.
For businesses this means providing a great wireless connection is now more important than ever but what is the best way to do this? It should start with a wireless site survey.
Put simply, a wireless site survey is the process of planning and designing a wireless infrastructure to suit your specific needs. The idea of simply buying a router and providing free wifi to customers for instance might still work for tiny shop spaces. The realities of modern office space and conference centers covering large areas and constructed out of material that inhibits wireless signal penetration mean that a site survey can ensure a great connection across the entire space.
It is not just the area that needs to be covered and consideration for construction materials that need to be considered. Security for the wireless network and ensuring the network meets the demands of your customer base also need to be factored in, with these being areas that a site survey can illuminate.
Types of Survey
There are three types of site surveys that can be conducted. Those are active, passive, and predictive. A passive site survey is done periodically to measure important wireless connection metrics like signal strength, signal-to-noise ratios, as well as anything that might be causing radio frequency interference be it concrete or other wireless devices.
An active site survey focuses more on how devices perform once connected to the larger infrastructure. In order for your customers or employees to connect to the wireless network, they have to pass through the access points you set up. Active site surveys can test if the access points are operating as intended. Further, an active survey will check what ping times are like as well as download and upload speeds.
Lastly, predictive surveys are arguably the most important of those listed above. This type of survey’s importance stems from it needing to be done before any hardware or device is installed. Fundamentally, the survey is done to ensure access points are placed in the best positions to ensure maximum connectivity. These can be done remotely if needs be but do form a vital step in setting up a wireless network and can help save costs and prevent headaches further down the line.
In the past wireless site surveys have been an underestimated tool in making sure the wireless infrastructure is up to the task. However, with the increasing demands of both people and the devices they need, these surveys can make the capital investment required for a wireless network well spent rather than a capital sink.