Is A Wireless Network Site Survey Really Necessary?


More often than not, it is possible to design and install a wireless network by creating a predictive site survey, thus saving the client a lot of time and money. However, given the proliferation of mobile devices nowadays, proceeding straight to the installation is not a viable option anymore. Considering that all mobile device owners want to connect and stay connected, providers need to account for the network’s capacity to support more gadgets, applications and be able to ensure a proper bandwidth at shorter ranges.

A site survey can address these issues and much more

On top of all that, providers also have to identify the best location for the access points, an aspect that can affect the efficiency of the network. In the light of these facts, it’s obvious why you should ask for a site survey before the provider can design and install your wireless network. Thanks to the survey, you and the IT team will know from the very beginning the optimal access point placement, which in turn will translate into a high functioning network.

Predictive survey versus physical survey

As previously mentioned, customers are tempted to opt for a predictive site survey mostly because it would save them a lot of cash. However, if you want functionality, then money is not a criterion to account for when making your decision. In almost all situations, a physical site survey is more accurate because the IT engineers will actually travel to your facility to evaluate a live environment.

A site survey is especially beneficial for buildings with a lot of interference, such as manufacturing warehouses or hospitals, for instance. Since the network should not interfere with medical equipment, a physical survey is actually mandatory in this case. A further situation in which a physical survey makes sense is when you want support for latency sensitive applications, like a Voice over WLAN app.

What does a physical survey entail?

The site survey permits IT professionals to acknowledge the correct RF propagation throughout your facility. Furthermore, the team can also create a heat map that indicates the signal to radio ratio, thus coming up with a network design that has been optimized for the lowest powered devices. To be more precise, the site survey will help IT professional establish:

• The users and apps

In the event you already have a wireless network implemented, then the survey will help determine the common problems experienced by the end-users. Based on what applications you want to run smoothly on the network, the new system can be set prioritizing on required apps. The new network will not only be created for your specific needs, but will also account for future environment changes.

• The necessary security roles

To create a functional and smooth running network, you will also need to know how to assign roles based on users and devices. After all, bandwidth consumption represents a major factor for an efficient wireless network. Based on your needs, the survey helps discern important roles as well as adjust packets and bandwidth accordingly.

All in all, if you want to implement a wireless network for your facility, but have sensitive equipment to account for, then it would be wise to have a physical site survey before designing the system.

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