WiFi Site Surveys
What is a WiFi site survey?
A wireless site survey is essential to the planning and design phase, prior to the installation of a wireless network in your premises or location.
Design, Fault Find & Optimise
We offer different types of WiFi site surveys, dependent on your needs. Each survey will include a diagnosing of any issues with your existing network, an inspection and test of your existing infrastructure to ensure it is fit for purpose, and scalable for your business needs.
We’ll complete an analysis of your existing coverage (if any), and a review of your vital services, software and apps to ensure they run without any issues, designing your network from the ground up with this in mind.
WiFi Site Survey Case Studies
WIFI FAULT FINDING & CONSULTANCY
DHL is the world’s leading logistics company. Employing over 350,000 people in over 220 countries, the East midlands Cargo hub…
WIFI FAULT FIND, REDESIGN, & IMPLEMENTATION
Manchester Central Convention Complex
Manchester Central is an award-winning venue with the capacity to handle intimate corporate functions and large-scale conferences or exhibitions.
WIFI FAULT FIND, REDESIGN, & IMPLEMENTATION
INEOS are one of the largest global manufacturers of petrochemicals, speciality chemicals and oil products with revenues over $60 billion.
Let’s get connected
Like to know more? Get in touch with a WiFi specialist.
The health check or fault-finding WiFi survey is conducted on sites where a wireless network has already been installed (whether by us, or by anyone else).
This survey type is usually used where a specific issue has already been identified, such as slow video calls or voice-over WiFi (VoWiFi), dead spots or throughput issues. Our engineers will visit your site to fault-find and check your wireless network is functioning as intended.
We recommend this survey type is carried out on a regular basis to prevent any long-term issue with your wireless signal or network.
Predictive Model WiFi survey
The predictive model WiFi survey differs from the other types as it is essentially a virtual survey. It relies upon high quality building plans to enable us to properly assess the requirements. Working with CAD drawings of the building plans, we’ll use sophisticated software to build up a 3D model, setting the different floor and wall materials to provide an accurate virtual picture of your site.
The benefits of a predictive model WiFi survey are that it provides a quick, cost-effective and practical estimate of your site’s requirements, which causes minimal disruption to your business activities. However, it can’t account for onsite issues such as cabling paths, or local interference sources.
Though the predictive model WiFi survey can give a reliable estimate of your site’s requirements, the pre-deployment WiFi survey is based on-site in order to give a comprehensive understanding of your site’s requirements. One of our engineers will visit your site to conduct what’s known as an AP (access point) -on-a stick survey.
Our engineer will bring a range of sophisticated equipment including an AP attached to a tripod, which is connected to a power source. This then allows the engineer to position the AP correctly before taking measurements to determine the wireless coverage area, signal strengths and anything else that may interfere with the WiFi signal.
WiFi Site Survey Steps
What devices are going to be used onsite?
Will they be handheld barcode scanners, VoWiFi handsets, laptops or tablets? We’ll need to know the make and model of the devices that will use the wireless networks – to determine frequency ranges – and which standards (802.11a, b, g, n, ac) are supported. If you don’t know this information, we can help you identify what devices you use.
How many devices do you have of each type?
The number of devices used on your network will determine the WiFi design. During the WiFi site survey we’ll need an estimate of how many devices could be present for any given area. Capacity planning helps us determine the model of Access Points (APs) required.
What applications do you use?
During the wireless site survey we’ll need to know if the WiFi network is being used for video, VoWiFi, e-mail, web browsing, cloud storage, or RTLS (location tracking). Certain traffic requires QoS (Quality of Service) to work well.
Finding out your business needs
Do you have the right set up for the applications that you use?
RTLS (Real Time Location Systems) generally require three Access Points (APs) to be visible at less than -75dBm. Cisco VOIP requires two APs to be seen at -75dBm or better, and an SNR of 25dB or better, which means that more APs are required. We’ll also need to figure out during a WiFi site survey if the required APs are being “seen”.
Have you got any preferences for the manufacturer or models used?
Different manufacturers such as Cisco, Aruba or Ruckus produce different Access Points, which offer different characteristics. These include antenna patterns (depending on the gain), weight, mounting, and polarization. Older models usually provide less throughput and interference mitigation. We will also need to know what switches and firewalls are in use.
What issues or symptoms are you currently experiencing with your WiFi?
For a fault-finding or health check WiFi survey, we’ll need to know what symptoms or issues are being seen onsite. Are there issues with VOIP, video or a certain application? Is it throughout the premises or one area in particular? Or are issues seen at a certain time of day?
Importing your building plans
We’ll import your building plans, set scale, and define the building materials For this stage, we’ll need high-quality digital building plans. Our survey software uses these to show how the WiFi signal travels through the building. We’ll need plans that are to scale, and ideally define distance.
CAD drawings are preferred (but not essential), as our software uses the layers to set the different floor and wall materials, and gives the attenuation properties of each. We also support the use of PDF, BMP, JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF and SVG files. If you don’t have building plans – don’t worry. When CAD files can’t be supplied, we’ll define these properties manually.
Getting on site
An onsite pre-deployment survey can be done in conjunction with a predictive survey, or purely as a standalone. If used in conjunction with the predictive wireless site survey, then this can serve as verification of the network design.
Once onsite, our engineer will set up the wireless survey kit in accordance with your building type, regardless of your environment or how many floors your business is spread across.
The location of your comms cabinet and the equipment therein (such as switches, firewalls and the Internet router) will be documented, and we’ll confirm the type of cabling if possible (CAT5/5e/6/6a). We’ll also – if possible – document the physical location of your wireless Access Points in use. During this walk of the building, our engineer will also be checking out any potential problem areas or safety issues.
Our engineer will walk the building using the spectrum analysis tool, recording data as they go. This stage will show any possible sources of interference from WiFi or non-WiFi devices.
Site set up
To setup the main WiFi site survey, our engineer will place the Access Points in the correct location using a tripod – this could be vertically mounted near a wall, or horizontally next to the ceiling, which benefits from the way that most antennas are aligned in modern indoor Access Points. Using the Ekahau software they will walk the area taking readings. When they get to the edge of the coverage area for that AP, they will then “freeze” the software and move the AP to the next location.
This is repeated until the entire building or location has been completed. The coverage area size will be determined by the type of WiFi network that is required, which will have been ascertained during step 1. One NIC (Network Interface Card) will be used to perform a passive wireless survey, where the laptop and software just “listens” to the signals. Another NIC will perform an active WiFi survey, where data is sent to test connectivity (PING) and optionally throughput (using Iperf). Extra NICs can be added to speed up the passive survey. The extra NICs then listen to different parts of the spectrum, so sharing the load. Once complete, the engineer will then summarise the initial findings with the onsite contact.
Our survey kit includes: Laptop with Ekahau Site Survey Pro software, Spectrum analysis tool, Various Access Points (APs), Camera – to show AP locations, Electronic tape measure, PoE (Power over Ethernet) battery packs and Adjustable tripod.
Compiling a bespoke report
Once the survey is complete, our engineer will compile the findings into a comprehensive report. This will include the recommended locations of Access Points (along with photos and notes for clarity), channel settings, power levels, throughput, heatmaps showing each APs coverage area, and any interference issues that may need investigation.
In the case of a fault-finding wireless site survey the report will also include recommendations about what is required to improve the network. Our engineers will be more than happy to go through the report with you.
If you have received a predictive, or pre-deployment wireless survey, then a follow up post install WiFi/RF (Radio Frequency) site survey is always recommended to verify the WiFi network is working effectively
If you would like to see an example of a report showing what is covered, then please contact us.
A follow up post-install WiFi/RF (Radio Frequency) site survey is always recommended to verify the WiFi network is working effectively.