Why Do You Need a Wireless Site Survey?
Improve your network capacity and connectivity to meet user demands with the help of a best-in-class predictive wireless site survey.
For most people, modern life revolves around wireless connectivity in one way or another. Many have come to expect a strong WiFi network as a given — especially in their places of work. And as people’s expectations for connectivity rise, so do their frustrations when they’re faced with low bandwidth or a lack of sufficient access point locations.
So what’s the best way to ensure your wireless LAN (WLAN) connectivity and bandwidth meet user expectations? Start by performing a thorough predictive wireless site survey that will provide access point locations and optimize your wireless infrastructure.
What Kind of Wireless Site Survey Do You Need?
Generally speaking, a wireless site survey is the process of planning and designing a wireless infrastructure that will meet your specific connectivity needs. The survey identifies the ideal number of wireless access points and their locations within your environment. It also finds any potential sources of radio interference that could negatively impact your WLAN connectivity.
There are three different kinds of wireless site surveys that you should consider if you want to evaluate your wireless network: passive site surveys, active site surveys, and predictive site surveys. Passive site surveys report on critical WLAN metrics and should be run periodically to help capture AP metrics like signal strength, signal-to-noise ratios, and RF interference. Active site surveys take a look at how devices perform while connected to the wireless network once the APs are already installed. They ensure your APs are working as expected and measure network performance such as ping times and upload/download times.
Predictive site surveys are the most important of the three. They should be conducted by IT teams before any installation work begins to ensure you’re putting the right number of APs in the right locations to maximize connectivity. In many cases, these predictive site surveys are performed remotely — a process often referred to as an “armchair survey” because it doesn’t actually involve the IT team getting out of their chairs and examining the space they’re dealing with.
If you’re looking to make the most of your predictive site survey, though, you need to work with a company that gets out of that armchair and actually goes to your location to identify your concrete connectivity needs. That’s where Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI) stands out from the competition.
Discover the Difference with a TTI Predictive Wireless Site Survey
TTI’s predictive site survey is completely unlike the competition. We don’t simply call your business and determine an estimated number of access points based on the building square footage or number of rooms you want to connect. Instead, we look at your specific space and design a plan that reflects your operational goals, unique layout, and building materials.
At TTI, we start by getting your building plans and importing them into our software. We then draw in the building materials to give us the attenuation factors that are predicted for the environment. From there, we do our own initial planning and collaboratively review that planning with you.
The next step is one no armchair survey would ever take — we actually go to the location for the AP on a stick (APOS) process. For the APOS, our team sets up a meeting at your site and brings one of the access points that we plan to deploy in the environment. We then put that access point on a tripod and place it in the location where the AP would be mounted according to the predictive plan. When we turn on the AP, it starts radiating the RF the same way it would when normally deployed.
Once the access point is on, our team tests the area around that AP to verify the attenuation factors that were predicted based on the building materials. We do this by going into a room that’s next to or a couple of rooms down from the APOS deployment and take measurements of the signal as it penetrates through the walls. That lets us see the accuracy of our predicted signal strength based on real-time measurements.
In short, unlike an armchair predictive site survey, TTI’s survey takes into account the many factors that can interfere with your RF. Our experts give you a plan that accurately reflects the reality of your space and makes adjustments for any anomalies from the predictive plan. That way, by the time your wireless infrastructure is being installed, you know it’s perfectly suited to your specific needs.
The Importance of an Effective Predictive WiFi Site Survey
There are many benefits that come from conducting a predictive site survey. One of the most significant is that it can save you money in the long run. With a WiFi site survey, you find out exactly how many access points you need on the front end so you never over-deploy an area. That doesn’t mean you’re just saving on the cost of the actual APs — having fewer active access points means you need fewer switch ports. This means less power burned on your switch, which means fewer switches in your switch closet, and ultimately, you’ll need less HVAC to cool your switch closet. The savings are compounded quickly when you precisely deploy an area instead of over-deploying it.
Another major benefit of an effective WiFi site survey is that it helps you prepare for growing demands on your wireless infrastructure in the face of a changing technological landscape. New developments like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which is used by the majority of IoT, iOS, and Android devices, require strong connections across your entire environment. Even more importantly, the increasing demand for contact tracing and heatmaps to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 means organizations around the world are adding new devices to track people’s interactions — all of which require powerful connections.
Improve Your Wireless Coverage and Signal Strength with TTI
A predictive wireless site survey is a critically important process that ensures your wireless infrastructure is deployed perfectly. Each step needs to be conducted carefully to ensure your users will have the signal strength and bandwidth they expect without the added costs of over-deployment. That’s why we recommend that you leave the heavy lifting to the professionals.
At Turn-key Technologies, Inc. (TTI), we have extensive experience conducting our unique predictive wireless site surveys for a wide range of institutions. Our thorough, in-person processes mean you’ll end up with a stronger wireless network than ever before. Plus, our Aruba APs can monitor and make updates to your network dynamically, so that you can address any issues before they occur.
Contact us today to get started on your wireless site survey.
By Tony Ridzyowski