Wireless Network Site Surveys & Heat Mapping

Conducting a wireless site survey for network installations

When it comes to wireless systems, detecting the existence of interfering signals and predicting the propagation of radio waves is nearly impossible without the use of proper test equipment. This is true even for systems that leverage omnidirectional antennas.

Radio waves do not travel the same distance in all directions due to the varying degree of attenuation caused by people, elevator shafts, doors, walls and other obstacles. These obstacles cause the irregularity and unpredictability of RF radiation patterns.

As such, businesses experiencing issues with their wireless network system should first have their site surveyed. When conducted by experienced personnel, a wireless site survey helps to pinpoint possible problem points and determine whether the network implementation and the number of access points provide adequate coverage for the facility or office space in question. Let's take a look at the steps involved in conducting a wireless site survey.

Understand the wireless requirements

For effective coverage, network professionals must identify optimum locations for mesh nodes and access points. They must also take into consideration all the factors that impact signal coverage to determine the type of implementation that will ensure that maximum range and optimal performance (data rate and throughput) requirements are met.

This can only be determined through a wireless site survey. If such a survey isn't carried out prior to implementation, it could result in poor performance in certain areas.

Create a facility diagram

Before commencing a wireless site survey, network professionals should look through the building's blueprints. If one isn't available, they should prepare drawings representing the layout of the office space, mapping out walkways, walls, fire escape and the like.

Conduct a visual inspection of the area

After creating the facility diagram, networking professionals will visually inspect the facility to confirm that the facility diagram is accurate. At this point, potential attenuation barriers (that could affect RF signal propagation) are identified and taken into consideration.

Visual inspections would also uncover other obstacles (not present in the facility diagram) such as partitions, metal racks, safes, filing cabinet and others.

Assess your existing network infrastructure

During a wireless site survey, the existing network infrastructure is assessed to determine its capability in supporting the wireless network. Most office buildings now come with optical fiber networks or, at least, Ethernet.

If such existing infrastructure was used during wireless network implementation, they should be checked to ensure that they are in peak operating condition. The site survey should also identify areas where wireless coverage is important and verify the location of all access points.

Let Compuworks do a wireless site survey for you.

Wireless site surveys can help solve network implementation and performance issues, but only when conducted by networking professionals with extensive expertise and experience. You can find such professionals at Compuworks.

By leveraging our expert networking services, your Wi-Fi issues will be fixed in no time at all.

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