Site surveys are used to provide a solution that delivers wireless coverage, data rate, network capacity, roaming capability and quality of service required. Solutions include but are not limited to:
- Plan a new Wi-Fi network
- Audit an existing wireless network for performance and coverage
- Visualise your wireless network
- Identify interference and eliminate blackouts
- Obtain expected cost for Wi-Fi deployment
It is best practice to conduct a Wireless Site Survey prior to the deployment of a wireless network.
There are three types of site survey: Passive, Active and Predictive.
NetWireless works with the most highly advanced survey tools by Ekahau to simulate optimum access point locations from a scaled building plan. Virtual access points are placed on building floor plans, estimating coverage, required amount of access points and the signal to noise ratios expected.
On occasion building plans can be inaccurate, it is however imperative that any barriers or walls are accurately recorded to avoid mis-representation.
Once the WiFi system has been deployed, an on-site survey can then be actioned to confirm the design locations and fine tune the design.
Passive Site Surveys are most commonly used in buildings that already have a wireless infrastructure. Collecting the most comprehensive information from important WLAN characteristics and metrics, passive site surveys measure the signal strength and noise level of any active access points. This can also be useful for detecting neighbouring points or potential interference.
Passive Site Survey trouble shoot by measuring round-trip time, throughput rates, packet losses and re-transmissions using triangulation of an existing network.
Most commonly used for auditing purposes and to identify any rogue Access Points (AP) either within the building or nearby. Rogue Access Points are AP’s from an external source that interferes with your network.
In addition to a passive site survey, a spectrum analysis can be conducted to identify, locate and eliminate external interference that may be affecting Wi-Fi performance. The Spectrum Analyser will detect non-standard interference such as radar or faulty microwave ovens. It will also detect other non 802.11 standard signals such as Zigbee.
Interference is one of the primary contributors to degraded Wi-Fi performance.
Active Site surveys are commonly used in pre-deployment where no current Wi-Fi infrastructure exists. On site Wi-Fi engineers can conduct the survey by securing an access point onto a mount to simulate access point location. Access points are moved from location to location to determine signal strength and coverage. If no power exists, battery operated tools can be used. The results of this survey are combined to produce a coverage heatmap.
This site survey is not often recommended by NetWireless as it is extremely labor intensive and therefore not cost effective.
With a Passive/Active site survey you can introduce an iPerf component.
An ‘iPerf component or throughput survey’ is a variation which places a computer at the core of an existing network to create a 3-point check that determines network speed. This method provides a more accurate understanding of the available speeds of an existing installation. An alternative, more cost effective option is the ‘ping check’.