What Is Involved in a Wireless Site Survey?
A wireless site survey is a network assessment done by a networking expert in a physical space. It can help if you are looking to install new Wi-Fi or to improve your existing service. Here are some factors commonly considered in a wireless site survey:
- The overall space and square footage of the business, including physical layout
- Environmental factors that may create interference, such as elevator banks, the types of materials in the walls and facades, the duplication of appliances in a small space
- Time of day (is the office full or empty?)
- Seasons (winter poses different requirements than spring)
How Is a Wireless Site Survey Performed?
If a small business opts for a wireless site survey, a networking expert and engineer will evaluate your space and look for any points of interference. Typically, the engineer will make two sweeps: one when the office or commercial space is empty and one when people are occupying it. Most surveys last one to two days. Next, a report is issued detailing where to deploy routers and what problems still need addressing. Once the plan is put into operation, the engineer will return to check that it is working properly.
Businesses should opt to perform the survey at peak business hours, when the workflow is at its heaviest. This will yield more accurate results and ensure that the Wi-Fi will work well in high-traffic periods.
Is a Wireless Site Survey Right for You?
Many small businesses are not inclined to take on the extra cost of doing an outside survey such as this and often will try to fix issues on their own through general diagnostic tests or by buying more powerful routers. However, if bigger environmental factors are causing the issue, an assessment could save a small business money by zeroing in on problems.
For example, many people think a more powerful router will mean better Wi-Fi. But certain environmental factors like beams, high ceilings or Sheetrock walls can cause dead zones. Then, it becomes about finding the right custom-fit network solution, because a converted warehouse with vaulted ceilings will pose different challenges than a small retail establishment. A football stadium or college campus may also require a more elaborate Wi-Fi setup than a small office supply store. Networking experts can navigate these blockers and get you back online.
If a small business is looking to relocate or expand, a wireless site survey can also be a smart predictive measure to assess how the Wi-Fi will be in a particular space and if it’s worth it. Regardless of your professional environment or setup, a wireless site survey can offer small businesses guidance, relief and assurance so they can have fast, effective Wi-Fi no matter what.