What is a WLAN site survey?

What is a site survey?


A WLAN site survey is critical for mission-critical enterprise Wi-Fi networks.  WLANs are not designed as cookie cutter one-shoe-fits-all networks.  What worked for one company may not work for another company, even if occupying the same building.  WLAN surveys are performed by highly trained network engineers educated in the propagation of radio frequencies.


A WLAN site survey and design provides the customer with the implementation information that is key to the success of the wireless network.  A wireless network is designed to meet the customer’s specific requirements, such as high density, Voice over Wi-Fi, high speed data or location based wireless networks.


A WLAN survey and design saves money.  Deploying too many or too few access points negatively affects WLAN performance – it’s better to start off with a professional WLAN design.


A WLAN survey and design gives you “heat map” visualizations of what your wireless network will look like.  Attributes, such as signal strength, signal to noise ratio and Wi-Fi channel overlap are important considerations in enterprise Wi-Fi networks.  The heat map shows how well the Wi-Fi frequencies propagate and penetrate your facility’s walls, ceilings, furniture, etc.


On-site surveys include spectrum analysis, which details the quality of the WLAN frequencies at the time of the survey.  A spectrum analysis can detect interfering transmissions that may be detrimental to your WLAN, such as continuous wave transmitters that are readily available these days.


The WLAN survey is used when modeling  a new WLAN deployment.  The signal propagation from the survey is used in the software to accurately predict where to place access points in your facility.  The WLAN modeling report details access point locations, access point models and quantities, and direction on how to mount the access points.


What is a "validation survey"?  


A post-deployment “validation” survey is a WLAN survey that is done after the WLAN is commissioned.   The validation survey identifies coverage issues, such as channel overlap and dead spots, which can be tuned out of the network when looking at the heat maps.  In many cases, when tuning a WLAN, several validation surveys are done to ensure the WLAN is tuned to meet the customer's requirements.