What is a Wi-Fi survey?

We have all had a similar experience; you are using your mobile device and when you move to another area (sometimes all it takes is to turn your head to a slightly different angle) and it’s gone; you have lost your Wi-Fi connection.

Unless you live in the back of beyond, normally this kind of experience would be in a public place or whilst travelling.  However, what can you do if this keeps happening in your workplace?

Generally speaking Wi-Fi used in a company is implemented using a centrally located router.  These routers are powerful enough to give constant, reliable coverage for everyone in the vicinity.

Wi-Fi for a large site or organisation can’t rely on the standard Wi-Fi coverage given from a router.  This is based on a few factors such as:

  • Large site footprint
  • Obstructions
  • Repellent building materials
  • Hazardous environments
  • Number of users

So what can be done?

In order to establish the extent of these factors a Wi-Fi survey would need to be carried out.

The primary goal of the survey is to establish the users requirements; such as coverage, desired throughput and usability.

The purpose of the survey is to determine the number and placement of wireless access points necessary to provide ubiquitous coverage for the entire building.

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Who would need a Wi-Fi survey?

There are a large number of industries that may require a Wi-Fi survey such as;

  • School and colleges
  • Industrial sites
  • Factories and plants
  • Oil rigs
  • Stadiums
  • Large sports facilities e.g. golf courses, leisure centres

How is a Wi-Fi survey carried out?

Using network assurance software, an onsite ‘walk through’ survey is carried out.  This is used in order to establish the current wireless Infrastructure and signal strengths at various locations over the site.

Can a survey be carried out in an ATEX environment?

Yes, surveys can be done in an ATEX environment using specialised, ATEX safe survey equipment.

In certain cases, it is not always possible to access the building or site requiring Wi-Fi such as oil-rigs and petrochemical sites.  In these situations, passive surveys can be conducted from a floor plan of the building or site.

What is detected in a survey?

  • Signal strength
  • Existing coverage
  • Access point coverage (the areas covered by the access points (in dBm)
  • Signal distribution
  • Interference levels
  • Data rate connection
  • Operating modes
  • Channel widths
  • Transmission rates

At the end of each survey, the data is analysed and a comprehensive report is compiled for the customer

Does your Wi-Fi coverage fall short on its requirements?

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