Placing the Access Points When Completing a Wireless Site Survey:
- Before you actually conduct the survey you need to set a specific cutoff point in terms of kbps. You should also take into consideration the type of data that needs to be transmitted to and from access points and user devices.
- When doing a wireless site survey, the layout and environment of the site needs to be carefully considered. If the site hoards a lot of materials/products that absorb signals, you may have to increase the number of access points you install so that wireless performance isn’t hindered. Tall racks that are located in the path of the signal may also cause network issues. This is why you need to perform a walk-test or a physical site survey.
- Access points can handle a specific amount of load. Although multiple users may be connected to a single access point, the AP will not be able to handle it if the bandwidth demands are high. So if the bandwidth requirement by users is high, you will have to figure out how many access points you will have to install in a single zone.
- A wireless site survey also allows you to determine whether the wireless network is required for an indoor or outdoor location. If the network needs to be installed outdoors, you will have to take added precautions and place your equipment/hardware in a weatherproof enclosure.
- Also, find out if there is any interference from other networks that are set up in the neighbourhood.
It’s important that you set up a temporary access point on your first site survey and test throughput between the AP and the user device. There are a few other steps you need to follow when you finally decide to complete a wireless site survey.
Steps to Complete an RF Site Survey:
- The first thing you ought to do is to get hold of the blueprints of the site you will be surveying. The blueprints should tell you more about the overall construction of the premise. You will be able to determine the presence of concrete walls and other obstacles like floors and elevators that may block the signal. Take some time to think about where the end users will be located and where you may have to install your access points. When doing a wireless site survey it may be helpful to take the assistance of the manager of the premise or an IT specialist, as such a person would be able to tell you more about the location of end users, bandwidth requirements, and the coverage that’s required.
- You will have to now find the best point on the site to test your temporary network. Once you determine this location install the first access point. One thing you should remember is that you need to install your access point in such a location that it’s within good distance from concrete walls/metal racks. The ideal location is one that’s closer to the ceiling.
- Now test the data transfer rate by using the access point to transfer data between the network and the user device. Once you get throughput readings you will be able to determine how the network will function when it’s permanently set up.
- Once you begin to walk away from the access point you will notice that throughput rates start decreasing. When you reach the point where the throughput rate meets your specific cutoff point in kbps, use that location as your cutoff location. This will help you determine the perimeter within which the wireless network should work effectively.
- In order to complete the wireless site survey you will have to repeat steps 2-4 in neighbouring areas/zones at the site.
- Make sure you use software’s to help you complete the RF survey. Some software’s are simple Windows based applications that can be installed on your laptop. These software’s can help you determine the strength of the wireless network on the site you’re surveying. You could also download and install a few open source software’s to get the job done. If not you will have to use software’s like Visiwave or TamoGraph which come at a price.