What you should Know Before you Perform a Wireless Site Survey
To set up a wireless network that will provide optimum coverage with minimal connectivity issues and downtime, you need to have some understanding about radio frequency setups. When you carry out a survey of the wireless site, then you can study the areas where you are likely to receive interference and also find out dead zones, so you can avoid problems during setup. You will also have to identify locations where network is likely to face connectivity issues and interference from nearby networks in the same bandwidth. The goal of carrying out a wireless survey is to determine feasibility of setting up a wireless network in that area and ideal locations for setting up equipment like cable and antennas.
Area of wireless network – Get a detailed blueprint of the area the wireless network has to cover, so that you can identify software and hardware, which will be required to make the wireless network work to full capacity. While some software plans can be made on the basis of blueprint itself for making hardware plans, network engineers may have to make a site visit to determine actual layout. Identifying the areas where the WLAN access points can be kept to make the software and hardware work to full capacity.
Location of AP’s – Though wireless LAN can be placed anywhere in the selected location, the AP’s have to be placed in specific areas to avoid overlapping and interference. When network survey is done, you can also know existence of other AP’s around the site and make changes in your network plan. Though some network managers install extra APs to manage wireless coverage, it does not always solve the problem as it can interfere with other APs in the area.
Identify requirements – When you have decided on setting up a wireless network in a particular area, the next task would be to identify primary and secondary requirements in that area. It includes needs like voice and data followed by facility requirements of every floor and industry vertical. Other possible requirement refers to client devices like minimum signal strength indicator and maximum transmit power. You have to determine location of APs after deciding how many are actually required, so you can decide how the cabling has to be done to connect them to all other sections of the network.
Identify channel interference – When the wireless networks face problems, it can be due to variety of issues like channel interference from machines or humans in the area that can absorb wireless signals. Before carrying out the site survey, try to understand the layout of the area surrounding the site to gain information about RF for implementing network with best coverage. It will also help you to estimate total AP’s that will be needed to have uninterrupted coverage and plan the infrastructure.
Before performing a wireless site survey, you have to understand the requirements of your organization and limitations of budget along with future needs, so that a proper network is setup. Simple window based tools can help you plan installations of APs and other wireless devices to set up a flawless network.