Wireless Site Surveys and Wi-Fi Network Estimates For Organizations Across Calgary
At Pure IT in Calgary, we understand the importance of an effective wireless network for your organization, regardless of size. We highly recommend conducting a Wireless Site Survey before implementing any wireless network infrastructure. This is especially crucial for larger network deployments where a survey is essential.
Even for smaller deployments, we advise having a site survey, although we understand the cost can sometimes be a limiting factor. When setting up your wireless network, we aim to achieve the best possible coverage and performance using minimal equipment. This approach reduces the cost and the time required and maximizes the efficiency of your manpower and resources.
To optimize your wireless coverage and performance, it’s necessary to understand the Radio Frequency (RF) behaviour in your specific environment. A Wireless Site Survey can provide this insight by identifying areas of signal interference, weak signals, and dead zones. It prevents interference from existing radio sources and physical structures such as columns, beams, walls, and even metal objects.
It’s important to remember that everything in your environment, including furniture and people, can affect the radio signal profile of your site. The primary purpose of the Wireless Site Survey is to assess the feasibility of installing a wireless network that fulfills your requirements and determine the best way to deploy it within your site’s constraints. Trust Pure IT in Calgary to guide you through this process and ensure your wireless network is optimized for your organization’s needs.
The Necessity of A Wireless Site Survey and Wireless Estimate For Your Calgary Organization
WiFi access points (APs) are sometimes installed randomly when establishing a wireless network, but is this ad-hoc method the best approach? For small-scale deployments, this strategy may not cause significant issues. However, for medium to large-scale networks, we at Pure IT in Calgary highly recommend and often necessitate conducting a Wireless Site Survey.
A Wireless Site Survey provides crucial information about where to optimally place your WiFi APs to minimize interference and avoid redundant coverage from multiple APs. Unfortunately, many network managers still resort to arbitrary AP placement, adding extra APs only when more coverage is needed or when there are complaints about poor WiFi access. In such an ad-hoc setup, the network manager remains unaware of potential interference issues and how the site’s radio signal profile may evolve.
Getting a Wireless Site Survey can illuminate these concerns. It identifies the presence and extent of co-channel interferences. In these pinpoints, external radio interferences may pose problems and guides on minimizing the number of necessary WiFi APs by strategically placing them for optimal coverage.
It’s crucial to understand that a Wireless Site Survey provides a snapshot of the site’s radio signal profile at a specific point in time. As your site evolves with the addition of more people, cubicles, furniture, and electronic equipment, the radio signal profile may change, potentially necessitating a new survey. Trust Pure IT in Calgary to keep your network in tune with your dynamic environment.
What the Survey Seeks to Accomplish
A successful site survey in Calgary will meet the following objectives:
- Determination of the Placement of Access Points – Finding the perfect areas to place access points is one of the ultimate goals of any site survey. In addition to determining where the access points should be placed, determining how many access points belong in a particular area is a by-product of the site survey.
- Help Reach “Adequate Coverage Levels” Throughout – It is necessary to reach adequate coverage levels throughout the facility as needed. This is to say that the site survey will help make it possible to determine precisely what needs to be done to allow for the proper reach and coverage of the Wi-Fi network throughout a designated area. Knowing the bare minimum coverage requirements is a great way to start knowing what else you need to add to make the coverage even stronger.
- Provides Real Numbers for the Budget – The site survey will allow the business owner to fill in the blanks when determining the real numbers they need to plug into their budget. They can make educated guesses at how much their Wi-Fi coverage may cost them, but they can have actual numbers plugged in when a site survey is performed.
These are three significant upsides to having a professional site survey done before making any changes to the status of one’s wireless connections.
Assess Existing Equipment’s Functionality
Companies with existing wired infrastructure may need to have that equipment assessed occasionally. Not only do they want to learn how said infrastructure is functioning right now, but they may need to review it to see how it could potentially interfere with the wireless setup they are interested in creating.
Another benefit to reviewing the existing equipment is that it may prove helpful in eliminating certain areas from consideration for wireless coverage. This is to say that areas within the building will likely not require wireless coverage. Employees may not use wireless hookups in those areas at all, which would make it ideal to eliminate them from considering wireless functionality. After all, saving money on things like this is a sign of a well-run business.
Perfect Functionality for All Design Types
No matter the specific design of particular types of business structure, it is possible to get the proper wireless setup when one pays for a wireless site survey to verify the accessibility of various wireless services in a given location. Significant differences exist in the needs of hospitals, municipalities, airports, universities, and more. However, they can all be better served by getting a wireless site survey to see where the various equipment needs to be placed to provide optimal functionality.
Troubleshooting Various Issues
The best companies in the industry will not only help others set up their wireless infrastructure needs, but they will also go the extra mile and ensure that any issues that could arise from installing this equipment is properly handled. Troubleshooting can take many forms and may include:
- Protocol Testing – This is a method of testing the structure of packets sent via the network. Those packets need to have very specific information within them, and the only way to verify that this is truly happening is to have experts come in and do some of the required troubleshooting to check up on factors like this.
- System Configuration Review – Checking on the technical abilities of a particular networked system to meet the demands put on it from a security point of view and checking it against the standards expected of any piece of wireless equipment.
- Signal Coverage Testing – One may take this action to test the strength of the radio frequencies that their wireless equipment is emitting. If those signals are not strong enough, adjustments may be necessary to improve the strength and reach of the produced wireless signals.
These are just a few examples of troubleshooting work that can be performed. Some other tests and services may be offered in addition to these.
Wireless Technologies Addressed In A Wireless Site Survey
WiFi standards are commonly used today, including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, and 802.11ac. The most frequently supported standards are 802.11b and 802.11g, which operate on the 2.4GHz band. The primary difference between these two is their performance – 802.11b supports up to 11Mbps, while 802.11g can support up to 54Mbps.
The 802.11n standard is notable as it operates on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, with enhanced performance of up to 600Mbps. The latest standard, 802.11ac, uses the 5GHz band and boasts an impressive increase in performance, supporting speeds of up to 7Gbps.
It’s essential to be aware that not all devices, especially many new, low-cost personal computers (PCs) and tablets, support the 802.11n or 802.11ac standards. Many organizations must accommodate various WiFi devices, supporting multiple generations of WiFi standards, ranging from 802.11a to 802.11ac and beyond.
Therefore, a Wireless Site Survey must cover all the WiFi standards within the premises. It’s important not to assume that a site survey done for one standard will be valid for another. Trust Pure IT in Calgary to understand your unique network needs and tailor our services accordingly.
Type Of Site Surveys
What are the various kinds of Wireless Site Surveys employed for site evaluations?
There are three fundamental types: passive, active, and predictive.
A passive site survey employs a tool that listens to the signals from existing access points (APs) and other sources. It doesn’t need to connect to the AP; instead, it passively listens to paint a picture of the site’s Radio Frequency (RF) characteristics, such as signal strength, interference, and AP coverage. Passive surveys are typically conducted when updating an existing wireless network, like adding extra APs.
On the other hand, an active site survey involves the survey WiFi adapter being connected to the AP(s). This allows for collecting more detailed data, such as network traffic, throughput, packet loss, and data rates. This type of survey is often executed alongside a passive site survey at the outset of a new wireless network deployment.
The third type, a predictive site survey, doesn’t involve any field measurements. Instead, it uses RF planning software tools to estimate the wireless coverage provided by the APs. A floor-plan drawing (AutoCAD, JPEG, PDF) is essential for this survey. Predictive site surveys are particularly useful when the site or building isn’t yet constructed and are beneficial for budgeting.
Reach Out To Our Wireless Networking Team Today
Any company that needs to create, alter, expand, or repair its wireless network should contact us at Pure IT today. We serve the Calgary, Okotoks, Airdrie, Red Deer, and Southern Alberta areas, and we are happy to discuss your options and answer any questions you may have. If you want the best possible service and the most complete wireless site survey you can receive, don’t hesitate to contact us for additional information.