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The Essential Guide to WiFi Surveys

In our modern, interconnected society, WiFi serves as the cornerstone of our communication systems. Whether supporting businesses in their daily operations or enabling individuals to stay connected, a reliable WiFi network is essential. Yet, ensuring top-notch performance goes beyond mere installation of routers and access points. It necessitates a thorough comprehension of the environment, achieved through WiFi surveys.

Understanding WiFi Surveys

WiFi surveys, involve the systematic assessment of WiFi signal strength, coverage areas, and potential sources of interference within a designated space. These surveys provide actionable data that network administrators can leverage to optimise network performance and address connectivity issues effectively.

Some of the key benefits include:

  • Enhanced coverage: By identifying signal dead zones and areas with weak coverage, WiFi surveys enable organisations to strategically place access points for maximum coverage and signal strength.
  • Optimised performance: Through the analysis of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and signal strength measurements, WiFi surveys facilitate the fine-tuning of network settings to minimise interference and maximise data throughput.
  • Improved user experience: By ensuring consistent and reliable connectivity throughout the premises, WiFi surveys contribute to a seamless user experience, fostering productivity and satisfaction among employees, customers, or visitors.
  • Cost savings: Proactively identifying and resolving connectivity issues with WiFi surveys can prevent costly network downtime and minimise the need for unnecessary infrastructure upgrades.
Wifi Survey

How does it work?

There are two main types of WiFi surveys: passive and active. In a passive survey, you’re basically eavesdropping on your WiFi network to see how it’s performing in real-time. Active surveys, on the other hand, involve generating test traffic to simulate how devices would behave on the network.

What does a WiFi survey involve?

Preparing for a WiFi survey involves several crucial steps to ensure that the survey yields accurate and actionable insights, as follows:

Setting objectives:

Before embarking on a WiFi survey, it’s essential to define clear objectives and goals. Determine what specific outcomes you aim to achieve through the survey:

  • Are you looking to improve overall network coverage?
  • Do you want to identify and eliminate dead zones?
  • Are there specific areas where you’ve received complaints about connectivity issues?
Understanding the physical environment:

A thorough understanding of the physical environment is crucial for planning a successful WiFi survey. Take note of the layout and structure of the space, including the presence of walls, partitions, and obstacles that may affect signal propagation. Consider factors such as building materials (e.g., concrete, glass, metal) that can attenuate WiFi signals and impact coverage. Additionally, assess the size of the area to be surveyed and whether it includes indoor, outdoor, or multi-level spaces, as this will influence survey logistics and equipment requirements.

Identifying potential sources of interference:

Identifying potential sources of interference is key to optimising WiFi performance. Common sources of interference include electronic devices (e.g., microwaves, cordless phones), neighbouring WiFi networks operating on the same or overlapping channels, and non-WiFi devices such as Bluetooth devices and wireless security cameras. Conducting a preliminary assessment of potential interference sources allows you to anticipate challenges and implement mitigation strategies during the survey.

Selecting appropriate survey tools and software:

Depending on the scope and complexity of the survey, you may opt for basic survey tools such as WiFi-enabled mobile devices equipped with survey apps or more advanced solutions that include dedicated surveying hardware and software platforms. Consider factors such as survey accuracy, real-time data visualisation capabilities, and compatibility with your existing network infrastructure.

Final word

A WiFi survey from DW-WiFi offers a strategic roadmap to bolstering connectivity. These surveys provide invaluable insights into the performance of your network, allowing you to discern its strengths and weaknesses with precision. Armed with this understanding, you can make well-informed decisions to fine-tune your WiFi infrastructure. Whether you need to eradicate dead zones, mitigate signal interference, or expand coverage, a WiFi survey equips you with the knowledge needed to optimise network performance effectively.

Author :David Woodall

David is the Owner and Director of DW Wi-Fi, specialist in successful Wi-Fi deployments into a range of environments. Working alongside software providers to help deploy Wi-Fi into their end user customer sites. Extensive years of experience with a range of Wi-Fi systems.

DW WiFi is proud to announce it is now a partner of Cambium Networks leading global provider of multi-gigabit Wi-Fi.