Checklist Before Scheduling a Professional Wireless Site Survey
No matter what industry you work in, you probably have a wireless communications network at your office. If you often suffer from weak wireless signals, communication can be slowed or halted completely. Weak signals are often caused by having several partitions or using radio-emitting devices that create interference. Regardless of the reason, slowed or halted communication obviously puts a damper on productivity.
Why Schedule a Wireless Site Survey?
If you want your Mid-South company to stop wasting time and effort, you must install an optimal wireless network. The key to making this happen is to schedule a professional wireless site survey.
Odds are you know how to install a router or two, but if your office requires more complex communications than this, a wireless site survey is definitely worthwhile. This is the first step toward maximizing the performance of your wireless communications network.
Checklist to Prepare for a Wireless Site Survey
The size of your network determines the complexity of the site survey. Still, regardless of the scale of your installation, you should follow this checklist to prepare for a wireless site survey:
- Designate one member of your staff to act as the main point of contact for State Systems This staff member should have technical knowledge and understand the required network coverage areas. This person must be present during the survey. If availability is an issue, you can nominate other members of your staff to fill in.
- Spell out any special access requirements the survey team needs, including security clearances, protective clothing, etc., as well as whether you can provide these access requirements.
- Select what type of access points you want, including lightweight or autonomous access points in 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band. If you’re not sure, our team is happy to advise you.
- Let State Systems know what type of wireless devices are used on your network, including laptops, tablets, Smartphones, handheld devices, Wi-Fi or mobile printers, security cameras, VoIP phones, or vehicle-mounted devices.
- Assess your Ethernet cabling situation. Ethernet and power cabling are required to connect each access point to the rest of the network. Should you need to add additional wiring to accommodate your wireless network needs, decide whether you would prefer to have Ethernet cable installed by an in-house resource or a cabling contractor.
- Mark up a floor plan: Get your hands on your building’s floor plans (in PDF, JPG or AutoCAD format) and mark any existing access points you already have installed. If you know the band, SSID and/or radio channel, indicate them on the floor plan. Also highlight where network users are located – being sure to take any proposed changes to the building’s layout into account – to help the technicians determine coverage area. If you can’t access building floor plans, the site survey will take longer because the technicians will need to produce them manually.
- Be prepared to answer additional questions: Unique circumstances – such as separate buildings, cold storage areas or outdoor areas needing wireless coverage – may require you to provide additional information.
What a Wireless Site Survey Entails
The ultimate goal of a site survey is to both maximize wireless signal strength and decrease interference. To accomplish these goals, State Systems technicians complete the following steps:
- Look over the floor plans: The technician will assess the marks you made on the floor plans and make additional marks identifying major obstacles that could block radio signals, including walls, floors, halls and elevator shafts.
- Record data: The technician records the locations of existing access points, signal strength and noise levels on a laptop-based wireless site survey application. He walks to each proposed coverage area and captures information on his laptop essential to increasing the scope and functionality of your wireless network.
- Determine potential new access point locations: For the best signal strength, access points shouldn’t be located near metal or concrete walls, and they should be positioned as close to the ceiling as possible.
- Install/relocate access points as needed: In general, one access point provides wireless coverage up to 100 feet in all directions. It may be necessary for the technician to relocate some or all of your existing access points to optimize their locations.
- Run the survey tool: This test ensures optimal wireless network functionality. Depending on the results of the survey, the technician may need to relocate some access points and run the survey tool again. Once everything looks good, the technician records the access point locations, signal strengths and data rates for future reference.
A wireless site survey can make a huge difference in your company’s ability to communicate quickly and effectively. If you experience weak signal strength again in the future, you know it’s time to schedule another survey. To learn more, or to schedule services, please contact State Systems, Inc.
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