In order to deploy a successful WLAN connection, a site survey must be performed to understand the characteristics of the environment in which you wish to deploy your network.
This blog post will provide you with a list of guidelines to follow to steadily perform a Wi-Fi site survey that will meet the demands of a modern WLAN.
This site survey should be done taking into account your performance goals and the access point’s coverage and capacity.
First and foremost, identify the requirements for coverage and capacity.
- How much area must the WLAN cover?
- Will this network be used for video or data?
- Optimize for lower cost (2.4) or higher capacity (5Ghz) WLAN?
- Total number of concurrent users (Wi-Fi devices that are simultaneously online)?
- Approximately how many applications run on each type of device?
Second, take a predictive survey of your chosen brand and model of AP
- Determine optimal number and location of APs
- Verify coverage and minimal signal strength in all required areas
- Anticipate difficult zones within your environment
- Consider type of building (materials used in walls and floors)
- Gather knowledge about existing WLANs and used channels
Third, take a pre-deployment survey on-site, “AP on a stick”
- Using one or more test APs, record signal measurements at various test placements
- The resulting map, or ‘heat map’, can help determine any potential sources of interference for your network
- Assess the signal propagation and performance based on intended AP locations
Fourth, take a post-deployment survey on-site (always perform this step!)
- Once the Network has been installed, coverage and signal are verified using PC-based software tools (like with the pre-deployment survey)
- Scan the channels the network is using and identify any potential source of interference
- This fourth step can also be done when planning a WLAN upgrade.
Fifth, remove interference and perform troubleshoots
- Eliminate/avoid Wi-Fi interference sources (electronics, such as microwave ovens and other WLANs)
- Minimize the total number of SSIDs for more WLAN efficiency
- Perform quick period site surveys
- Monitor the network and its users
- Use troubleshooting tools (Wi-Fi infrastructure tools (NCS, Airwave, etc) Spectrum Analyzer (Ekahau, Metageek), etc.). Check the WiFi stumblers complete list (Android, Windows, Linux, MAC, iOS)
- Update to newer tech or upgrade software, when necessary.
Always make sure to document non-wireless requisites, exact locations, activation methods, and potential sources of interference.