mar 27 - 2024

What is a Wireless Site Survey and Should You Invest in One?

Explore how a wireless site survey can help assess your wireless network coverage and ensure high performance

The Internet is essential for every business. But for some organizations, a wireless network is the lifeblood of their business. If slow or bad network coverage would cause a loss of revenue or cause frustrations in your business then you might want to consider a wireless site survey.  

A wireless site survey is a great way to assess your wireless network coverage and performance. It can be used early on in the installation process of your wireless network for planning, it can be used to identify network coverage issues, and much more.

Does your facility have gaps in Wi-Fi coverage? Are you moving into a new facility and looking to ensure consistent network coverage throughout? Is there a concern that operations will be negatively affected due to your wireless network? Then hiring a professional company for a wireless site survey might be right for you. 

In this blog, we discuss what a wireless site survey is and provide insights to help you understand if it’s right for you. 


What is a wireless site survey?

A wireless site survey is a process used to assess and analyze the wireless network coverage and performance within a specific area or location. It involves the evaluation of various factors that can affect wireless connectivity, such as signal strength, interference, and obstacles.

Wireless site surveys are essential for ensuring reliable and high-performance wireless connectivity in environments such as office buildings, warehouses, campuses, or outdoor spaces. It helps organizations properly plan or fix issues in their wireless networks to ensure they are meeting the demands of their connectivity requirements.

In short, a wireless site survey will help you identify if your wifi coverage is adequate in all the areas you need. And if it’s not, the site survey will help you understand why.


When should a site survey be considered?

As you read this blog, you may be building a new structure and are considering a survey to ensure wifi is implemented properly for efficient operations once your team moves in. Or, like many organizations, you’ve found dead zones in your wifi coverage and it is affecting day-to-day operations. Both situations would be an ideal time for a wireless site survey. 

In fact, there are different types of wireless surveys that are appropriate for different times and situations. 

Pre-deployment Surveys

If you are moving into a new building or finishing the construction of a new structure, then you may want to consider a pre-deployment survey. Before installing a wireless network, a pre-deployment survey helps in planning the optimal placement of access points for the best WIFI coverage and performance. This includes identifying the number of APs needed, their ideal locations, and potential sources of interference.


Post-deployment Surveys

After the wireless network is installed, it’s important to ensure that the network meets the desired performance standards. This is where your post-deployment survey comes in. It helps identify areas with weak signals or dead zones and will allow the fine-tuning of the network configuration accordingly. Most companies will perform this as part of their network installation process.


Validation Surveys

During everyday business, you may find that areas of your WIFI are not as strong. For these situations, periodic validation surveys can be conducted to discover why. These surveys involve assessing factors like signal strength, coverage overlap between access points, and potential changes in the RF environment. The result should help to discover the issues causing dead zones, slow speeds, or weak signals and help provide a solution.  

There is never a bad time to have a wireless site survey done. If you’re concerned about your network strength and how it will perform when you need it most, then contact a local network cabling company or IT company that can perform a wireless site survey.


Is a wireless survey the right choice for your business?

After reading this information, you may be thinking it sounds good, but is it necessary for your business to have a wireless site survey performed? You want a consistent strong signal but is it worth the investment? 

For many large campuses or operations that rely heavily on their WIFI for everyday business operations, this is usually an easy decision. But medium-sized and small businesses sometimes don’t know if this is the right choice. So, we wanted to highlight some considerations to help understand if it is right for you.


The size and complexity of the environment

For small offices or retail spaces with relatively simple layouts, a basic understanding of wireless networking principles might suffice for setting up a functional Wi-Fi network. These smaller organizations could consider contacting their internet provider to upgrade speeds or consider setting up a Wi-Fi extender or additional access point. If those strategies do not work, or it is a larger environment or more complex environment (i.e. multiple buildings or includes indoor and outdoor spaces) then a site survey should be considered.


Are there mission-critical applications?

Would spotty Wi-Fi coverage cause a major issue in your organization? Does your organization rely on consistent high-performance network connectivity to perform daily operations? Would drops in Wi-Fi cause losses in profitability? For organizations in healthcare, government, security, or others that require a strong consistent signal then a site survey is non-negotiable.


Cost vs Productivity (and Frustration)

While conducting a wireless site survey involves an initial investment of time and resources, it can ultimately save you money in the long run by preventing costly rework or downtime due to poor wireless performance. Additionally, a well-designed wireless network can improve employee productivity and customer satisfaction, leading to tangible business benefits. As an organization, you will have to sit down and weigh what’s most important. 


The decision to conduct a wireless site survey ultimately depends on your business's specific needs and circumstances, for many, it's clear that the benefits outweigh the costs. Whether you're planning to install a new wireless network or update an existing one, a professional wireless site survey will be an invaluable tool for ensuring reliability and consistency in your wireless network. 

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