At CentricsIT, we manage large-scale wireless deployments for companies all over the world. Here’s a snapshot of the different methods we deploy when conducting a wireless survey prior to architecting a network design. The method we use for each customer depends on their unique needs and challenges.
“Access Point on a Stick”
This has been the tried-and-true way of measuring the signal strength onsite and potential placement of access points in each location. We generally agree with this approach, but instead of starting with the AP on a stick, our team prefers to gather floor plans and building layouts to get a general idea of the environment. We then create a predictive survey based on the information gathered and produce AP placement guidelines. These will provide some basic ideas of where the APs should be placed.
This can be done as a sight-unseen approach. With gathered information from the client, a detailed picture of the space can be mimicked inside of the chosen vendor’s planning tools, and a fairly accurate placement map can be generated. But, as mentioned above, we typically create a predictive survey, then go onsite with the AP on a stick to do validation testing. We then do a comparison of what we expected to see from the predictive vs. what we actually gathered from the onsite survey. At this point, tweaks can be made to AP counts and placements.
This is one of the more common types of surveys performed. This is where you simply want to see the RF footprint of any and all devices that are broadcasting available signals in your space—doesn’t matter if it’s a tenant above or below, or the pizza shop across the street. You will see these devices, and the reports can help you visualize what could and currently is being affected by the surrounding environment.
This type of survey is conducted to get a complete coverage picture of your existing environment. The technician will attach to one of your corporate-owned SSIDs and proceed with the site survey to create a path document with information regarding not only signal strength, but channel interference, signal-to-noise, visible number of access points carrying your SSID, hand off delay between access points, channel utilization, speed, coverage area holes, and a basic overall health of your wireless environment.
Contact the team at CentricsIT today if you’re looking for a partner to manage your next large-scale wireless deployment.