Why a WiFi Survey?
A WiFi survey can vary in scope depending on the size of your premises and WiFi network and what you want to achieve.
Typical reasons to have a WiFi survey include:
You have performance problems. Something isn’t working properly.
You are planning on upgrading or installing a new system. Make sure that the design is appropriate.
You expect an increase in the number of wireless devices. Is your system likely to cope with the added demand?
To document and benchmark performance and coverage. This can be useful information and help you to quickly diagnose problems should you have any in the future.
What Does a WiFi Survey Entail?
For a full survey of an entire premises, we take measurements and gather data from around your building and plot them onto a floorplan (a photograph of a fire alarm zone map is often adequate).
We gather data on neighbouring wireless systems, wireless client devices (phones, tablets, laptops etc), detected interference and the possible causes, and a host of other data.
We can then use that information to generate visualisations of key information which can affect wireless performance which can help us to identify the root cause of wireless problems, can help in planning upgrades, or identify actions to take to make your wireless network work better.
If you do not require a full survey and just want us to focus on a particular problem area, or for smaller offices or domestic houses, we can also take measurements, run diagnostic tests, gather data and produce reports without the need to plot on a map and produce visualisations.
So What Are We Looking For?
Signal StrengthThe most basic measurement, is the signal in a particular room or location strong enough to support good performance. The lower the signal, the lower the speed of connection available to client devices and the worse the performance will be.
Co-Channel InterferenceAre there too many networks operating on the same frequency in a particular area? WiFi protocols are designed to play nicely with other networks and devices, but if there are too many networks operating on the same frequencies, the impact of devices trying to not talk over each other can cause the network performance to drop. In a room with 20 people taking turns to talk, everyone has to wait much longer between speaking than if there were only 2 people in the room taking turns.
Adjacent Channel InterferenceThis is similar to co-channel interference, but means that the networks are not on exactly the same frequency, but one that is slightly adjacent, meaning that the WiFi signals overlap. This is worse than co-channel interference as devices are unable to properly coordinate their communications. Imagine that room with 20 people taking turns to speak, now imagine that some of the people don’t know the rules and will speak whenever they feel like and are constantly interrupting everyone else.
AP CoverageEach wireless access point in your network can only support a certain number of client devices with reasonable performance. If you do not have enough access points available for the number of devices in an area, slow performance is likely.
NoiseNoise is created from sources such as atmospheric or weather conditions, electrical appliances, or other WiFi networks which are too far away to hear properly, similar to the buzzing and hissing you can hear when your radio isn’t tuned in to a station. High levels of noise can impact on the performance of your WiFi network and reduce the effective range as the noise will drown out the WiFi signal sooner. By plotting noise levels on a map, it may be possible to identify suspected causes or identify areas which need additional access points to boost the signal to compensate.
Other factorsOther factors such as: non WiFi interference, channel utilisation, number of client devices, management traffic, beacon overheads, retry rates, can all negatively affect performance.
What Will You Receive?
Once we have completed the survey, we will send you the results, together with any recommendations or findings based on the agreed scope. Should you need further assistance in implementing changes to your system, we can help with this too!
How Much Will It Cost?
A WiFi survey of a typical small office location is available from £150 plus VAT to carry out the survey and produce the reports. If you have a larger premises, or want us to run extra diagnostic tests to focus on problem areas, this will add to the cost, but get in touch with your requirements and we will be happy to give you an estimate.