How to Optimize Your Network’s Performance With a Wireless Site Survey

Michael Anderson
written by Michael Anderson posted on August 24, 2022

Optimize Your Network’s Performance With A Wireless Network Site Survey

If you’re looking to implement or expand a wireless network, large or small, you need a wireless site survey. And even if you’re not looking to expand your network but are looking to improve its efficiency and security, wireless site surveys are essential. They help businesses enjoy optimal wireless coverage while using the minimum amount of equipment necessary.

Why Networks Suffer From Poor Performance

It’s common for businesses of all sizes to suffer from suboptimal wireless network performance. Many small businesses don’t have the in-house IT expertise, resources, or time to manage their IT systems properly. This is also true of some midsized businesses and even large corporations that have not invested in the right IT talent or resources. And even with the right talent and resources, some business leaders have not prioritized network management.

When you examine these businesses, you’ll find networks with:

  • Inadequate access point (AP) capacity
  • Insufficient AP coverage
  • Misconfiguration
  • Rogue APs
  • Signal interference from equipment or physical structures
  • Suboptimal channel selection

However, all of these issues can be addressed with appropriate planning – and in some cases, with minimal additional cost. But to address them properly requires you to have a wireless site survey performed. If you’re planning to make significant changes to your network infrastructure in the near term, you may need more than one type of survey performed. But even if you’re simply looking to minimize downtime and improve performance, you’ll likely need to incorporate wireless site surveys in your standing maintenance operations.

Wireless Network Site Survey

Why Businesses Need Optimal WiFi Networks

Today’s business must contend with ever-increasing bandwidth and consumption needs. In retail locations, consumers expect reliable, high-speed WiFi to browse websites and comparison-shop in stores or watch a quick video while standing in line. Warehouses and industrial facilities use wireless technologies to manage automation, inventory, and other production and distribution-related functions. And businesses must provide remote workers with reliable and secure high-speed Internet across wide geographic distances. For most businesses, the days of a network configuration for a single 20 or 30 cubicle office are long gone. Network design, planning, and management have perhaps never been more complex, nor have the loads on corporate networks been so immense.

When a business suffers downtime, it loses revenue. Operations slow or stop, as do inventory and fulfillment. Consumers lose trust and take their dollars elsewhere. No customer wants to deal with a company whose online store never works. No matter how unique or exceptional a business’s product or service is, competition is always waiting in the wings.

Optimal network security is also dependent on optimal network performance. Generalist IT managers may easily mistake attempted network penetration for network coverage issues if they don’t have a complete picture of their network. This is where wireless site surveys come in.

How Wireless Site Surveys Can Help You Optimize Your Network

A wireless survey helps you determine the RF behavior of your network across your deployment site, specifically where your wireless signal suffers interference or weakness, as well as where dead zones exist. You’ll be able to easily identify areas where other radio signals or physical objects impede your wireless speed and design a network that circumvents those barriers.

Without a clear understanding of the physical and technical constraints that can impede WiFi speed and strength, network managers often place APs at random locations. When WiFi access is weak or degrades, more APs are often deployed at additional cost. But often, repositioning APs more strategically would do the trick. And to do so, network managers need a proper wireless survey performed.

Without a wireless site survey, it’s easy to underestimate the number of APs you need to operate efficiently. Additionally, when businesses reorganize their physical layouts, such as by adding cubicles, workspaces, and walls, they can determine the best way to rearrange their APs to ensure efficient coverage.

A survey’s insights can help facilities managers determine optimal configurations and materials to use and avoid office equipment. Remember, even a new piece of furniture can affect your coverage in a specific location. A clear picture of your performance can help ensure your physical space is optimized for peak network efficiency.

Sometimes, signal degradation stems from faulty or low-quality equipment rather than interference. Surveys can also help you identify when your APs are the issue, rather than physical obstructions. Suppose you’re using a combination of legacy and newer equipment. In that case, it can help you determine what is working and what isn’t before you decide to replace all of your infrastructure or a substantial portion of it at once.

What Types of Wireless Site Surveys Can Be Performed?

IT staff and qualified MSPs conduct wireless site surveys into three categories: active, passive, and predictive. Typically, you’ll perform an active survey to gather detailed information, including:

  • Data rates, both upstream and downstream
  • Network traffic
  • Retransmission rate
  • Round-trip time
  • Signal coverage
  • Signal strength
  • Throughput packet loss

An active site survey typically takes place during business hours to reflect a business’s average usage. These surveys are ideal when analyzing performance issues. They’re also good to conduct in tandem with passive site surveys when deploying or expanding a network.

Passive site surveys provide signal performance data across locations. They combine a physical survey of the building with an analysis of the network data throughout it. These surveys can provide helpful snapshots of each AP’s signal strength and help network managers identify performance issues over time. It’s good practice to periodically perform passive site surveys on actively used networks to monitor their health.

To optimize signal strength, network managers can use predictive site surveys to determine the most strategic points to place APs. These surveys use software that automatically positions or allows network managers to manually place APs within a virtual blueprint to develop network models before deployment. When network managers forgo these predictive surveys, they’re left to guess where to place their APs, which usually yields suboptimal results. Predictive surveys are especially useful in dynamic workspaces with frequent reconfiguration or networks with heavy consumption requirements.

How Your Winnipeg-Based Business Can Perform a Wireless State Survey

Many firms don’t have the in-house expertise or time to perform a wireless site survey. And not every MSP has the expertise to do so either. But if you need an experienced and reputable MSP with experience performing active, passive, and predictive wireless site surveys, 365 Technologies is your best option.

Not only do we perform wireless site surveys that help you pinpoint performance issues, but we also have the expertise to help you with all aspects of your network deployment. Whether deploying, expanding, reconfiguring, or securing your network, we’ll use your survey results to plan, purchase, install, monitor, and service the network you need.

We aim for you to enjoy Worry-Free IT™ and a network free of sluggishness, downtime, crashes, and breaches. We use wireless site survey networks and other tools to achieve this. Contact us today, and let’s discuss how we can ensure your network operates at peak efficiency and with maximum security.

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