Is your business’s current wireless network not cutting it? If you’ve experienced poor connectivity and spotty Wi-Fi coverage, then it might be time to upgrade your wireless network entirely. And the first step to any wireless network upgrade is to have a wireless survey performed at your business. This survey is a crucial step in measuring your network’s current performance.
If you’re considering a total overhaul of your network, or if you’ve already scheduled your wireless survey, there are a few steps you can take to ensure that the survey itself runs as smoothly as possible.
What Is a Wireless Survey?
A wireless site survey is a comprehensive measurement of your business’s existing wireless local area network (WLAN). The survey measures the traffic, interference, signal strength and other important metrics. It’s also the first step in deploying a new wireless network, giving you a clear picture of how your current network is performing.
Knowing these metrics is important, as it indicates how your current network is supporting your technological needs and where there’s room for improvement. Your IT network should be a reliable pillar that enables your business’s success. If you use many different tools like video conferencing or VoIP software, then your network should be able to support the use of those pieces of software. It should also be robust enough to support your potential growth, should you hire more employees that will access the network on a daily basis.
If you have poor connectivity, spotty Wi-Fi coverage or low bandwidth, it’s a key sign that your network needs an upgrade as it can’t properly support your daily needs. These metrics and results from the survey will directly point to the issues your current network is having, so the new network can offer optimal performance after deployment.
A wireless survey is usually performed by an expert from an IT services company with the assistance of specialized diagnostic software. The technician will survey your business’s premises and work areas, collecting important data about your existing network. The surveyor can then analyze the data to determine how your current network is performing, its weak points and provide context on how to improve performance with a new wireless network. In essence, a wireless survey is a snapshot of how your current network performs so your new network provides you with the connectivity and coverage you need.
What to Do Before a Site Survey
Before the actual day of the survey, there are a few things you can do as a business owner to prepare. Taking these steps will ensure that the survey goes smoothly with minimal interruptions.
Inform Your Staff of the Survey
The first thing you should do is communicate to your staff and employees that the survey will be taking place. There’s always a possibility that the survey could interrupt daily operations, so clear communication will help minimize that impact.
If possible, you can schedule the survey to take place on a weekend to be absolutely sure there are no interruptions in your day. Alternatively, you can have your staff work remotely for the day. Either option can ensure the technician can perform the actual survey without your productivity suffering.
Clear Cabling Access Points
Depending on the survey, the technician may need access to your business’s network cabling. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure those access points are easy to find. Moving any furniture or other obstacles out of the way is very helpful in this case, especially if your access point happens to be somewhere like a closet. If your business spans multiple buildings, knowing where each access point is located each building is also important.
Review the SLA of the Survey
A service-level agreement (SLA) maps out the scope of the survey. It can detail what areas will be included in the survey itself. Sometimes, less-used or accessed areas like stairwells and elevators are excluded from a survey’s SLA. If you’ve reviewed your SLA and found that some areas have been excluded from the wireless survey that you’d prefer were included, then you’ll need to discuss that with the IT services company performing the survey.
The Importance of Preparing Before a Survey
Preparing ahead of the survey can help speed up the process on the day it actually happens. It can also make sure there are minimal interruptions to you and your staff’s workflow. The surveyor may need to set up diagnostic equipment around the office or temporary wireless access points. Making sure this equipment is undisturbed during the testing and survey itself is absolutely critical to ensure the collected data is accurate.
Once the survey is completed, the technician may share the results with you and walk you through the basics of their findings. The survey is meant to measure your current network’s performance in regards to coverage, traffic, connectivity and other important data points. These results and measurements can then be used to design a new network infrastructure that performs at higher levels than your current network.
Trust the Experts for Wireless Surveys
At Data Line, our team of experts will work with you to perform a comprehensive wireless survey that captures all the most critical data that you need to know. From there, we’ll design a new network layout that provides the support and performance you need for everyday business operations and for future growth.
If you’ve outgrown your current network, or if it just isn’t giving you the technical support you need, we can help! Request a quote today and we’ll discuss your needs. Or, if you’re still considering a new network, take a look at our complete guide to wireless site surveys for a more in-depth look at the process.