Definitions

site visit

Wireless site survey

A wireless site survey, sometimes called a RF site survey or wireless survey, is the process of planning and designing a wireless network, in particular an 802.11 Wi-Fi wireless network, to provide a wireless solution that will deliver the required wireless coverage, data rates, network capacity, roaming capability and Quality of Service (QoS). The survey usually involves a site visit to run tests to determine the presence of RF interference and identify optimum installation locations for access points. This requires analysis of building floor plans, visual inspection of the facility, and useage of site survey tools. In addition, interviews with IT management and the end users of the wireless network are important to determine the design parameters for the wireless network.

When conducting a wireless site survey, it's very important to identify an effective range boundary, which defines the minimum signal levels needed to support the intended application. This involves determining the minimum SNR needed to support performance requirements.

Independent studies have shown that most of the Wi-Fi wireless networks installed today are not optimally designed or installed, and many do not provide the service that they were intended to. Because of this, stringent wireless site surveys, planning and design exercises are becoming essential, especially to support the new breed of wireless services such as Mobile VoIP and real-time location services.

Wireless site survey can also mean the walk-testing, auditing, analysis or diagnosis of an existing wireless network, particularly one which is not providing the level of service required.

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