In the modern age, there is nothing more frustrating than a shoddy WiFi signal. Some find a lousy WiFi signal an inconvenience. Others are frustrated with their WiFi’s inability to offer the speed they need to work and browse online. For high-impact areas such as hospitals and retail stores, bad WiFi can be a significant liability.
A strong wireless network is essential for operating in today’s modern work and home. Unfortunately, many locations find that their WiFi setup does not offer the strength necessary to operate effectively. Several steps can be taken to ensure that your wireless network will provide the signal strength needed for its specific purpose.
A WiFi site survey is an important step in any wireless network design. It can be used to confirm which areas have the best signal and where additional transmitters might be needed.
This article will explore some of the basic processes for conducting your own site survey, as well as some tips for how to boost WiFi signals.
What is a WiFi Site Survey?
A WiFi site survey is a practice used to determine the best location(s) for wireless access points (AP) and ensure optimal coverage in an area. This allows wireless network designers to know where they should place their equipment and what environment they would be working in prior to starting a project.
A site survey consists of taking measurements throughout a given area, which is where the surveyor(s) will be working. These consist of signal strength readings at various locations throughout a facility or property line. The purpose of this is to determine how well a wireless device can “see” other wireless devices and by proxy how well it can transmit data to them.
There are three main types of site surveys:
Passive: These surveys attempt to determine the current state of a given area’s signal strength. These are the quickest and most straightforward types of surveys to conduct, and they provide beneficial information. Here, the surveyor is not attempting to enhance or change any part of an existing wireless network; instead, they’re trying to map out all available areas with good signals.
Active: These surveys are similar to passive ones, with the major difference being that an active survey is completed when a change in WiFi coverage is needed. Active surveys can give insight into where signal coverage is currently lacking and indicate where existing WiFi signals need improvement.
Predictive: Predictive surveys are typically used for areas that WiFi equipment will soon be installed. Here, the surveyor will use their measurements to determine where wireless signals will be the strongest and most reliable before any building even begins. Using this information, the equipment can be placed effectively.
How to Conduct a WiFi Site Survey
The site survey process is fairly straightforward. First, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got an accurate, detailed floor plan of the area prior to starting a survey.
Once you have the area mapped out, you will want to take note of each space on all exterior walls and ceilings. You should also check any non-walled areas (such as courtyards) and any locations where people will most likely congregate (such as around a reception desk).
To take signal strength metrics, you’ll want to use a wireless survey tool, which will allow you to take both real-time and historical data. With the data, you can map out the surrounding area and see where there is the greatest signal strength.
A site survey will allow you to determine where to place any wireless network equipment, and it will also help you disable existing wireless networks.
By completing a WiFi site survey before beginning your project, you can ensure optimal coverage and function in any area by determining the best location for wireless equipment.
Tips to Boost WiFi Signals
A proper WiFi site survey is only the first step in boosting your WiFi coverage and functionality. Here are some other useful tips to enhance your WiFi signal:
1. Place Your Router in the Best Location:
Before you start positioning your WiFi devices make sure to place your router or wireless access point in a central location. Your router manufacturer will offer recommended placement guidelines. Don’t forget to consider outside factors that may affect its strength before picking a location for your router.
2. Avoid Obstructions
Properly position all the wireless clients and access points to avoid obstructions between them and your WiFi router. If there are too many obstructions, you will need to increase the power of your WiFi router. Just keep in mind that too much power will also cause more interference, especially if you are not using high-powered access points.
3. Pick Your Antenna Wisely
You can increase the range of your WiFi network by using high-gain antennas or directional antennas. For example, you can place a high-gain antenna at one end of the office and point it in the direction where most clients are located.
4. Always Keep Your WiFi Router Updated
You should keep your access point and wireless router updated with the latest firmware. Newer routers usually offer better coverage and speeds.
5. Remove Wireless “Leeches”
A WiFi survey can help you identify wireless leeches – WiFi clients that are not supposed to be on the network. You can then take appropriate measures like blocking these devices from accessing your WiFi.
6. Add Extenders or Repeaters
If your WiFi network doesn’t have good signal strength, you will need to add more access points. Place repeaters or extenders in areas with very low coverage. The extenders will then rebroadcast the signal from the main router for greater coverage.
7. Monitor Your Applications and Clients
It’s not only leeches that harm your WiFi – your own devices and applications can slow it down as well. Make sure to take note of all items that are using your WiFi network. Check your devices and applications from time to time as well to make sure they aren’t using too much of your bandwidth. You will also need to check the number of clients connected to your WiFi router.
Enhance Your WiFi Performance with NetSpot’s WiFi Site Survey Application
If you are ready to increase your site’s WiFi strength, then invest in a tool that will make the process fast and efficient. With NetSpot, you can collect and analyze data, create heatmaps, pinpoint dead zones, and increase your WiFi performance.
The NetSpot WiFi site survey software is designed for use on both Windows and macOS – allowing you to visualize, manage, troubleshoot, audit, plan, and deploy WiFi networks with ease
If you are ready to enhance your Wifi with an industry-leading survey application, check out NetSpot online today.
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