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Wireless Site Surveys: Only Half the Story

Velaspan Sales Support Specialist Kyle Bond unpacks the most overused phrase in wireless.

New and prospective Velaspan customers often approach us with requests for a wireless site survey. 

There’s just one problem: Wireless site surveys aren’t always what they actually need. 

“Wireless site survey is by far the most overused and misunderstood phrases in wireless networking,” Kyle Bond, Velaspan Sales Support Specialist, says. “The good news is that my colleagues and I know this, and get ahead of it.”

Kyle and team kick off with questions that reveal whether a wireless site survey is truly a fit, or if the situation calls for different processes.

Understanding the Need, Velaspan-Style

It starts with questions to determine whether customers are seeking a new wireless network, or improvements to (or troubleshooting of) an existing wireless network.  

“Understanding environmental RF propagation in an important element of any wireless design, whether predictive modeling is sufficient, or preferably, where a combination of predictive modeling and onsite coverage testing is performed to inform recommended access point locations,” Kyle explains.

Wireless site surveys are conducted in forthcoming RF environments – a new construction, an existing space where no network currently exists, or where an existing wireless network is being replaced or refreshed. They inform the eventual placement of access points and are equally integral to producing heat maps that help to visualize a future installation. The process of conducting a wireless site survey for a new design is sometimes referred to as an AP on a stick, or APoS survey: Engineers bring access points onsite and test mounting locations, collecting live radiofrequency (RF) data as they go. The key here is that the wireless site survey is a design effort that isn’t focused on evaluating the existing environment.

Meanwhile, if questions from Kyle and team determine that an existing wireless network requires troubleshooting or optimization, a WLAN coverage assessment is usually what’s in the cards.

“Coverage assessments collect RF data from all access points in an existing wireless network deployment. The effort is intended to evaluate the design, coverage, and performance of the network,” Kyle says. “Ideally, coverage assessments are performed in conjunction with a configuration review – a detailed assessment of the network configuration – to provide a complete picture of the WiFi environment to better inform any improvement recommendations.”


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