Let’s say you’re tasked with designing a WiFi network for a small office building. How would you approach this task to deliver on the promise of fast, stable WiFi?
You could, of course, install a WiFi access point, measure its coverage and capacity and use the gathered information to install additional access points if needed or move the original access point to a different location. Depending on your access to WiFi equipment and the building itself, this could greatly prolong the time it takes you to complete the installation of the WiFi network. A predictive site survey can significantly lower the installation effort by using facility blueprints and other available information to determine the ideal placement of wireless access points with the help of predictive site survey software.
Predictive site surveys don’t require physical access to the surveyed area. This can be a huge advantage in situations where access to the surveyed area is limited. For example, some businesses can’t afford any disruption to their operation because they have tight deadlines to meet and ambitious financial targets to hit.
Because predictive site surveys can be performed anywhere and at any time, they are usually much quicker than physical site surveys, and also far less expensive since time is money.
Modern WiFi predictive survey tools are surprisingly accurate, with their margin for error rarely exceeding 10 percent. That said, even the best WiFi predictive survey tool is only as accurate as the data it works with. Working with a blueprint that doesn’t accurately represent the present state of the surveyed area is guaranteed to lead to very bad results.
Perhaps the biggest downside of predictive site surveys is the need to perform a final physical survey to confirm the placement, number, and configuration of installed access points. However, it’s also possible to skip this step and wait for users to provide their feedback. If the users don’t find any issues with the setup and are satisfied with the performance of their wireless connections, a physical survey is not necessary.
To successfully perform a predictive site survey, it’s necessary to provide certain basic information:
A WiFi predictive site survey software tool can make it much easier to complete a predictive site survey, but not all survey software tools are created equal. Most are severely limited in terms of usability because of their outdated, clunky user interfaces that make them unintuitive and difficult to use.
The good news is that NetSpot 3 will feature support for predictive site surveys, combining its signature ease of use with the ability to accurately predict the propagation of WiFi signals in any environment to deliver a complete WiFi site survey solution intended for professionals and amateurs alike.
In addition to the new predictive site survey mode, NetSpot 3 will feature improved versions of its two signature modes: Survey and Discover.
With Survey mode, in-depth physical site surveys can be performed with absolute ease, and the gathered data can be transformed into interactive color-coded WiFi heatmaps. Discover mode instantly collects heaps of information about surrounding WiFi networks and presents wireless data as an interactive table.
Predictive site surveys complement physical site surveys by providing accurate information about the expected propagation of wireless signals in the surveyed environment. They can be greatly beneficial in situations where it’s not feasible or practical to be physically present on the location prior to the actual installation of wireless equipment. With WiFi predictive site survey software tools like NetSpot 3, predictive site surveys are accessible to anyone.
Predictive wireless surveys are virtual surveys that are used to plan the deployment of a WiFi network using information about the site where the network will be installed. Their purpose is to account for as many variables as possible, including the site’s layout, building materials, and sources of interference, to come up with the most cost-effective wireless design capable of providing sufficient coverage and capacity to meet the requirements of the end-users.
That depends on whether your goal is to conduct a predictive site survey or post-installation survey. To conduct a predictive site survey, you need a WiFi site survey application that lets you simulate the deployment of WiFi access points in a virtual RF environment. On the other hand, post-installation surveys are carried out right on the site, using WiFi heatmapping software. For best results, it’s recommended to combine predictive and post-installation surveys.
A site survey, sometimes also called an RF (radio frequency) survey, is the analysis of an RF environment or a specific WiFi network and its performance. The information provided by a site survey includes network capacity, coverage, band and channel settings, encryption protocols, and more.
Site surveys are typically performed by network administrators before and after the deployment of a network, but they can also be performed by regular home users who wish to achieve higher download and upload speeds, decrease latency, and eliminate dead zones.
Wireless site surveys are important because they provide useful information about WiFi networks and their coverage. They can reveal sources of signal interference, channel conflicts, dead zones, and a myriad of other common issues that plague WiFi networks large and small.