Is a Wireless Site Survey for 802.11ac WiFi Necessary?

When looking to provide Internet for events at a specific venue, organizers will often ask if performing a site survey is necessary. The simple answer would be “yes” but the simple answer does not explain why or the various methods available to conduct a site survey. The simple answer also fails to explain why the site survey is necessary. It is then prudent to explain why site surveys are useful in helping to prevent common issues experienced by other event organizers.

Is a Wireless Site Survey for 802.11ac WiFi Necessary?

Now more than ever organizers need to provide a fast and reliable Internet connection. For that reason, many organizers are looking to provide events with 802.11ac WiFi. Previously 802.11n was the fastest available WiFi connection available to the general public. Then the technology improved and 802.11ac was released and proved to be a supercharged version of its predecessor. Venues looking to provide the fastest WiFi Internet need to consider a few influencing factors.

802.11ac Range is Heavily Dependent Access Point (AP) Location

An advantage of ac is that it is able to bounce off walls to increase its range. However, if access points are too close to one another they will interfere with each other’s signals. So placing access points in the same hall will result in interference due to reflective signals. This will result in a negative impact on network performance, either slowing down the connection or not allowing people to connect at all. This problem can be avoided by a wireless site survey been conducted prior to the installation of access points.

802.11ac Access Points Need to be Scaled Correctly

The number of devices capable of connecting to a WiFi network has exploded over the last five years. These devices are designed by different manufacturers for a variety of uses. This requires usage and capacity planning. Organizers need to be able to scale their capacity to different users as well as match those uses to certain specific access points. This adds several variables to an already complex equation.

If you over-engineer a solution you may break the budget while under engineering will result in not been able to provide adequate Internet services. A wireless site survey is unique in that it helps to develop a tailor-made solution, neither under or over-engineered.

Pick the Right Solution

Different manufacturers and providers have a host of products and services. Choosing the best one to suit your needs is tricky. Choosing the right solution is most definitely good for business, but with so many choices this can be a Herculean task in itself. The first step to answering this question would be to conduct a site survey. From there you’ll have a better picture of your exact needs, placing you in a better position to address your hardware needs.

Wireless Site Survey Options

Often the costs real and imagined of conducting a site survey lead many business owners down the wrong path or ignore it completely. Such surveys are fast becoming a vital requirement in not only providing an excellent Internet service but a successful event or conference. It is also important to remember that in conducting the survey there are options.

For most, there exists a prevailing belief that all wireless site surveys are conducted on-site. For those with relatively simple Internet requirements, another option exists rather than on-site surveying which is more costly. That option is a predictive wireless survey. These surveys make use of software that takes into account a lot of factors, which include floor plan, building materials, venue size, and the applications users are likely to use. All this data is then compiled and the software will generate suggested access point locations. The software is incredibly accurate and can be a major cost-saving.

Conclusion

The benefits of conducting a wireless site survey do outweigh the cost when the right option is chosen. For events providing a fast and stable Internet connection can make or break the event and the organizer’s reputation. Wireless site surveys go a long way in mitigating future problems.

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