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What is a wireless survey?

A wireless survey is an investigative service carried out by University Information Services to optimise the performance of an institution’s wireless network deployment. It provides assessment of existing wireless signal propagation and helps identify areas for signal coverage improvement, or possible signal interference issues. Additionally, a survey is important to assess new areas with no existing coverage before access point installation, to ensure maximum signal propagation.

A survey will help identify weak areas in a current deployment and enable efficient expansion into areas with no current wireless provision. It allows the institution to determine where new access point infrastructure should best be sited, removing the hassle of ‘trial and error’ positioning. Additionally, a survey analysis can help with tracing faults in a current deployment.

Methods of surveying

There are three methods of surveying a given area and the choice will largely depend on what network infrastructure is currently in place.

  • First, an investigation can be carried out using the existing access point deployment. This is suitable for repositioning existing access points or extending coverage into areas with weak or no signal. 
  • Second, a survey can be carried out using full survey equipment. This is appropriate for surveying new sites or areas with no current wireless coverage. This can cover part  or all of a site as needed.
  • Thirdly, predictive (software based) surveying can be carried out as a preliminary indication of access point location. This is particularly relevant for new building projects in the planning phase. However, these indicative results should later be validated with a full site survey.

After a meeting to discuss your requirements and review the building layout, we carry out a walkthrough survey with our measuring equipment. A medium-sized building will take approximately three to four days, or longer if no APs are in place. Following this, we interpret the results and collate detailed reports which we forward to you. We are also happy to discuss the results in person. We can also advise on the range of different APs available, in order to determine the best AP to use in a given area.

Access points can then be installed or moved as needed, and further survey work carried out if required.

Charging

There is no fee for the initial consultation. Price for a full or predictive survey is on application, inclusive of production of site maps/reports etc.  On average a site survey takes one hour per 200 square metres, with considerable variation depending on the site; open-plan areas are typically much quicker than individual offices or attic spaces.

For more information contact wireless-infrastructure@uis.cam.ac.uk

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