Wireless Analysis & Site Surveys
By Joshua Erdman
When considering wireless it is a good idea to perform a site analysis. This will help you determine the best frequency, the presence of existing APs, and the type of range you can expect before you go through the process of installation.
To get the best performance you want to choose a frequency that is not already used, with the outbreak of wireless usage today it could be difficult to find a clean frequency.
In addition, it might be helpful to inspect your facility to discover any 'rogue' access points installed by an overzealous employee, a guaranteed security breach considering the fact that over 80% of installed wireless equipment today are left with their default configurations.
The easiest way to determine the type of range is to get one test access point that is the same make and model you are intending to install throughout your facility. No need to connect the access point to your existing network, just set it in locations where you would like an access point and refer to your wireless analysis software keep tabs on the signal to noise ratio (SNR).
What an amazing program for wireless analysis! It is so easy to use and will give you an instant summary of what Access Point's it sees, the frequency they are transmitting on, and their encryption status. This program runs in Windows and the best part is that it is free! - www.netstumbler.com
With wireless analysis software while you are performing a survey you can easily determine the number of APs you need and the types of antennas for each location. With the right tools and a thorough site survey you are guaranteed to have a capable network with few surprises.
Article last reviewed: 04/11/2006