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Wi-Fi Wireless LAN (WLAN) Site Survey Procedures

Introduction: Implementation of a Wi-Fi wireless LAN (WLAN) network, within or between buildings, requires performing a site survey. No one can tell exactly how wireless equipment will operate in every circumstance without a survey. This is especially true in an intra-building application where there are load bearing or asbestos-lined walls, or inter-building links where obstacles such as trees are involved.

Site surveys for wired and wireless LAN networks are similar. Wireless surveys also analyze the conditions required to provide an optimal radio link. The complexity and details of the survey depend on the complexity of the proposed network. The most important details are the number of sites involved, the terrain and the distance between sites.

Site Qualification: This is the first step required to determine if a Wi-Fi wireless LAN (WLAN) network is a feasible solution. With the assistance of our vendors, AABroadband has assembled a set of forms to help determine the feasibility of a wireless system.

Once these forms are completed, they should be faxed to AABroadband engineers, who will determine if a wireless network is a practical solution. These forms will also help determine how complex the site survey needs to be.

Site Survey: The site survey will ensure the proper wireless LAN solution can be designed for the application. This survey is required if there is any question as to how the proposed wireless system will operate, or to determine if it is feasible for the application.

The complexity of the site survey required depends on which of the following typical system configurations is proposed:

  • Simple Wireless LAN Network Configuration: This is normally a point-to-point link under six miles where the open space between the two locations is free of obstructions. In an intra-building system, this would be a predominately open space with few structural walls. This configuration requires a basic site survey.
  • Complex Wireless LAN Network Configuration: This is a point-to-point system in excess of six miles; a point-to-point system with obstructions in or near the path; a multi-site inter-building system; or an intra-building system with multiple rooms and/or load-bearing walls.

Who Should Perform the Survey: a team of persons should perform the site survey with expertise in wireless LANs and RF links. RF expertise is not widely available. For this reason, AABroadband has assembled a team of certified RF engineers and installers who are qualified to perform complex site surveys nationwide. To assure a successful design and implementation, it is critical that persons with RF link expertise participate in the wireless system site survey.

Next: Purpose of the Site Survey


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