Demystifying Wireless Site Surveys

Did you hear the one about the fellow who bought a house only to discover that it stood on his neighbor’s property?

That’s not a joke; it happened. And it isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last. Such cautionary tales help convince people buying property that a land survey is a vital part of the process.

Stories touting the importance of wireless site surveys, however, don’t make the news. Maybe it’s because a survey that examines wireless interference points such as physical obstacles, competing Wi-Fi networks, and workspace density isn’t that sexy. Maybe it’s because people assume wireless issues are just part of the price we pay for technology.

Regardless of the reason, a poorly designed wireless network can have headline-worthy negative consequences for any business. If you’re facing even the slightest uphill battle convincing colleagues of the importance of a wireless site survey, we have some suggestions for you.

1. Tell them that wireless site surveys are practical

Though they require technical know-how and precision, wireless site surveys are not steeped in mysterious ceremonies, the secrets of which are held by a select few IT professionals. They’re as workaday as who gets to park in the east lot and why the fridge in the breakroom needs to be cleaned out every Friday.

The practicality of wireless site surveys is vital to underscore. If they are seen as high-falutin’ feats of technological wizardry, it’s easy to dismiss network shortcomings with a shrug and a promise of a purchase order for another access point.

Odds are company leaders would recognize the folly in building another east parking lot so everyone can park there, or buying a new fridge each week so no one has to clean the old one. The machinations of office space management don’t have to please everyone. They simply need to work. Just like a wireless network simply needs to work.

2. Let them know a wireless site survey isn’t intimidating

To some, the phrase “wireless site survey” may sound like something that requires a frightening amount of work, most of it intimidatingly technical. Help allay their concerns. You can start by letting them know that wireless site surveys can often be covered in the following four steps:

  1. Collaborating with all stakeholders on the requirements of the wireless network, including the areas — of an office, a warehouse, meeting spaces, or the like — that need the most reliable wireless coverage possible.
  2. Taking inventory of potential blockage material such as walls and clusters of metal file cabinets and producing a heat map of network interference elements such as neighboring networks.
  3. Designing a wireless network that circumvents potential trouble spots (for new locations) or reconfiguring the network to address existing concerns (for established but underperforming networks).
  4. Providing network recommendations to the key decision makers.

A four step process isn’t too scary, right? Heck, building the smallest LEGO sets usually requires more than a dozen steps.

3. Point out that a wireless site survey may pay for itself faster than they think

A lousy wireless network hits business hard. In 2013, SanDisk conducted a study that found slow internet connectivity cost employees one week per year of productivity. If your company employs 12 people, that’s three months of productivity down the digital drain.

All that lost productivity is frustrating. One study by Deloitte and Google in Australia identified slow internet connectivity as employees’ main frustration with employer-provided digital technologies. Network performance so slow that it impacts job performance ? Absolutely. Frustrated employees become actively disengaged employees, and Gallup found  that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion per year.

Conducting a wireless site survey proactively, as part of an effort to produce a reliable network design, can be more cost-effective than conducting a survey reactively, as part of an effort to deal with problems. The business won’t experience the lost productivity that stems from a sub-par network, nor will it experience any interruptions associated with network adjustments.

In the face of such potential issues, a wireless site survey may end up being the bargain of the year for your business.

4. Highlight that a wireless site survey can help future-proof the network

If the past is any indication, the future is about to become a lot more wireless. Mobile data use, for example, is 35 times  the volume of traffic in 2010. And that’s just mobile. What happens when Internet of Things (IoT) devices begin proliferating throughout all businesses, including yours? Get ready for another large number, because Gartner calculates that the number of IoT devices worldwide will surpass 20 billion by 2020 .

A wireless site survey, then, is about more than today, tomorrow, or even next year. It’s also about the year after that, and the year after that, and so on. The broker with whom your company worked to identify your new location won’t be able to tell you  with any certainty how the new location will work under your current network requirements, let alone the requirements that the IoT will usher in. That’s all up to you.

Different devices in your office require different connections . The laptops require Wi-Fi, but there are also Bluetooth keyboards and headsets around. Depending on the requirements of offices in your industry, RFID and NFC technologies might also be prevalent. And the future only holds more, more, more.

Make sure your business is ready for this robust wireless future by ensuring a wireless site survey is conducted today.

Based in the U.S., CTC Technologies, Inc. is an IT solutions provider capable of stepping in to support your IT infrastructure needs. We’re available immediately to help your company improve network performance, mitigate risk and operate efficiently. Contact us today for a free consultation about the wireless site survey solution that works best for your business.

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