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What Are The Different Types Of Wireless Site Surveys And The Benefits Of Each?

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 6, 2022 3:59:28 PM / by Blog Team

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Three Types of Wireless Site Surveys

There are several types of wireless site surveys. One type is a passive wireless survey, which is conducted by collecting RF signal data while walking around the area. These measurements are then used to generate coverage heatmaps for desired area. Active wireless surveys are conducted by creating wireless network connections to either the installed WiFi network or test/temporary WiFi network and take signal and sometimes other measurements like speed testing and application testing. Predictive wireless survey / modeling is computer based design process that takes into considering the floor plan, wall material, and another other information that may impact wireless signals and generates signal propagation results / coverage heatmaps. Regardless of the type of survey used, the goal is to collect accurate and relevant data that can help design a wireless network that meets the needs of users.

Pros and Cons of Each Type of Survey Method


Survey Type



Passive Wireless Survey

- Usually very accurate based on engineers skill set and equipment used for survey.

- Allows for measurement of interfering neighboring wireless networks and non WiFi interfering sources

- Allows for capturing of installation information (cabling, data closet layout, mounting methods)

- Requires visiting site / network location.

- Tends be more costly and time consuming.

- Requires construction/building layout to be as close to complete as possible.

- Equipment used for survey should match planned installation equipment to get best results.

Active Wireless Survey

- Clear picture of installed networks coverage and performance can be measured.

- Results take into consideration any neighbor or interfering wireless sources.

- Onsite engineer can tweak configuration settings and remeasure as needed to optimize network.

- Requires visiting site / network location.

-  Requires final network or temp network to be operational for signal measurements.

- Typically used for post install / validation survey and not new network installation designs.

Predictive Wireless Survey

- Quick results with no visit to site visit required.

- Can be performed before actual buildout of area for new construction.

- Easier to train engineers on how to conduct/design using this method.

- Usually 75% or less in terms of final accuracy on access point locations and quantity.

- Relies on assumptions that if not validated/fine tuned with onsite measurements can easily result in incorrect design.

- Doesn't take into consideration neighboring networks or other sources of interference.

- Limited or no information on install methodology that can be used. 


Choosing the Best Site Survey for Your Network

Predictive wireless site surveys are typically the only option prior to construction of the building or buildout of the office area. Active and passive wireless site surveys can be used if the building /area exists already. Active and passive wireless surveys will measure the existing WiFi network or a temporary network or access point on a stick (APoaS) network.  Businesses should rule out a less expensive survey types if it fails to address their needs and situation.

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Topics: WiFi

Blog Team

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