Wireless Site Survey

Before you deploy a new WatchGuard AP, you can perform a wireless site survey to analyze your current environment and existing wireless signals. The wireless site survey helps you to identify your specific requirements for your wireless network, and any external factors that could affect your deployment.

Site survey results can help you determine this information:

  • Number of wireless clients that must be supported
  • Airtime utilization and demand of wireless clients and applications
  • Areas of coverage and number of APs required
  • Best physical placement of APs
  • Range from clients to each AP
  • Wireless signal strength and potential sources of wireless noise and interference
  • Environmental factors that affect wireless signals, such as building construction and materials

Typically, you begin a site survey with a physical walk-through of your environment. It is helpful to have a floor plan of your facilities that shows your existing networking environment and a list of requirements for your planned wireless networks. A visual inspection helps you to understand the areas of coverage required, the physical limitations and barriers due to building construction, and potential sources of wireless interference.

After you complete a physical inspection of your facilities, you must be able to visualize and understand where the current wireless signals are located in your environment, and how they react to your physical environment.

Many wireless site survey tools are available that enable you to map your environment and generate wireless heat maps, which provide a visual representation of the wireless signals in your environment. The heat map shows the strength and range of wireless access points, how their signals react to your physical environment, and identifies any existing wireless interference.

Screen shot of example heat map

To determine what wireless signals and interference already exist in your environment, you can generate a heat map to help you plan your deployment scenario. You can use one of the many available third-party wireless site survey tools such as Ekahau HeatMapper. After you install your APs, you can make another heat map of your environment to see if your current placement provides adequate coverage and signal strength for your wireless network.

You can also use the Wireless Deployment Maps feature on the Gateway Wireless Controller to provide a simulated physical view of your wireless network to help you place the APs in optimal locations for maximum coverage, and to detect channel conflicts with other wireless devices in your area.

For more information on the wireless maps feature, see Use Gateway Wireless Controller Maps.

For more information on how to use the wireless maps feature for AP placement, see View Wireless Deployment Maps.

See Also

Wireless Signal Strength and Noise Levels

Wireless Environmental Factors

Wireless Placement