At Redway Networks, we’re specialists in WiFi and known for our great WiFi design. It’s in our DNA and is the building blocks to a superior wireless network as however great the products, its the WiFi design that underpins the network performance. Wireless that’s poorly designed won’t be an asset but will affect the performance and security of your school’s network.
We focus on the finer details and our in-depth knowledge of school wireless networks, quality of our professional onsite surveys (performed using Ekahau) and WiFi reports delivered in an extensive but easy to digest format, that sets us apart from other IT vendors.
A post-installation professional, onsite WiFi or troubleshooting survey will highlight coverage and if capacity meets your school’s requirements in addition to giving you the assurance moving forward that your new wireless network has been properly designed for current and future usage.
Extensive WiFi experience
Our certified network engineers have extensive experience within the education sector and will deliver a ‘gold standard’ service for WiFi surveys using Ekahau’s heat-mapping software – recognised as the world’s leading analysis tool.
Accurate WiFi Signal
When performing a post-installation Wi-Fi survey or a troubleshooting survey we can conduct both an active and passive WiFi survey. During an active survey, the WiFi adapter is connected to the WiFi access point to measure signal strength and noise levels, as well as round-trip time, throughput rates, packet loss, re-transmissions and roaming performance. However, an active survey will give your school a more accurate indication of WiFi signal. During a passive survey, the site survey application passively listens to WLAN traffic, measuring signal strength and overlap between adjacent WiFi access points. By performing both an active and passive WiFi survey, we can report on potential issues beyond just signal coverage and an active survey will give a more accurate indication of WiFi signal.
We can provide a complete spectrum analysis which includes the detection, measurement and recording of RF interference that could degrade the performance of your wireless network. Interference such as microwaves or legacy wireless devices can have a serious impact on your WiFi network . During a post-installation survey we perform a spectrum analysis to highlight any interference detection from devices that are not transmitting constantly. We will conduct WiFi throughput testing which enables us to go one step further in verifying the actual capacity of your school’s WiFi network. Whilst a WiFi survey accurately determines connected data rate, performing a throughput test is a more accurate method for determining your WiFi network performance. We will provide all relevant configuration settings to maximise the performance and stability of your WiFi including radio channels, antennas and transmit power levels of each wireless access point to provide the most stability for your new WiFi design or new wireless network deployment.
If your school or college would like to book a WiFi survey, contact our sales team today.
Wireless network performance is akin to business performance these days; productivity, efficiency, automation all rely on agile connectivity which can make or break your organisation. Consequently, it goes without saying that if you’re experiencing problems with your WiFi, you can’t afford to let them go unresolved. A professional wireless survey is the best way to resolve any issues both in terms of efficiency, ensuring a thorough job is done, and also to give you certainty that your solutions won’t cause additional problems down the line.
A wireless survey needs to be conducted by a qualified professional who can draw on years of experience, industry best practice, uses the most accurate and informative tools, and can make recommendations and a fresh design based on emerging technology and industry changes. An experienced WiFi engineer can use these tools and techniques to make data-driven decisions regarding your new network that remove the risk of wasted IT budget on a failed deployment, and make sure your solution responds perfectly to the needs of your organisation.
Benefits of a professional wireless network survey include:
- Identifying coverage gaps and estimating capacity requirements
- Resolve common configuration issues such as excessive interference, overlapping channels, poor AP handovers
- Fix design mistakes such as poor AP placement in existing networks
- Create a solid foundation for a new network design, based on a full understanding of your organisation’s requirements, environment and budget
- Reduce costs by only purchasing necessary hardware/software, and avoid the need for additional purchases to work around issues
How should you pick the right kind of survey?
Choosing the right type of WiFi survey will largely depend on the type of organisation you work for, your timescale and your budget. Our whole focus as a business is on offering a bespoke service that puts your organisation and its needs at the centre. Although you could label our surveys as either active or passive, they’re always tailored to our clients, giving you the insight you need within the right timescale, cost and convenience.
We plan a wireless survey entirely around your organisation by taking the time to get to know your requirements, problems, and business objectives. We don’t make assumptions on the type of survey you need before we fully understand why you need it, and how we can help you move towards an optimally performing network. We focus on providing services that have actionable, positive outcomes to help support your IT department and push your organisation forward, and that starts with our surveys.
What types of WiFi survey do we offer?
Passive, predictive surveys
Our remote WiFi surveys rely on both your floorplans and usage insight to create a simulated version of your wireless LAN that takes variables like square footage, wall types, user requirements, applications and many others into account. We can create different WiFi heat maps to create simulated designs that will deliver optimum performance, whether you’re looking to improve your existing wireless network or design a new one.
These types of survey are convenient and quick so we can get to the bottom of your network performance quickly and work towards solutions faster. They’re also a more affordable option than a full site survey with a visit from one of our network engineers.
Although passive surveys are a great option for designing a new wireless network, we are predicting performance against a simulated environment. At Redway we don’t consider our job done until you’re 100% satisfied with the result, and consequently, with passive surveys we always recommend following up with a verification survey post-install to ensure your new solution is offering the predicted performance. Validation surveys help ensure the best possible performance through optimising configuration based on a live, active network that is in situ. They are an affordable way of ensuring a successful design that won’t require potentially costly fixes down the line.
Active, site surveys
Aforementioned passive or predictive surveys are best used in simple environments with little interference, low density/capacity. For many organisations, this isn’t the best way to go about designing a new network, especially in busy workplaces like warehouses or offices with lots of interference from machinery, metal, or surrounding offices. An active, on-site survey is the most accurate and informative type of WiFi survey available, and is strongly advised by our engineers in these high-risk environments where predicting performance against a simulated design is harder.
Our network engineers walk the entirety of your site, capturing live data and mapping real-time performance against your floorplans. This means we can account for extenuating circumstances such as interference, prove times between APs, and pinpointing signal loss. Only an active survey will give us the ability to mimic real-life scenarios at your workplace, looking at spectrum analysis, RSSI, latency, the seamlessness of roaming and capacity checks.
An active or site survey makes installation a smoother process by eliminating surprises that take time and potentially additional costs to work around.
How do we present our findings from your WiFi survey?
- We do things differently to our competitors. We deliver the results and recommendations from your survey by WebEx, giving the us the ability to demonstrate our designs. This also gives us the opportunity to go through your site room by room, floor by floor to make sure of your requirements and any details you feel we should know. This is vital in the case of passive, remote surveys.
- We make sure a highly qualified network engineer is always on the call to go through the survey report and design in a live simulation. They can also answer any questions you may have about your wider network – outside of your wireless – from switches to security. We see our role as helping you achieve an optimally performing network – not just WiFi.
- Our way of resolving your network issues is a 2-way conversation – a ‘non-technical’ technical discussion! We make a complex subject simple so that you never feel out of your depth when discussing your network, its shortcomings or our recommendations.
How are our surveys different to our competitors?
- Our experience across a range of sectors means we make sure to ask questions that might not be pertinent to your daily network management, but can be catastrophic if overlooked during the design phase. Common examples we come across are factoring in additional capacity in school halls for exam periods, or specific AP placement in storage areas where interference fluctuates due to stock movement.
- We pride ourselves on being independent, vendor-neutral WiFi specialists who focus on fully understanding your organisation’s requirements and resources before recommending a solution. We turn this understanding into a design that responds to your needs, before recommending products. We don’t have preferred partners; we match your organisation and its requirements with the right solution – not the other way around.
- We don’t view surveys as a ‘one and done’ service, whether you’re designing a new network or fault-finding and fixing an existing one. Our goal isn’t to install or improve your wireless network and walk away – we want you to be happy with your solution for its entire lifetime. We recommend a WiFi survey at least once a year to keep your network performing optimally, ensure it is adapting to fit how your organisation is changing, and keep you up to date with the latest technology. If you’d like to know more about our management services, take a look at our network support packages.
What if you have questions about your wider network infrastructure?
Your wireless network is only part of the wider picture. As your network gets increasingly complex, you may find that a broader understanding of product performance and longevity is helpful, from switches to cabling. This is where our network audits come in. These audits look at your entire network, and provide an in-depth assessment of your hardware, configuration, architecture and security, enabling you to see clearly where your current network is not giving the performance you need.
As with our wireless surveys, these are performed by our highly qualified network engineers, giving you a comprehensive report that in-house staff may not have the time, resource, experience or equipment to produce.
Rest assured, we don’t put pressure on you to revamp your entire IT infrastructure all at once. Our network audit reports are produced on a ‘traffic light system’ basis with immediate, medium term and long-term actions. Find out more about our networking audits.
Earlier this month, market experts Ekahau launched their latest WiFi survey software update, making Ekahau Survey available on iPhones as well as iPads. Currently Ekahau offer the only enterprise standard WiFi survey tool for mobile devices including tablets.
Our in-house wireless engineer Stewart put the latest update to the test at a construction site WiFi survey last week in the Netherlands. Here are his thoughts:
1. Augmented Reality Improves Usability
The most noteworthy update from the newest version of Ekahau Connect is the ‘Auto Pilot’ survey feature. Traditionally, survey engineers would have to plot their location on a floor plan, walk in a straight line, then plot their location again when they change direction. Auto Pilot allows the engineer to plot their initial location and, using Augmented Reality, walk the entirety of their client’s site without having to re-plot their location with every change of direction. This speeds up survey readings by 33% and ensures more accurate survey results because the software measures the engineer’s walking speed and current location in real-time. This also means the data produced can form a better WiFi network design. “It made a highly accurate and informative survey much, much easier to conduct” says Stewart.
2. Forget Worrying About Pace
The update also means that changes in the engineer’s walking pace do not affect readings, which proved invaluable on a large site where – like most – walking speed cannot be kept steady due to doorways, traffic (human or automotive!), cramped spaces or areas with lots of obstructions.
3. Improved Accuracy
The latest update also allows heatmaps to show very minor changes in direction that couldn’t be seen with Ekahau Connect without manual intervention by the engineer. The previous iteration of the software would attribute readings to a straight line, even if the engineer had deviated from this path to move around an obstruction.
The newest version of Ekahau Connect tracks these deviations using augmented reality and attributes readings to the actual walked route rather than the planned route. This ensures that a new network can be designed with fewer inaccuracies or unaccounted for obstructions.
4. Survey Equipment is Lighter for Travel
Ekahau for iPhone reduces the amount of equipment an engineer needs to take to surveys, which is an appreciated update, especially when travelling overseas!
5. Site Surveys are Safer to Coduct
Autofiring readings means surveyors can focus on their direction and surroundings. So many of our WiFi surveys take place in busy environments like warehouses, where accidents can happen easily. “I spent far less time thinking about where I was going to walk and more time thinking about potential issues with an existing solution, or a suitable design for a new wireless solution” says Stewart.
So are there any limitations of the upgrade? Stewart says yes: “although this update will be fantastic in most situations, tight spaces may be more difficult. In these locations I’ll probably be reverting back to the other methods of survey that Ekahau Connect provides”.
If you would like more information on the range of WiFi surveys we offer internationally, please head to our WiFi Surveys page to get in touch.
You may never have considered a WiFi site survey before, but there are many benefits that a WiFi site survey can bring to education and enterprise companies and services. We explore these below, explaining what a WiFi site survey entails, and what it can do for you.
The effects of WiFi downtime
If you’re considering a wireless survey and a new network, you may well be experiencing WiFi downtime and signal dead spots. These are extremely damaging to your business’ processes, operations and services which will, over time, increasingly impact your revenue and profit.
If your employees, clients and service users cannot connect to the network, they cannot be productive – and you lose money as a result. In the case of customers, lack of WiFi coverage could even drive them to your competitors, so you lose their business for good. As new technology and ways of working emerges in your sector, you will be increasingly unable to adopt it, meaning your business’ processes become less and less efficient.
Many network managers overcompensate for cold spots with excessive signal boosts and additional access points – often spending a great deal in the process. It is extremely common to find overlapping signal, causing poor AP handovers and dropouts.
Do you need a WiFi site survey at your premises?
There are many reasons why you could be considering a WiFi site survey. From installing new wireless systems to upgrading and improving your current service, site surveys are designed to optimise coverage and performance across your premises.
Skilled technicians with the right equipment and knowledge can carefully test service across all parts of your building or site, before making recommendations to improve access for you.
We always advise a WiFi site survey. Without it, we cannot offer a maximum coverage guarantee, nor can we ensure that your investment in a new network will give you the performance and flexibility you need to push your business forward.
There are also many types of site surveys depending on what your business needs – they are not a ‘one size fits all’. Whether you need to find and fix existing faults, design a new network entirely, or upgrade your current solution, a WiFi site survey should be designed around the things you need to understand.
Benefits of a thorough WiFi site survey by our trusted professionals:
- Keep the cost of your network down, whether in maintenance time working around issues, or in designing a network that is designed specifically for your business and your budget
- Our WiFi surveys include a new or improved network design, saving spending solely on a design that may not best suit your requirements and therefore could waste budget
- Maximum coverage guarantees can only be given if an expert survey is carried out. Surveys make sure your APs are optimally placed to deliver coverage where you need it most.
- Reduce service dead points which slow productivity
- Boost efficiency through improved workflow due to increased capacity, coverage and speed
- Increase customer retention and return visits through seamless and customised digital experiences
The importance of a site survey
WiFi site surveys are like audits for your network. With a site survey, the coverage of each access point is thoroughly tested. Areas can be identified that are not correctly covered, or overlapping each other, to ensure that all AP’s are correctly spaced and performing efficiently.
Surveyors can also assess the current bandwidth, making sure it can cope with all incoming and outgoing traffic. Finally, a WiFi site survey can address the existing network security, highlight weak points in the system, and make recommendations for improving access point encryption.
If you would like more information on WiFi site surveys and how they could benefit your education and enterprise company, contact us today on 01908 046400
Wireless planning is a topic that many people don’t consider when setting up a new network. Yet, if you don’t get the planning stage right, your users will find getting online to be an absolute nightmare as the number of users (and their expectations) grow. Our tips for wireless planning will help you to build a wireless network that can scale into the future and delivers the fast and efficient connection that your users will demand.
Wireless planning – Consider the locations carefully
Where are people actually going to be using wireless internet? If most people sitting at desks are using wired connections, then it’s probably more important to ensure that your corridors, break spaces and receptions are well covered than every individual desk. If possible, conduct a survey to see how your existing wireless is being used and plan your network accordingly.
Wireless planning – Power over Ethernet is your friend
Running power cables through your office can be a major pain point when you’re rolling out a wireless network, especially if you’re planning to place your wireless access points in the ceiling. Power over Ethernet allows your access points to take their power from the Ethernet cables that connect them up to the central hub. This significantly reduces the initial cost of installation and makes it far easier to add additional access points to the network as your requirements change and the number of access points on the network starts to grow.
Wireless planning – Plan for the future
It’s almost inevitable that demand for your wireless infrastructure will grow in the future and it’s important that you consider this when you’re setting up the network in the first place. Under specifying the network at the outset will only lead to user frustration and significant pain for everyone in the building at a later date. It may well cost more to upgrade the network retrospectively, so it’s worth being a little more generous in your specifications now to save yourself a job later.
Taking the time to plan your wireless network carefully is an investment in the future productivity of your business. Cutting corners now will cost you significantly later on. Redway Networks offer a range of wireless site surveys to assist with the planning and design of your wireless network, contact us today on 01908 046400 to find out more about how we can assist.
The advantages of a decent enterprise WiFi network for your business or educational organisation are huge. However, when things go wrong it is very easy for users to lose faith in the system and that can have a negative impact on both reputation and operations.
Network issues need to be resolved quickly and with minimum impact. The longer service is unavailable or poor, the more likely it is that users will be unhappy and complain. But resolving the issue quickly is not always so simple.
Prevention is better than cure
It is far better to be proactive. Identifying and resolving issues before users are even aware of them is part and parcel of successful management of your network. To do this effectively you need to know that your infrastructure is capable of meeting the needs of your operation.
Because every site is different, a first good step is to undergo a full diagnostic survey with network fault finding. This will help identify faults that already exist, and also advise where future problems could occur, so you can plan future maintenance and improvement or replacement.
It also makes sense to have active monitoring tools in place, such as wireless intrusion prevention (WIPS). This will identify internal and external threats early, allowing administrators to act quickly to contain or eliminate the threat before it becomes a problem.
Understand the impact
Proactive management of the network will reduce incidents, but they can still happen. When your support team begin fighting that fire, they need to get to the bottom of the issue quickly.
The basic first step is to identify the exact symptoms. Is the network inexplicably slow? Is loss of connectivity intermittent or completely lost? Can the issue be repeated? Gaining detailed knowledge of the problem means you can start to rule out potential causes.
Secondly, what is the impact on users? Is it all users or just some? What tasks are those users doing? What devices are being used and what location are they in?
If the answers to these questions do not help find a solution, then at least you are informed enough to assist the experts when they come to resolve the problem.
Get help from the experts
There may come a point where you need an experienced technician. They will have a deep level of experience to be able to tell the difference between a physical fault, such as a cable break or damaged sockets, or device failures, such as transceivers or network switches.
They will be able to identify and provide replacement parts quickly. They will also be able to review capacity and demands on the network to diagnose potential causes.
If you are struggling with network fault finding, a WiFi survey from Redway Networks is an ideal solution.
With clients who want to implement WiFi over a wide area, it’s important to have a wireless site survey done. Without it, there’s a high likelihood that, whether it’s an education WiFi setup, enterprise WiFi or any other implementation, users won’t get the best coverage and reception.
A wireless site survey can also be useful with existing installations if there are signal quality issues in certain locations. Redway Networks’ professional standards mean that we want to achieve the best service for our clients and a wireless site survey goes a long way to ensuring success.
What types of wireless site surveys are there?
Redway Networks go around the whole area that’s to be covered and assess the issues that a wireless network might face. The survey can be active – connecting to existing equipment and measuring packets – or passive – monitoring existing radio frequency (RF) signals without connecting.
There are also predictive surveys where sophisticated planning tools are used rather than measuring in the field. Detailed plans and blueprints are required and this form of survey is usually used at the planning stage of buildings where a wireless network is to be installed.
What does a wireless site survey look for?
There are a number of considerations:
- Equipment placement – where to place access points, aerials and other equipment to achieve the most economical and efficient wireless signal spread.
- Potential signal blockers in buildings – thick stone walls, old lead-based paint etc.
- Channel conflicts and interference from other WiFi installations that need to be worked around.
- Interference from other sources that use radio waves like cordless phones, microwave ovens, wireless security systems etc.
There are, of course, overlaps in most of these areas – for example, access point placement may be governed by potential conflicts with sources of interference just as much as the nature and layout of the buildings involved.
An education WiFi or enterprise WiFi setup is likely to have many sources of interference in the vicinity, as well as potential conflicts with neighbouring WiFi setups to take into account.
Get the best from your Wireless installation.
A wireless site survey carried out by professionals is well worth doing, whether it’s for a building that hasn’t yet been built, a new wireless installation in an existing building, or to find out why an existing installation isn’t performing as it should.
Contact us or request a wireless site survey online today.