Wireless Verification Survey – What & Why?

05 April 2024

When we’re doing a Wireless Design or Deployment, we will always suggest a Wireless Verification Survey, but usually before us mentioning it, a client has never come across one before… we aim to explain what and why you need one in this blog post.

Some people call it a validation survey, we prefer verification but honestly the word is interchangable.

What is a Wireless Verification Survey

The aim of the survey is to verify the wireless state of play, it verifies exactly how the wireless network is performing, configured and then verifies that against the criteria of the network.

Depending on the devices and the applications your wireless network is set to support, leads to a different criteria that it’s important the wireless network delivers, for example, if you’re trying to support a number of VoIP Handsets or Handheld Warehouse Scanners roaming around a building or warehouse you will have a deeper need for redundancy and secondary signal strength compared to a small number of laptops in an office space where a wired connection is available.

What does a Wireless Verification Survey look at?

When we conduct a Wireless Verification Survey, we use a number of specialist tools (including our eyes!), like the Ekahau Sidekick which scan the frequencies that wireless technologies use, listening out for beacon frames (among other data such as the noise floor, interference and such).

Beacon Frames are sent out via access points and contain important Wi-Fi data, namely the signal strength, data rates, SSIDs and the capabilities enabled.

Our specialist software then turns all of this data into what is in effect, a pretty picture that enables you to visualise it, so as an example, we’ll give you the Primary and Secondary Signal Strength for your Wireless Networks, your Channel Interference, alongside all of the pretty pictures we’ll give you our Observations and Recommendations.

Why do I need a Wireless Verification Survey?

One of the things with Wi-Fi that can be seen as a positive, or a negative, or both is… it does actually just work. Sure, it might not work great, or to the best it can, but chances are it’ll work to a degree.

So I’m sure that leaves you thinking, if I install the Wi-Fi and the client devices can connect, surely that’s just okay?

I mean sure, some organisations do take that stance, but when the Wi-Fi is crucial to the business, that’s a huge risk to play, you could liken it to your electrical installation or your network cabling, just because you can plug it in or connect and it works, doesn’t mean however that you’re not going to end up with a fire or packet errors – rarely do we complete a verification survey that doesn’t find room for improvement.

One of the things we do when conducting a Verification Survey, is to identify what is referred to as your LCMI Device, this means Least Capable, Most Important – Going back to our earlier warehouse scenario, this would be your Handheld Scanner, they’re often equipped with an antenna with low sensitivity, meaning they need a higher signal strength than that of a laptop, but yet they’re the most important to the organisation, so we tailor our report around them.

Not only do we do that, but our equipment is specially designed for its purpose and we can pick up on things that you just can’t without it, for example channel interference, with 2.4GHz we have three non overlapping channels, with 5GHz it’s 25 Channels, but that’s only if we’re using 20MHz wide channels, our equipment will show you exactly what channel interference you’ve got, and better yet, we can provide a channel plan to eliminate it.

How it helps your organisation

We’ve explained what the survey is and the things we can identify but what does it actually mean to your organisation?

We work with MSPs and Internal IT Departments throughout the country, and the one thing that our clients find is a verification survey proactively reduces tickets, and that in turn reduces time for your team to be scratching their head.

Think of it this way, you need a new wireless system deployed, we put together a design and deploy it, directly after deployment we conduct a verification survey, it picks up on quite a bit of co-channel interference, and the fact that low data rates are enabled, these changes are implemented before clients start to experience issues – and lets be honest, Wi-Fi causes tickets like nothing else…

About the Author

Joshua Passmore
Joshua Passmore

Joshua Passmore

Technical Director

Joshua Passmore is our Technical Director, he’s been part of the NDNS Team since 2015. He heads up our Technical Solutions and has a real soft spot for Wireless Technologies.

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Whether you’re convinced, or just want to talk through things in a little more detail, give us a call today and we can help, no matter where you’re up to!