Part of my job as an engineer is to help small businesses to plan, set up, install and configure networks. Workplaces of today usually do not have fixed computers, but rather portable devices such as smartphones and notebook computers. The goal of every network engineer is to ensure that there is adequate network coverage across every corner of the office, so that users can maximize their productivity and not constantly complain about poor wireless network connectivity.
Smaller network integrators usually make use of practical usage scenarios for user acceptance. For example, to prove that every area of the office is covered by a wireless network connection, they have to show that the network connection is seamless while moving over the entire floor space. This can be done via an internet call, for example. As long as the call is not interrupted, we can safely prove that there is good wireless connectivity. However, such tests may not be sufficient for some, as they require more specific signal strengths and other metrics for acceptance.
|Step 1 : Create a new Survey Project|
I happened to chance upon NetSpot, which is a Windows and Mac based software that helps system integrators to do Wi-Fi on-site surveys. I found it useful during my daily work to show the wireless signals strengths at different areas to my clients. They are also agreeable with the Wi-Fi strength survey, acknowledging the work done. NetSpot can also be a very useful tool for acceptance testing, with its ability to generate different site reports to show that installations are done based on specific requirements by clients.
|Step 2 : Upload Floor Plan|
|Step 3 : Walk around the area and gather scan details|
|Step 4 : Select from a list of reports|
A Wi-Fi site survey can be used to help identify wireless signal dead-spots and show the best positions to place additional wireless access points. Here is a sample of the wireless survey that I have done at my office. As shown above, the wireless signal strength and transmit rates are considerably good for the entire space.
The usage of the NetSpot WiFi Management app is also fairly straightforward. You simply have to upload a photo of the floor plan (or simply draw it out and upload it to a PC), and then input the actual distances of the floor plan. Next, you can select the area of the location where you are at, and then do a location-based wireless signal analysis. You will then have to move around the location to gather more information of wireless signals at different areas. Once you are done, you can then easily export the wireless signal strength map with a click of a button. This report can be useful depending on your needs.
|Select Individual Points to find out more about signal strengths|
|Use different reports and identify transfer speeds and other metrics|
The NetSpot WiFi Management app is an easy to use WiFi Survey analysis tool. It serves many purposes for different users from system integrators, network administrators for offices, to end-users who wants to find out more about the wireless network statuses of their home. However, we do feel that it could be even better if such a service can be made into a mobile application instead, as there is a need to move around the location for a site survey. A notebook computer, although is considered portable, may not be the best equipment when moving around especially in large areas.
*This is not a sponsored post.*