Business leaders often express skepticism about the value of a site survey, because there’s a mistaken belief that they can simply deploy a wireless network themselves and easily adjust if performance is poor. In almost every case, this is false, because what sounds like common sense to a layman can create a lot of problems for your wireless network’s performance and security if implemented. A common example of this is the idea that you can simply deploy more access points (APs) if the network is not performing well. In many cases, adding APs actually decreases wireless performance by introducing additional interference and conflict.
However, as with all rules, there are exceptions that can exist for doing a site survey. Generally speaking, there are three reasons why you might be able to skip a site survey:
1. Your Workspace Consists of One Room
Site surveys are designed to maximize your wireless coverage, and for that reason, they should be employed prior to deploying a wireless network within most workspaces.
However, if your office environment consists of a few employees, fewer than 20 devices, and a small office footprint, then perhaps a single access point placed where your team tends to huddle will serve you well. In this specific use case, then no wireless site survey would be required to ensure consistent performance.
2. Wireless is a Luxury, But Not a Necessity for Business Operations
Almost every business relies on an internet connection to some degree, but there may be cases where wireless networks just don’t make the most sense.
Some organizations prioritize wired internet connections over a wireless network deployment, citing security, simplicity, or simply because that’s the way they’ve always done it. If your business relies on a wired network connection, then a site survey becomes a lower priority for your business and can be put off as you invest elsewhere to help grow your business.
However, just because you’re not relying on a wireless network doesn’t mean you can postpone a site survey indefinitely. A wired network does create a mostly closed system, but there are still opportunities for outside Wi-Fi signals (including rogue access points set up by employees) to present security risks.
3. You Don’t Have an Office
It may be obvious, but if you lack a centralized location for your business to operate out of, you don’t have to worry about investing in a site survey.
In an era where remote work is more prevalent, more businesses are relying less on office space and could avoid the cost of deploying a wireless network. However, in relying on personal routers or cell phone data to conduct business, your business will have an additional set of needs that require attention beyond a simple site survey. Lack of office space can save on rent and overhead cost, but if you want to keep your information secure, you’ll have to think tools like VPNs, more robust firewall protocols, employee training programs, and more to ensure your company’s systems don’t get breached.
Too many people believe a site survey is a luxury that can be eliminated. This idea is attractive: you seemingly save money that can be invested elsewhere in your company, and there is anecdotal evidence available on the internet that it’s unnecessary.
However, unless your business falls into any of these three categories, failing to do a site survey can lead to significant costs as you open your network to poor performance, security risks, and additional costs as you seek to rectify the issues that could have been avoided if a survey was completed at the outset.
Even in the Information Age, there’s significant value in abiding by the old proverbs that have guided humanity through history, which is why you should “measure twice, cut once” and opt for a site survey before deploying or upgrading a wireless network.