Kinettix - The Essential Guide to IT Site Surveys

Apr 5, 2024 1:00:00 PM | The Essential Guide to IT Site Surveys: Understanding the Foundation of Network Success

This blog post provides a comprehensive guide to site surveys in the IT field, highlighting their importance in establishing and maintaining robust network infrastructures.

Having a robust, stable network is the backbone of any business. Whether it's for a sprawling corporate campus or a compact office space, understanding the nuances of site surveys is essential for IT professionals and businesses alike. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve deep into the realm of site surveys, highlighting their critical role in network design and implementation. From defining what a site survey is to exploring best practices and tools, this guide serves as your essential roadmap to mastering site surveys and ensuring network success. 

Wireless Site Surveys: Ensuring Optimal Connectivity 

Wireless networks have become a staple in today's digital landscape, making wireless site surveys essential for establishing reliable connections. Technicians performing wireless site surveys play a vital role in ensuring optimal connectivity. These surveys involve assessing signal strength, identifying potential sources of interference, and determining the ideal placement of wireless access points. With the help of tools like Ekahau SideKick, technicians can accurately measure signal coverage and identify dead zones, ultimately optimizing network performance. 

What is a Site Survey? 

At its core, a site survey is an in-depth examination and analysis conducted to assess the viability of a proposed network installation site. It involves evaluating various factors such as physical layout, existing infrastructure, potential interference sources, and environmental variables. The primary goal is to gather critical data that informs the design and deployment of network systems, ensuring they meet the specific needs and constraints of the location. 

Types of Site Surveys 

In the realm of network design and optimization, understanding the nuances between active, passive, and predictive site surveys is crucial for IT professionals. Each type of survey offers unique insights and methodologies for assessing and planning wireless network deployments. Here’s a detailed comparison of active, passive, and predictive site surveys, highlighting their key characteristics, advantages, and appropriate use cases. 

Active Site Surveys 

Active site surveys involve testing the wireless network by connecting a device directly to the network and measuring its performance in various locations. This approach provides real-time data on how the network performs under actual usage conditions. 

Key Characteristics: 

  • Requires access to the network with test devices. 
  • Measures throughput, packet loss, and real-world network performance. 
  • Can be more time-consuming due to the need for manual data collection. 


  • Offers detailed insights into the user experience. 
  • Identifies specific areas where performance issues occur. 
  • Useful for validating the network’s performance after deployment. 

Use Cases: 

Ideal for environments where the network is already in place. 
When precise performance metrics are needed to troubleshoot or optimize the network. 


Passive Site Surveys 

Passive site surveys involve listening to wireless signals within an environment without actively connecting to the network. This method captures data on signal strength, noise levels, and the presence of other wireless networks. 

Key Characteristics: 

  • Does not require network access for data collection. 
  • Provides a broad overview of the wireless spectrum and interference sources. 
  • Faster to perform than active surveys since it involves less manual intervention. 


  • Quickly assesses the wireless environment for initial planning or pre-deployment. 
  • Identifies potential interference from other wireless networks. 
  • Helps in planning the layout of access points for optimal coverage. 

Use Cases: 

  • Early stages of network planning in new installations. 
  • Environments with multiple wireless networks where interference might be a concern. 


Predictive Site Surveys 

Predictive site surveys are conducted using software simulations to model how a wireless network will perform in a given environment. This method uses floor plans and virtual models to predict signal coverage and potential issues. 

Key Characteristics: 

  • Utilizes software tools for simulation based on environmental factors. 
  • Does not require physical access to the site for initial analysis. 
  • Can be adjusted easily to explore different scenarios and configurations. 


  • Cost-effective way to plan network deployments without on-site visits. 
  • Enables quick adjustments to the network design in the planning phase. 
  • Helps in identifying major issues before physical deployment begins. 

Use Cases: 

  • Planning networks in large or complex environments where physical surveys would be impractical. 
  • Initial planning phase to determine the feasibility and rough budgeting for network deployment.

Choosing a Wireless Site Survey Provider 

When choosing a wireless site survey provider, there are several factors to consider. First, it is important to evaluate the provider's experience and expertise in conducting site surveys. Look for providers who have a proven track record in performing wireless site surveys for various types of environments and industries. This ensures that they have the knowledge and skills to accurately assess your specific needs and design an optimal wireless network solution. Additionally, consider the provider's certifications and qualifications in wireless networking technologies such as Ekahau, as this indicates their level of proficiency and commitment to staying up-to-date with industry standards . 

Another crucial factor to consider is the provider's ability to deliver comprehensive and detailed survey reports. A reliable survey provider should be able to provide you with detailed documentation that includes information about signal strength, coverage areas, interference sources, and recommended network design improvements . These reports are essential for understanding the current state of your wireless network and making informed decisions for network optimization . Furthermore, it is important to assess the provider's responsiveness and communication skills. Choose a provider that is responsive to your inquiries, transparent in their communication, and capable of providing ongoing support throughout the survey process and beyond . By considering these factors, you can select a wireless site survey provider that meets your specific requirements and ensures the successful implementation of your wireless network. 

Rich Humphrey

Written By: Rich Humphrey

Rich’s years of experience in business leadership, marketing, and strategic thinking has helped Kinettix streamline and optimize its sales and marketing operations to create the ability to scale as global operations are grown. Before working at Kinettix, Rich served as the Vice President of Marketing and Analytics at Adaptive Technologies. He attended the University of Kentucky and has a Master’s Degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.