• I am curious to find out how much site survey's are going for these days. I'm mostly interested in predictive modeling prices out there. I have talked to a few people that have a per hour charge, but I would really like to see a cost breakdown on a per sq ft level. It seems as if that would help for quotes etc. Thanks!


  • We will do a basic coverage survey for free, which is needed to accurately quote the number of AP's and the size of the controllers needed.

    However, we hold off on doing the detailed survey parts such as channel allocation, adjusting for interference, etc.

    This method has rarely been off for me. If we are off, it is usually only by 1 AP or so.

    However, I have a habit of planning a little "cushion" into all my RF designs. I actually take the AP power down to about 80%. This lets me up the power if after install we find any coverage holes.


  • I hardly ever survey for coverage any longer. It is so 'last year'...

    Coverage is a 'given'. You must have coverage... the hard work in Wireless Design isn't getting coverage. Coverage is easy.

    The hard part is getting co-channel interference down to acceptable levels to meet the needs of the client devices.

    Example: Cisco VoIP Phones need a -65dBm primary, a -65dBm backup (overlap) but not another on the same channel down to -85dBm... leads to very small, low power cells.

    Today's designs MUST include Primary coverage, secondary coverage, channel interference, device/AP, high density areas, jitter, latency, etc. All the things that really matter to get clients to work properly.

    So to answer the initial question - I charge based on my time. I sell my time one day at a time, so I'll estimate the number of days it will take to do a proper design.

    Sometimes I 'need' to go on site first to check the RF characteristics of the facility. (dB loss through walls, RF chokepoints, acceptable potential placement issues. Then most of the work is done using a predictive design tool.

    Post installation... After install you MUST do a verification survey to know what is in the air. Perhaps there might be a little 'tweaking' but usually it backs up exactly the predictive design.

    Then when I leave, the client pays *knowing* with proof their wireless network meets ALL the requirements for their devices... not merely coverage.

    Oh, and one more thing... sometimes the client can't get everything they want for the price they are willing to pay.

    Funny how some clients would NEVER buy a switch or router that had a random slowdown on various ports from 1Gb to 10Mb and back... but they want you to install APs with a 1Mb radius... funny that.

  • I think the value of the humble site survey is diminishing. This was bread and butter for me at one time when I was the only one that knew what he was doing being RF trained. A couple of installs and a bit of shoulder surfing and anyone can do it which puts its value in many cases at the low end of the game. Like Chih-Chao Chang says if the other fella is willing to do it for free to get the business then the marginal cost is zero. If there is still an accepted culture to charge in your area for this service among resllers then great enjoy it, but as soon as one supplier goes free then its game over. It becomes a cost-of-sale recoverable when the sale is completed. Large installs or pre planning off drawings using CAD might be different it would be reasonable to charge well its more specialised and time consuming, it looks more professional to the purchaser.

    I would liken most on-site surveys as simply part of a quoting process like a cable installer would do for the number of wall outlets. To do something for free could imply that the person doing the site survey is a low cost worker with those costs being absorbed as part of the sales process, in my case I have seen this happen. I don't see site surveys as a significant money spinner going forward for WLAN resellers or wifi specialists. I would like to know where the significant value is in site surveys beyond the obvious, but its getting low tech these days and doesn't require a high degree of skill anymore to do therefore you can't justify high charges.

  • Just like the last post's comment about cable pullers... you don't pay for the cable install until AFTER they prove it meets Cat6 specs by testing every cable pair. (connectivity, pinouts, twist ratios, nearside crosstalk, far-side crosstalk, etc.)

    You also shouldn't pay your Wireless Installers until AFTER they do a post install survey to verify where all your Coverage, Co-Channel Interference, Users/AP, User Density, Backup Coverage (overlap), and Speed Areas and that they meet the design specifications.

    Thus Surveys are even more important post install than pre-install.

    The actual survey process itself should be like what a 'low cost worker' does. (I've trained lots of high-school students to do this as volunteer or low-paid interns)

    But its the analysis and reporting of the survey data that takes the skill!

  • As the demands on WLAN???¡é?¡é?????¡é???¡és have increased so have the design requirements, while a simple RF analysis will tell you how a signal will propagate it has nothing to do with WLAN performance from a throughput requirement. If the survey is for MC???¡é?¡é?????¡é???¡és strictly for inventory management or process control with an extremely low bandwidth telnet session running and a low STA to AP count, than yes RSSI can be the basis for a survey. However as soon as the STA count goes really high or the desire for a carrier grade VoWLAN comes into play all the attention needs to be paid on the WLAN design, with the RF propagation being second to network capacity and throughput. I have seen bad surveys in both directions, too many AP???¡é?¡é?????¡é???¡és for to small of space or low STA counts, and not enough AP???¡é?¡é?????¡é???¡és to support advanced WLAN use. I don???¡é?¡é?????¡é???¡ét subscribe to such manufacture nonsense as Cisco saying it requires 1 AP per 2.5K square feet to support a VoWLAN, there in the business to sell hardware; a proper survey/design is required to ensure the WLAN meets the customer???¡é?¡é?????¡é???¡és needs. Still do about the same amount of pre and post install surveys btw.

    btw just putting up an 1132 every 2K and enabling auto-channel with TPC doesn???¡é?¡é?????¡é???¡ét mean the WLAN will work???

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