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So I’ve been doing wireless site surveys since 1999 the year 2000 if you look at, some of them are their videos. I mentioned that I did a lot of state surveys back in the pre 2.4 gigahertz days when it was 900 megahertz. And you’re working off of the ignorance system. So I get this question a lot is how much does a wifi survey cost and what’s the cost on the material to get started? So I made it a PowerPoint slide that I just want to quickly go through. So my customers and then some of the groups that I’m mentoring, some of it consultants that are looking at getting into site surveys so they can kind of get an overall glimpse of how much the tools cost. I would say the most expensive part of the site survey is probably the software and the licensing costs. There is two major site survey software that is number one in number two in the market, which is air magnet or NetScout an Ekahau.
And that license itself costs anywhere from 4,800 to 6,000 US plus your yearly license for making sure that your software is up to date. And so on every year. I see most companies use either or Ekahau or air magnets. I personally use the air magnet because I’ve been using air magnet for the last eight years. I’m using arithmetic, so I just don’t find any reason for me to switch. Some people say Ekahau is the gold standard, but or what I collect and for what most sites survey technicians or engineers need, they’re pretty much looking for SNR values are a society and some kind of spectrum analysis. So that provides a customer with plenty of information to gather and to read within the reports. I have a sample of air magnet, which I can show you just in a second.
So here is a copy of the AirMagnet survey professional edition. This is running on my Mac via VM fusion. And here is air magnet similar to ekahau where what you’re looking for is just a representation of the signal to noise ratio and SNR values. Configuring your radio claim in your laptop on your USB card and continental data from the AP. So this is going to provide you heat maps, the path that you walked and each point that you click on, you can actually see, you know the signal strength from the first AP, which is minus 43 DBM, the X, and Y access information. And then just the path that it walked. I was doing the sample in my home office, you could actually see that. I positioned the AP here, but as you get further, the value or the colors of the cells are going to change from, right now we’re sitting about minus 50 just because of the access point, but in the real environment you’ll see that these cell coverage signals are going to go lower and lower and you’ll see that in the path as you walk.
So this is what AirMagnet says. The survey role looks like. You can do a ton of different things like look at air wise, you could look at the sung signal coverage, multi-AP signal coverage. Just a ton of information that you can do. And last but not least, you can explore and provide the report to your customer. So the second point I have over there is access points. So when you’re performing a site survey, we get a lot of requests for having a site survey in Aruba, HP, Cisco, Meraki, Aerohive. So you know, a lot of our customers are going to ask for these requests. And usually, when we perform a site survey, you want to take out the radio or the access point that they’re looking at implementing. Sometimes they might be, or they might have a cultural relationship with Cisco Meraki and sometimes you’re not getting the hardware, sometimes you might not get that hardware deal.
And a lot of what I’ve seen is the customer will contact me for a second service or they’ll contact us for a site survey and we’ll ask them what kind of radio are you going to be using or what kind of access point. So this is the reason why we carry so many access points. We have an outdoor access point in a ton of here, which is, a Meraki device. The Cisco 3000 series AP. Some older, a Cisco 1230, just for the kind of looking at propagation in the warehouse just to seeing how clean the air is. And we have some bridge APS Ubiquiti stuff and some other Cisco devices. So the cost of those are roughly, and we’re from 400 to 1500 depending on an outdoor and indoor internal and 10 external antennas and so on. So the next point, we covered that already, which is external and antennas, external battery packs.
I like to keep two external battery packs because when you’re doing long site surveys and I’ll take longer than six to eight hours. The worst thing is running out of batteries when you’re onsite, either on your laptop or in your battery pack. So always like to keep two with me, two laptops and two battery packs. So this is a battery pack that I use it the Sparco battery pack and it just provides power over retina to that access point. And if you’re wondering what these trains are used for. We use a scissor lift to get up to the ceiling, paying this in the ceiling and then attaches. Your standard Cisco Meraki point bracket or just actually this is a universal bracket where we attach one of our access points, then we go around the warehouse or the office and just like the signal readings.
So the next point we have out here is AP on a stick. So this is typically used in office environments with, probably about nine to 10-foot ceilings, your standard office environment. And basically, what this is, it has, you can’t see this, but it has wheels on the floor and this just carries another access point with that battery pack and going into one other device that you’re using for your access point. So that is roughly about $1,500 for this piece of equipment. And the next point here we have is a spectrum analyzer. Really depending on where you get your spectrum. An ally analyzer, the Ekahau has a built-in one with its software. We use many geeks channelizer, which I think their pioneer for the channelizer for the spectrum analysis. And I think just a lot of other companies, a white-label or OEM and just integrate that into their survey software.
And that’s roughly about a thousand dollars US. Cameras are just used for gathering data, AP placements on your site survey and you built that into your report. Your walking stick is just a necessity when you’re doing measurements within a facility, large warehouses, that’s not too much of cost radio cards, $300 each. I’ve personally had about four to five radio cards, one for spectrum analysis, one for 2.4 and an orange circle. Ah, just so it can read a lot of my signal to noise ratio and data in my software. Some adapters, you’ll notice that they don’t read the SNR and the noise, racial values and they might just read the, our society. So you have to check that with your software. And just make sure that the type of card that you have, my EDI car doesn’t look at SNR value. So when you’re doing a survey, it’s just nice to collect our society value signal to noise ratio and just noise. And it’s always great to have extra cards as a backup.
And the next, I would say three or four points are given you have your liability insurance, which has anywhere from a thousand and $1,500, your scissor lift and fall protection license. You know, I’ve been on sites where you’d have the health and safety board come in and data ask for your scissor lift license or your fall protection license or follow restroom license, a Ws IB, just making sure that you have your proper liability insurance. And the last point of this is, which is hard to put a cost on. It is the years of training and experience that that individual has or that company has. Just because I’ve worked with a lot of companies and because I specialize in warehouse management systems and manufacturing logistics and three PL, that is my specialty. So there’s a big difference when you’re doing site surveys just for Osbourne office environments.
Laptops are stationary. The probably most challenging part that you’re going to have is voice over IP applications that are not whelming. Typically office environments that are running VoIP. You just need better the signal to noise ratio and better RSSI levels just so you can have, you know, a minus 60 DVM. So with warehousing a little more challenging because there is a lot of metal, a lot of multipathing, a lot of balance. And typically your handhelds are fast-rolling devices are on forklifts and trucks, so they’re not stationary. And controllers like to change depending on your setting, maybe every X amount of seconds. So you might have an RF device, whether it’s a zero or InterMetro Honeywell device come into this area and then move over to the next from a forklift and then they just change your parameters and a controller doesn’t really know what to do.
You know, controllers are only so smart, right? It just, you know, a lot of times I like to set my controller too manual instead of having an auto wore off. But that just really depends on the environment that you’re in and how everything property. So the total cost of all this and which I roughly estimated is roughly about 15,000. So I just wanted to give the answers to some of the guys that I’m mentoring on this. So before you get an actual site survey and you get you to know, you get the implementation done, I want it to list a few points that as a customer from the customer point of view before hiring a company, a lot of things to consider. Here’s one of my points is, is it outsourced? Right. The reason being is because of typically a site survey contractor if they’re working for a large organization that, well, like they usually don’t provide their in house site survey expertise, we’ll usually subcontract that out to another individual.
And the problem with that is we ran into a situation where we subcontracted one of our site surveys out and I think it was invoice, Idaho or another state. So the customer did, the contractor did the site survey, right. We’ll just find the report look good. But we had a lot of questions. So because this individual wasn’t an employee of that customer, what happened when we tried to get ahold of that site survey technician and it was impossible. We were calling and calling a subplot Yankton company that actually hired them, tried to get ahold of them and it was impossible. So we had a lot of skews, a missing parts in the survey, which we weren’t aware of or we didn’t know the measurement or the type of antenna. The part that they recommended. So it was a big mess and we actually had to eat the cost of that.
That was a lesson learned. So you also want to make sure when you’re working with either a subcontractor or you subcontract it out, you want to make sure that they’re gonna provide post-implementation support or maybe just build it into the site survey costs and just have them. They are available for one hour after a certain site survey report. So typically when I get a call, customers are either looking for a passive site survey or an active site survey. If it’s just a pastas fight survey where a customer is just looking for overall heat maps and signal to noise ratios that not is probably the least cost because the customer already has or you already have an implementation done, you have access points in the ceiling, but you might just need overall images, SNR values, and heat maps. And that’s probably the lowest cost just because it’s just a visual representation of how your environment looks in terms of making sure that you don’t have any dead spots.
SNR value and our society values look great. And the other part of a Paso site survey, which is hard to kind of quote or gets an estimate on is if they’re doing a process site survey or if the customer wants a positive site survey, the first thing you should be asking a customer is, you’re having issues? Because if passive site survey where you’re troubleshooting roaming issues or wireless connections dropping could take anywhere from one hour, two hours to days. You know, I’ve been onsite for one of our customers, Honda, you know, I think it was three weeks till three in the morning. We can do any activity live during the day because they were already possible to live dates. But we had to fix a lot of the roaming issues in the warehouse because we were doing a lot of debugs walking through the aisles.
But we kept getting all loaded a signal drops or pocket draws. So that was very challenging because the guys on the floor were alive. We didn’t want to interrupt them, we couldn’t take anything down. So we actually had to do a lot of our work from 10:00 PM so three in the morning. So passive site surveys, depending on what type of debug session it is, could take, you know, days, weeks, it just really depends. So the next point we’re going to be discussing is the active site survey. And this is probably the question that most of you guys are coming on this video to get an answer for is how much is that active site survey. So an active site survey in my eyes is I’ve got a new warehouse, I got a new office, I need wireless. How much does it cost?
And based on all of those factors, it just really depends on how many floors, how large it is. I like to say ranges between 1500, I would say more 2000 to 10,000. I typically quote if it’s 25,000 or less, you’re probably looking on the low scale of 2000, you know, and if it’s, there are other factors to be considered, you know, is that indoor surveys and an outdoor? Is it a combination of both? Do I remember doing a site survey for hotel operations? Not a hotel operation itself, but it was our headquarters downtown in Toronto and I underquoted it probably around 4,000 but they actually had more floors and each floor was large. I would say it was about eight to 10,000 feet, but it had a lot of rooms I needed to be covered. So one access point couldn’t actually cover a large office area.
So if I actually took a look at the facility, did a, a quick walkthrough before providing that quote. So I probably want a triple dot quote price. So you know, the main thing is just looking at the schematics, asking a lot of questions before you provide that quote. And downtown areas I find are very challenging because when you’re in a downtown core area, glosses transparent and you’re going to see a lot of um, you’re gonna, you’re going to see a lot of access points in one core area running on 2.4 and the main question that I like to ask is, is a customer ready to go from 2.4 to five because 2.4 is just so congested. When it gets to the higher prices of 10,000 that’s, that’s pretty much warehouses that are 200,000 square feet. Anything over 2000 sorry, 200,000 square feet. I’m going to provide them a higher value in terms of how much a site survey costs.
One other thing. If you have a 200,000 square foot warehouse and they have an outdoor facility, then you’d be charging more for that outdoor facility intent. So this is a one intended that I use on a, on a Cisco device and this is actually a 2.4 12 DVA I antenna and great for outdoor applications provides a lot of coverage in an outdoor yard. So my next point that I want to cover is [inaudible] is a contractor or company using the latest software or the latest firmware version or the latest version, Ekahau or air magnet. The other week I actually lost a deal in the US because my partner didn’t have the latest version of air magnet and we actually needed that, you know, X version. So, and I ran into this quite often is all ask, I’m on another company for the files, but they’re running version seven when we’re, you know, five years ahead of that.
So you just don’t really want to make sure that you have or that the company has the latest version of air Mangan or ekahau because then you can import a lot of your, those different profiles for antennas in different manufacturers access points. So that’s very, very important. You know, I’ve been asked this question probably about two or three times and the last point I want to go over, which I think is a must with every site survey does a company that is providing the site survey, does it include a spectrum analysis because a wireless site survey using Ekahau or air magnet and well it depends if you have that plugging for the spectrum analysis. You know, from a heat map perspective and a site survey, usually you’re just collecting our society and SNR values. But without a spectrum analysis and knowing how clean there is, you know, a site survey is useless.
The first thing I like to do is turn on my laptop, do a spectrum analysis, just see if there are any potential sources of interference. Because if you have a lot of interference, a 2.4 or five gig won’t work a period until you find those sources of interference and you resolve those issues. Then 2.4 or five gig or eight Oh two 11 Wi-Fi will work in your environment. So this is a copy of channelizer pro. This is from medic G. I always run this prior to doing any kind of site survey just to get a glimpse to see how clean the air is. So you want to make sure that you do this because here you can actually see some potential sources of interference depending on [inaudible] the signature displays. So if there’s interference on too many channels, then you’re going to see right away that 2.4 might not be able to be used in that particular environment.
You’re on the Cisco clean air. On the live gigs, you can see that we have a lot more channels to deal with which are available. So if you look at this spectrum analysis, everything looks a lot cleaner. As I moved through the waterfall, it’s very clean and quiet compared to 2.4 if we go over to 2.4 you’ll actually see that you’re really only working with three non-overlapping channels, which are one six and 11 and with five gigs is completely noise-free. I would say, you know, maybe a little bit of regular data coming through channel 40 channel one 36 one 65 and you could look at everything else in between. It just such a clean environment. So thank you for watching this video. If you have any comments or questions, please some below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the bell notification.
I get this question a lot…how much does a wifi or wireless site survey cost? Hope you enjoyed the video and hope I didn’t ramble on too long.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions. Just sharing my experiences over the 18 years of performing site surveys. I’ve been in almost every airport in North America in and out of cities, States and Countries. Even getting denied at the border for performing a wireless site survey when I was 21 years old lol!
wireless site survey tools
Question: The site in this airmagnet survey heat map is ready for which level of service?
Answer: Data! Because of the yellow rssi level that is above -65dbm it means that the levels in this particular area is not ready for voice or wireless voice over IP. If it was all the same color of green (light green) the answer would be VOIP.
(Just another question I keep getting about that question and test). 😉
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