CWNA Summary Notes: What is a Site Survey

A Site Survey is an in-depth examination and analysis of a WLAN site.

Purpose of a Site Survey

  • Achieve the best possible performance from the WLAN
  • Certify that the installation will operate as promised
  • Determine the best location for APs
  • Develop networks optimized for a variety of applications
  • Ensure that the coverage will fulfill the organization’s requirements
  • Locate any unauthorized APs on the network
  • Map any nearby wireless networks to determine existing radio interference
  • Reduce radio interference as much as possible
  • Make the wireless network secure

When to Perform a Site Survey

  • Prior to installing a new WLAN
  • Physical changes to a building.
  • Changes to an existing wireless network.
  • Changes in network needs
  • Significant changes in personnel

Categories of Site Surveys

  • Predeployment Site Surveys
  • Postdeployment Site Surveys
  • Periodic Site Surveys – health check survey
  • Troubleshooting Site Surveys

Types of Site Surveys

Manual Site Survey – walking through the site with a laptop or other.

  • Passive Manual Site Survey – wireless client device is only listening to packets as they are sent and received
  • Active manual Site Survey – involves both receiving as well as sending packets to determine the status of the WLAN. it is more informative than the passive survey.

Predictive Site Survey – virtual survey of the area that uses modeling techniques to design the wireless network.


  1. CWNA Guide to Wireless LANs – 3rd Edition (Chapter 8) by Mark Ciampa, Ph.D.

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