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Wireless Networks Thread, Wifi survey - how much in Technical; ...
  1. #16

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickbro View Post
    Odd, we just had this done, our LA (Powys) did was use the digital blueprints of the school and use the cisco software to place points based on how thick the walls are (they did it without leaving their office). It was then up to use to say, yes or no to where they'd plopped a point on the map.
    Such a survey is nearly entirely pointless - it doesn't take into account sources of interference, wall materials, local objects causing multiple paths etc... It might look great on that file, but many people will put it in place and find they have black spots, weak spots and other issues.

    The cost of doing a survey very much depends on the time it takes to complete. What kind of survey is being completed? How big is your site? How many rooms are within that site?

    I don't think £1500 is a lot of money for a proper survey to be completed, as it can take a good day to do the actual wandering about on a reasonable sized site, and then a day to complete the report. At professional rates, £750 a day isn't a huge amount realistically (you have to take account of travel costs, potentially hotel costs, the staff costs, equipment costs, insurance, overheads etc...).

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    Personally I'd go down the 'get a spectrum analyzer and do it myself' route, but that of course depends on having the time to do it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    ...At professional rates, £750 a day isn't a huge amount realistically .
    Yes it is, its utterly ridiculous for deciding where to put a few access points.

  4. #19

    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catch21 View Post
    Yes it is, its utterly ridiculous for deciding where to put a few access points.
    Ok, if you think that £750 a day for a business to charge for professional services, how much would you say is reasonable?

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Such a survey is nearly entirely pointless - it doesn't take into account sources of interference, wall materials, local objects causing multiple paths etc... It might look great on that file, but many people will put it in place and find they have black spots, weak spots and other issues.

    The cost of doing a survey very much depends on the time it takes to complete. What kind of survey is being completed? How big is your site? How many rooms are within that site?

    I don't think £1500 is a lot of money for a proper survey to be completed, as it can take a good day to do the actual wandering about on a reasonable sized site, and then a day to complete the report. At professional rates, £750 a day isn't a huge amount realistically (you have to take account of travel costs, potentially hotel costs, the staff costs, equipment costs, insurance, overheads etc...).
    Exactly right. If you want a proper job done, you are going to pay a proper RF professional to do your survey for you. Walking around with a laptop and a 30-day trial of Air Magnet is going to guarantee your wireless deployment will fail.

    You MUST do an active survey prior to deployment. This is walking around with an "AP on a stick" (the actual AP you are using in the building) and surveying coverage in each location. This measures RF interference in each location and signal propagation. Each locations' survey is merged for an overall view of the floorplan.

    Post-installation passive survey's are a MUST, in order to validate the design. If you do not have credentials to the SSID being surveyed you are simply going obtain a measurement of RSSI/SNR values. If you have access to authenticate to the SSID, you can also do load/bandwidth testing.

    Without a validation survey, your installation is pointless.

    Predictive software that will "plan" your AP deployments for you are complete garbage. If any vendor offers to take a floorplan and drop AP's on it for you without doing an actual site survey, find another vendor.

    To summarize, a proper survey, done by a trained, knowledgeable WiFi professional, is *not* going to be free. Any survey you get for $0, is worth as much.

  6. #21

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    I'd say a consultant, as well as understanding Meru vs Ruckus, HP vs Cisco, small business vs enterprise, etc etc etc, should also understand their clients' needs and budget. If you're going into the financial sector, fill your boots. If you're going into government defence procurement, pharmaceutical, multi-national electronics giants, fill your boots.

    If you're planning a wifi to carry the signalling at Clapham or air-traffic control at Heathrow then fill your boots and stack up on professional indemnity insurance at the same time.

    But we are talking schools. Institutions with next to no money believe it or not. Anyone in this sector disagree!?

    Are the classrooms covered? Is the staffroom covered? Library? Common areas? Offices?

    I think anyone wanting to charge a school £750 a day for consultancy is like a window cleaner charging a pensioner £50 for their one-bedroom ground-floor flat. £750 a day? Understand your clients' needs and budget. I know dinner ladies who could do the job.

  7. #22

    localzuk's Avatar
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    You are being ridiculous, sorry. So a business, which is there to make money, should not make any money because they deal with us in education? Seriously? Not to mention, if you think education has no money, then it is you who are somewhat naive. Just because you don't get a huge budget doesn't mean the money doesn't exist.

    From your "dinner ladies" comment, I am simply getting the idea that you have no idea about the complexities of installing a wireless network.

    As I said, give me an amount which you think is sensible.

    No wonder pay in the IT sector has dropped, and we in education IT get paid so little salaries. People like you undervalue us!
    Last edited by localzuk; 27th May 2013 at 12:28 PM.

  8. #23


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    A school is going to have the same interference sources as any other business.
    Our wireless survey (just under £1000) among other things picked up that we were using an active infrared alarm system (on 2.4GHz). It would never have occurred to me that this was a source of interference without expert help. We replaced the alarm system before deploying the WiFi.
    The survey was a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of controller and AP's.

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    I know dinner ladies who could do the job.
    w...what? :|

    If a school is serious about their wifi network, they're already spending a fair chunk of cash on the equipment required. The costs of a £1500 consultancy up front is minor & could save a ton of cash later.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Put it this way - a school will spend £20k+ on a wireless system. Plus install. £1500 for consultancy to make sure you don't waste that £20k is good economics.

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    I guess a sensible and constructive way to move forward is to understand how much your wifi equipment is likely to cost and work out what the consultancy charge is on top of that as a percentage.

    I agree, 10% is not unreasonable for busy management. 25% is probably not unreasonable for nervous management.

  12. #27

    localzuk's Avatar
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    The cost for consultancy doesn't suddenly drop because you're buying cheaper or less gear. It still costs the company money to send someone out to do a survey. Sure, if it only takes them half a day, maybe you'd be charged a half-day's rates but the rate would still be the same.

    You're just refusing to say what you think a day's consultancy charge should be to be an acceptable amount.

  13. #28

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    @loculzuk:

    Paid 11k for our wireless which included site survey and POE injectors plus cabling and licensing, excellent service from a company called LAN3,

    Oh! wireless system is Aerohive BTW, would highly recommend

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    Dinner ladies?????? Really, how many dinner ladies do you know that knows what a vlan is? what a certificate is ? what tcp/ip is ? Seriously ???

    Wireless BT Box at home ? With instructions ? Connect to phone line. Done. Maybe.

  15. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by Destinova View Post
    This is walking around with an "AP on a stick" (the actual AP you are using in the building) and surveying coverage in each location. This measures RF interference in each location and signal propagation. Each locations' survey is merged for an overall view of the floorplan.

    Post-installation passive survey's are a MUST, in order to validate the design. If you do not have credentials to the SSID being surveyed you are simply going obtain a measurement of RSSI/SNR values. If you have access to authenticate to the SSID, you can also do load/bandwidth testing.

    Without a validation survey, your installation is pointless.
    Sorry, mate, but two suppliers of wifi did EXACTLY that sort of survey, free, and their final costs were commensurate with other companies who just wandered about with a laptop..

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