How Do You Get WiFi On A Construction Site?
Construction sites across the UK rely heavily on a solid WiFi connection, but most sites aren’t in areas with good WiFi.
A very small building site can use a 4G/3G connection to provide a basic WiFi connection, but it’s nowhere near powerful enough for any site that needs to:
- Access the BIM
- Use VoIP
- Share CAD/DWG files
- Monitor with CCTV
Microwave internet is known as the “gold standard” of temporary internet connections as it’s quick to set up (as little as just 14 days), has upload/download speeds equal to a leased line (up to 10GBPS) and has uptimes exceeding 99.99%!
It also has no download limits and is not shared with any other users – which is why it’s so popular in the construction industry.
Is Microwave Internet Available On Your Site?
How Construction WiFi Works
Most people think “WiFi” and the “internet” are the same thing, which is why we have been referring to the internet as “WiFi” throughout this guide. But there is actually a difference between the two.
WiFi is a technology that connects things wirelessly, whereas the internet is the part that data is sent and received through. An example of this in your home would be your router (which you connect your mobile phone to through WiFi) and your broadband connection (which is where the internet comes from).
It works very similar on a construction site. You’ll have a few different “access points”, which works like routers and are spread out around your site to make sure people can connect to the WiFi from any location. And you’ll have a microwave internet connection coming in that those access points are connected to.
Choosing The Internet Connection
Before installing access points to give a construction site WiFi, we need to first choose an internet connection.
As previously mentioned, some small sites can get away with a simple 4G connection if WIFi doesn’t play an important role in the project.
However, 4G is notoriously bad when it comes to speed and reliability, and so any construction site that needs to upload/download CAD files, access the BIM or perform VoIP calls will need to go with something more reliable.
Microwave internet and fibre leased lines are the only two internet connections available in the UK that can handle the requirements of a construction site.
The reason why construction sites use microwave internet instead of fibre leased lines is because leased lines are not designed for temporary use. They use “ground based” cables, which means the internet comes through cables underground.
To install a leased line on a construction site, the provider would have to physically dig up the ground to install cables all the way from the nearest exchange. This would take months (or even years in some remote locations) and can cost up to £100,000 to install.
Microwave internet on the other hand is completely cableless, using transmitters and receivers to deliver the internet connection. This means it can be installed in as little as just 14 days, and typically costs between £1000 – £2000 to install (up to 100 times cheaper than a leased line)!
The only real downside to microwave internet is that it isn’t available in some remote areas. To find out if your construction site has microwave internet coverage, try the free coverage checker at the top of this page.
Installing The Site’s WiFi
After a reliable microwave internet connection has been installed, construction sites then need WiFi installation to distribute the internet around the site.
The WiFi installation company will begin by first surveying the construction site to determine how many access points are needed, and where they need to be placed to ensure the entire construction site is covered with WiFi.
This information will then be handed over to the technicians who will begin installing the access points and installing firewall and security systems.
Finally, after the WiFi has been fully installed, a technician will produce “coverage heatmaps” to ensure the entire construction site has fast and reliable WIFi.