The three deciding factors of warehouse Wi-Fi coverage
Specialising in enterprise deployments, warehouses and manufacturing plants count for a lot of the business I speak to and meet. In this competitive market, the client device technology used is rapidly improving to help increase productivity. With options for tablets, RF "guns", wearable scanners, and even automated vehicles, the need for a future proof and resilient wireless infrastructure can be the basis for profitability.
So you need a new wireless network to keep up with the business? Here are a few things to consider.
In some instances, blanket coverage is required to enable VOIP based roaming or coverage for automated forklifts or simply because the devices are used absolutely everywhere. To be able to operate and connect all over the site is a must in these instances. But if you really drill down in to the requirements of the business, although it seems like a good idea, 100% coverage may not actually be required and the extra expense can be saved. Finding out what the business really needs and designing a network around these requirements can help improve the performance of a network by having less hardware, and therefore save money.
Taking into account the client device that the user is looking to connect with, the different applications that may be in use (either data, VOIP or back up), and the materials found on site, designing a new network in these environment can be extremely difficult. When coupled with ever changing stock levels and occasionally throwing in vehicles such as forklifts, a lot of people don't know where to begin.
When you understand these devices and their effect on productivity, you can design a network to be either resilient for business critical deployments, or designed to create coverage and deal with the capacity in designated areas of use. You can then choose to future proof your deployment and stay one step ahead of the commercial client devices used on site and plan for the future expansions of the business.
Whether it is cement, wood, metal or plastics, each site offers its own unique challenges when designing a new network.
As is the nature of these businesses, the main issue faced at every site is the effect of the materials on the shelf, and the fluctuating stock on the performance of their RF network. Some electrically conductive materials will interfere with individual packet transmissions by either absorbing (such as wood, foam, and liquids), or reflecting radio frequencies (such as metals, rubber and plastics).
If the RF bounces off the stock on your shelves and creates its own interference (as all access points will), do you compensate for the times that the shelves are full and increase the number of AP's, or do you rely on a radio resource manager to manage the power levels as the stock is reduced and replenished. These points will typically depend on the manufacturer you decide to trust with your shiny new network and their ability to be self-healing and autonomous, but having the correct design will go a long way to ensure that this doesn't become a problem in the future.
So, in conclusion, warehouses and manufacturing plants are a very tricky environment to get right. Through years of experience and working with some of the biggest names in the industry across Europe, DigitalAir have made a name as a reliable and valued resource in this area.
Still being able to offer the 100% coverage guarantee to clients who allow us to follow our 4 step process, we plan for a wireless network that out performs your every expectation, and delivers reliable performance to the needs of your business.