DESIGNING EFFECTIVE WAREHOUSE WI-FI
At first glance, the wide-open spaces of a warehouse may seem like the perfect environment for a wireless network. Long aisles and high ceilings should allow Wi-Fi signals to propagate farther with less attenuation however the latest Wi-Fi technologies, 802.11n and 802.11ac, actually rely on signals being bounced around for the multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) technology to be effective. With no interior walls and APs mounted high up on ceilings, there is less “multi-path,” or signals bouncing around, making MIMO technologies a bit less effective. Additionally, the high-mounted access points require increased transmit power, but there is a fine line between too much and too little power. Too little can cause dead spots while too much can generate interference between access points on the same channel.
Best placement of access points:
Should you choose access points on the ceiling of the warehouse ?, not necessarily. This may result in dead zones being created for many devices that are out of the network's reach. Because the ceilings in the warehouse often have 10 m or more, it does not have to be the best solution. However, placing the access point too low can cause poor coverage due to stacks of goods or moving forklifts. An alternative is the deployment of AP on the walls adjacent to the transport aisles. At the bottom of the article there are illustrative drawings of such a solution.
Below in the figure - an example of a power supply signal from two sides of the warehouse (alternating).
Lots and lots of metal racking:
Radio frequency attenuation is constantly changing (shelves filling and emptying, forklifts moving loads around and so on) and small devices which need good coverage.
Devices specifically designed for warehousing are not the only concern. BYOD (bring your own device) is everywhere, including the warehouse. This makes deploying an extensive, high-speed warehouse WI-FI is not easy.
Here are some of the most essential warehouse Wi-Fi basics that you need to take into consideration to create a successful wireless network for your warehouse:
Proper site survey
A candidate warehouse should be visited to determine where the access point enclosure will be mounted – protected in back of bollards, if possible – and to check red iron structure that’s available to run the waveguide and mount the antennas for each aisle. An essential element is also to check the possibility of routing cables in the desired direction (ethernet - power supply). A warehouse floor plan is needed to start the process. This will solve the problem of placement of access points and also give you the best outcome and will help you save a lot of frustration and resources in the long run. It is thus important to invest in the design process for this to work efficiently.
Knowing your warehouse environment
Different types of warehouse items can affect the Wi-Fi strength. So when you plan according to items intended for storage you can end up with better performance. Stock effect should also be considered where different materials may have different effects on the Wi-Fi signal.The wireless network should change when the environment changes, a common mistake in warehouses is to crank the power settings up to a maximum to try to get a higher signal out to the workers.This may not be so functional as:
Low-powered devices (like smartphones and tablets) can’t get their signal back to the access point.
It causes more interference than it does signal improvements. Invest in a properly designed warehouse Wi-Fi solution that has the ability to adapt to the ever-changing environment; and get the right number of access points for your unique location.
Access Points Management
There should be a centralized access point’s management system in place for access point upgrades and configuration management. Administrators should also know the location of all access points. Dual network point can be an option that could be considered for a backup port in case one of the network port stops working. Centralized management provides the following benefits:
Ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage with fewer wireless access points, for lower CAPEX
More flexible deployment options with Smart Mesh Networking that eliminates the requirement to run Ethernet cable to connect wireless access points.
Automatic power adjustment and channel selection to mitigate the constantly changing and often hostile warehouse environment
One final word should go to surveys. As with every WLAN installation, a predictive, site survey and post-install survey are critical elements in order to measure, adjust and improve the design. It is an iterative process, but one that can be used to achieve reliable Wi-Fi in a difficult environment.
Before you make a wifi network in a warehouse environment you should:
Perform Analysis on the spot
Arrange access points
APPLICATION OF SPLITTERS:
The use of SPLITTERS (distributors) in various types of warehouses and halls, allows to significantly reduce the costs of design and implementation. The access points in this case are not placed on the steel structure of the roof, but on the side walls next to the transport aisles. Mounting on walls is much simpler for fitters than placing APs and antennas at high altitudes under the roof. Do not forget to bring these power supply points for devices, and often also an ethernet cable, if they do not work in the "MESH" network.
Below are examples of the use of splitters and directional antennas, when mounting a single AP that supports 4 storage aisles.
LINK TO SPLITTERS