RUBB Rite

Warehouse wireless specialist Lee Wright talks to us about the challenges in warehouse Wi-Fi and how simple mistakes can be overcome.

Lee Wright

Wi-Fi challenges within the modern warehouse can sometimes be as large as the warehouse itself. Whether its high ceilings, obstructions, changing environments, dusty environments or extreme temperatures (Cambium has recently put an AP on Everest’s base camp) – delivering a seamless WiFi experience to small devices within the warehouse is a challenge. My experience in designing WiFi for warehouses has helped me understand the root problems surrounding underperforming and unreliable warehouse networks. I have come across many small to medium sized businesses that are experiencing issues with their wireless network and are not sure where to start.

We all know that a reliable wireless infrastructure streamlines operations within the warehouse by reducing those inefficiencies and errors associated with constant disconnections of handhelds, mobile computers, printers and tablets. The benefits of good Wi-Fi include: improved staff efficiency, less manufacturing delays, more orders picked and fulfilled and the ability to implement new technologies – which in turn meets today’s on-demand supply chain and improves customer service. Businesses who have implemented an enterprise grade wireless infrastructure have positioned themselves with a competitive advantage over those who have not.

Some of the most common mistakes I’ve seen in the warehouse are the overuse of omni-directional access points, incorrect access point placements (such as mounting APs on high ceilings or mounting ceiling APs vertically) and the use of ‘indoor’ APs that are not IP rated. Mistakes like this can lead to inconsistent coverage through the warehouse, blackspots and poor roaming between APs. For a seamless experience, there are so many elements to take into consideration when choosing the right warehouse Wi-Fi solution and its vital to get the foundations right from the start to avoid any pitfalls. Often, the main cause of poorly implemented warehouse Wi-Fi is related to a lack of knowledge and planning. Using the right wireless technology is a critical component if you expect a successful implementation but implementing best design practices such as using directional antennas, reducing CCI with careful channel planning and ruggedised APs are sometimes overlooked.

The wireless network in a warehouse is far more complex than the one in your office, which is why it requires an enterprise grade solution that gives you flexibility and control. A properly designed wireless infrastructure will not only improve efficiency but future proof your business and prepare it for supporting new technologies such as IoT.

At Redway Networks, we are independent wireless vendors, but I often get asked which enterprise-grade wireless products I would recommend for the mid-sized warehouse. My thought is Cambium as it provides a high-performance solution that is cost-effective. With Cambium you can manage multiple sites remotely from a single pane of glass with its free cnMaestro cloud controller and you get a three-year warranty on all “outdoor” APs and its directional antennas provide high-performance and cover warehouse aisles seamlessly.

Lee Wright is an expert in designing and installing cloud-managed enterprise-grade wireless solutions that help warehousing and logistics improve productivity, efficiency and in turn, profitability. He is a certified wireless network administrator (CWNA), certified wireless design professional (CWDP) and certified wireless security professional (CWSP). If you would like any advice or would like to book a free remote wireless survey, Lee can be contacted by emailing: info@redwaynetworks.com

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