Reliable Wi-fi in Challenging Warehouse Environments

Posted by Advanced Mobile Group on May 16, 2017 2:49:11 PM

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Taking on the task of laying out a seamless Wi-fi network for a warehouse can be a considerable challenge. The benefits can not be ignored, the largest retailers in the world use networks to track in real time inventory through their warehouse.

Fortunately there is a great deal you can do to keep your Network operating at peak efficiency. Identifying troubled areas in advance when you first begin to set up your design. This will help you focus on these locations and address the areas that will need the most attention before they become an issue.

Preventing network dead spots that could slow your production to a halt. The good news is many companies have gotten a handle on these set ups and have shared what they have learned. When talking about setting up a Wi-fi network for your warehouse it helps consider what type of zones your warehouse has.

These zones for most warehouses are Open Area, Offices, Aisles, Freezers, Docks, and Yards. So, let’s talk about some of the challenges that a Warehouse Wi-fi network presents and how to resolve them.

Open Areas

At first it would seem that open areas would not present a challenge to provide Wi-Fi coverage. With limited mounting options and the necessity to place the devices where they are out of the way of moving parts or equipment the options prove to more limiting than other locations. Often the only place to safely install open area Wi-Fi is on I-Beam and in rafter locations.

This makes access difficult but provides you with a good coverage range and keeps the units safe. Wall mounts can be employed as well in any location where they can be used to maximum coverage benefit.  

Offices

Office space Wi-Fi is much more straightforward and traditional in its installation. You must take into account that you will be using high performance WI-FI on these locations. Much of this can be installed and concealed from view behind ceiling tiles or closets. These locations will see high volume traffic and with numerous walls that will reduce signals so keep in mind that in these locations more units may be needed. 

Aisles

Warehouse aisles are literally and figuratively some of the biggest obstacles in making a warehouse fully Wi-Fi connected. Large stacks of product and shelving can make strong connections nearly impossible. With the use of directional antennae to aim targeted Wi-Fi down each of the aisle. Along with high ceiling mounting you can solve the challenge that asiles present.

Freezers

Everything about the design of cold storage refrigeration room is counter to optimally functional Wi-Fi. Your systems must be protected against condensation and frost to ensure they operate efficiently. You must insulate these units to protect them from the low temperatures. Signal is further reduced by the width and insulation of freezer walls.

Other than the cold freezers often have aisles as well. Freezer rooms will need specialized antenna designed for the cold. With a combination of directional and highly placed antenna in freezer enclosures you will be able to provide the needed Wi-Fi coverage.

Docks

Warehouse docks need Wi-Fi access on both the inside and loading dock areas. These high traffic hectic work sites need to be places out of danger of moving personnel and equipment. Theses units require protection as fast efficient transfer from truck to warehouse needs to move smoothly and high speed Wi-Fi is a must in these areas. 

Loading Dock Interior

The interior of the docks can utilise I beam mounting for high level coverage and wall mounts work well in these locations as well. When placed above the reach of most equipment these units should be relatively safe from damage.

Loading Dock Exterior

Similar to the interior the exterior units must be positioned out of the way of traffic and should be covered to protect them as well. With these devices being outside and open to the elements as well they should also be secured so that they are tamper proof and encased in protection from weather.

Yards

Connecting a warehouses storage yards to the buildings Wi-Fi can be a useful for keeping exterior storage up to date in real time with the rest of the warehouses inventory.

When providing Wi-Fi to these spaces many of the concepts of interior Wi-Fi are applied with the addition of security and weather protection covers to all installed devices. Wall mounted enclosures can be affixed high on the building to provide Wi-Fi close to the structure.

Depending on the method of storage in the yard it is likely that you will have issues much like those that occur in aisles in the outside storage rows. With the use and placement of outdoor directional Wi-Fi antennae with security and weather protection you can achieve similar results in providing these locations with network access. 

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Topics: Wireless, Wireless Infrastructure

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